It was a Friday morning and I was excited! I jumped out of bed and immediately got ready for school. I arrived at school with a huge smile on my face and a wish for 11:30 to hurry up and arrive. It was the day we were heading to Pennsylvania and we were going to get my bear. When second block came, I sat anxiously for time to fly by but instead it was dragging into what felt like hours. I grew tired of staring at the clock so I focused on the geometry lesson, and it seemed to work. The time did move faster while I wasn’t focused and before I knew it I was on the road to Pennsylvania.
My boyfriend, Hunter, took the extra ticket we had and was going with us. My brother picked us up from school and we headed towards home. When we arrived, we packed and then waited for mom and dad to get home. I called dad to see where they were and they said “…on the way!” When they got home, we packed the little white trailer and the truck to soon find ourselves on our way to Harrisonburg, Pennsylvania.
While going up the road, we talked, listened to music, and we also took some pictures of the scenery and of ourselves. We were glad to see the West Virginia welcome sign ahead and we only had 3-4 hours left to drive. Some of us took naps and the others just looked at the scenery. We stopped at Wendy’s and got food and we fed the truck too. We parked on the side of the parking lot and josh jumped out the truck to get some drinks. Mom passed out the food and having a blonde moment, he grabbed a sandwich and took a huge bite. He turned and said “I didn’t order bacon on mine!” Me and mom looked and said, “Dad, that’s Josh’s Sandwich!” We all looked at each other and then started to laugh. Daddy wrapped the sandwich back up and he started eating his own dinner. We laughed, giggled and waited for josh to come back.
Josh got back in the truck and opened his sandwich and gave a stupid look, like he was asking himself ‘what in the world?!’ I started giggling and then it busted out in an uncontrollable laugh. Josh turned and looked at me and then we all started laughing. Dad turned blood red and josh looked at him and said “Did you get a good taste?’ we laughed some more then drove again. We got to our hotel around 9 or 10 pm and we were tired.
I walked to the hotel room with mom and Dad, Josh and Hunter went to park the truck. When they got in the room they told me that Michael Waddell and Chris Brackett were here at the hotel. I didn’t believe them until they told me that they saw their trucks. I went to sleep and got ready for a big day tomorrow.
I woke up and got ready to get breakfast. After we ate, we sat in the shuttle bus for it to take off. While sitting there, half asleep, Hunter said “Taylor, look it’s his truck!” I looked and immediately woke up when I saw the big ‘Bone Collector’ decal on the side. Dad took a picture and the bus took off towards the show. I was as nervous as you could get because not only was I going to be walking around talking to people but I was going to meet one of my hunting idols, Michael Waddell. I was extremely excited because I was going to meet him. I also had talked with Tiffany and Lee about meeting with them at the show. I watched and talked with Hunter as we were going down the road. He was excited too because he had never been to a sportsmen’s show and I couldn’t think of any show better than the largest eastern sportsman’s show in Pennsylvania.
When we got to the gates and walked in, it was huge! The aisles were long and full of outfitters and product sellers. We got to walking around and was looking at all the booths and we then realized, This was only 1 of 4 buildings. The place could barely be walked in two days. The first place we went to was Sandy River Outfitters booth to meet Harry Walker and talk with him.
When we got to the booth, we exchanged hugs and hello’s and we talked a little about the hunts and my bear. Harry told us to go see the bear, so we left to the area where the taxidermy displays were. When we walked up, dad told me to figure out which one it was. I looked at one bear that looked exactly like mine but then I looked at the other and it had a ‘Rhodes Taxidermy’ sign on it. I was very happy, he looked beautiful! He looked just like he was posing and had never been shot. I was also very impressed with the creativity with the base. I was so glad to see my bear again.
We took some pictures and then decided to walk around and see the other booths. While walking around, Kevin called so we walked to Harry’s booth to meet him. He told josh and I that he had a podcast for us to do. We followed him to a product booth and waited while they talked. Kevin then told josh and I that he would wait because of the noise. So we went walking again. We located mom, dad and hunter and we all went to eat. We got some small pizzas and sat down to eat.
After eating, we walked over to Lee and Tiffany’s booth. They were taking pictures with someone as we were walking by and Tiffany saw me. She immediately waved and said hello, I responded back and was laughing because of the mixed emotions on people’s faces as me and tiffany talked. After they signed my bear skull, I told them that we were going to go see Chris Brackett and Michael Waddell too so I would talk with them later. I walked around the corner and got in line to see Michael Waddell.
We talked with Michael Waddell, T-bone, Chris and Edwin Waddell, Michael’s dad, so I managed to get some autographs from them and a few pictures.
We then immediately went to Chris Bracketts booth. When we arrived at his booth, we found out that he was walking around the show. So we camped out at the side of the wall for a few minutes, and then one of his guys came up and told us that he had texted him and he was on his way. I was really happy because I had watched pretty much every episode and I admired his skillful bow shooting. Dad saw him first, and so we jumped in line to meet him. He signed my bear skull and we all took pictures with him. Then we walked our way back towards my bear.
While walking, I saw Larry Weishuhn and so I stopped and got his autograph too. Michael, Tiffany, Lee, Chris and Larry were really surprised that I, a little 5′ 3” girl, had killed an 450+ Canadian Black Bear. I was tickled that they were so surprised and I had a lot of fun at the show and so did Hunter, Josh, Mom and Dad. It was an awesome show and I can’t wait to go again!