HAMMOND │ Who would think you could catch a fish in the middle of winter indoors in Hammond?
At the 30th annual Hammond Outdoor Sports Show, a lot of kids were hooking trout.
Outdoor enthusiasts from all over streamed into the Jean Shepherd Community Center Saturday for a show that featured hunting and fishing retailers, charter services, a trout pond, tackle reps, boats, a taxidermist, a rock climbing wall, seminars, food and refreshments.
Mark Narantic, one of the sports show organizers, said a big draw this year is having Buckmaster’s from Alabama on hand to offer free official scoring for antlers. Narantic said people who bring in deer heads or antlers receive free admission to the show, which continues today.
Pete Lenzo, owner of Scale N Down Taxidermy, in Hammond, had an interesting display of his work at the show, including an armadillo and a Harley-Davidson motor cycle helmet with a squirrel gripping the top.
Lenzo’s been taking part in the show for five or six years because it’s local and he lives right across the street.
“I don’t go to any other shows and I get a lot of business from this,” he said.
Lenzo worked at Inland Steel in the 1980s when layoffs were frequent. Inland offered employees classes to help re-diversify employees in case they lose their jobs. Lenzo took taxidermy class and started doing it as a hobby. He’s been state and federally licensed ever since and has had his business since 2000.
Over at Lawton’s Trout Ponds, Dan Gescheidler, of Crown Point, was watching his two young sons, Gavin, 13, and Grant, 10, fish for trout.
“We’ve been out here several times, Gescheidler said. “It’s a tradition for us. My dad is on his way now.”
Gescheidler said the fishing was one of their favorite parts of the show.
“Who would think you’d be able to catch a fish today,” he said.
Gavin said the rock climbing wall “was pretty cool” and a lot of stuff at the show involves things he does with his family when they go on vacation.
The trout pond is operated by John Lawton, of Alabama, who said his grandparents started the business. He travels all over the country with the portable pond and will be in Louisiana next week.
“It gives kids something to do at a show,” he said. “They have a ball.”
The 30th Annual Hammond Outdoor Sports Show continues from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today. Admission is $5 for adults and free for children under 12. For more information call (219) 554-0155 or visit www.gohammond.com.