For the thirty-third year, Ruston will be hosting one of north Louisiana's most popular outdoors events, the Sportsman's Jamboree.
Spawned back in 1980, the initial meeting was held at the Ruston Civic Center with a gathering of a few dozen hunters and property owners who met to discuss topics related to hunter safety but the main focus was on letting property owners know how valuable they are to hunters for making their acreage available for hunters to use, mostly free of charge; that was before the advent of hunting leases in north Louisiana.
As part of the program, the discussion included hunter ethics, sportsmanship and respect for the rights of property owners.
From that initial meeting, the event has been held every year except 2005, the year Hurricane Katrina devastated south Louisiana, sending refugees north, many taking refuge in Ruston and the surrounding area. Louisiana Tech was heavily involved and needed the facilities and resources more than the Jamboree did that year.
Once Willamette Industries which later became Weyerhaeuser Company got involved, the popularity and expanse of the Jamboree took off like gang-busters and has been a mainstay in north Louisiana every September since.
For those new to the area, this is how the Jamboree rolls on the day it is held; this year the event is slated for Thursday September 20. The Thomas Assembly Center at LA Tech has long been the headquarters for the event and on that day, beginning in early afternoon, Jamboree committee members and other helpers assemble to get everything ready and in place.
Vendors begin setting up booths around the lobby that encircles the gymnasium. Doors open to the public around 4 pm, giving those arriving early plenty of time to check out all that is new in the outdoors world before the program begins at 6.
Once the program kicks off, representatives from Wildlife and Fisheries share the latest information on what hunters can expect when they hit the woods this fall while personnel from the Lincoln Parish Sheriff's Office and local District Attorney briefly discuss any new laws or regulations hunters need to be aware of.
Thousands of dollars worth of door prizes will be given away throughout the evening which ends with the introduction of a special guest speaker.
There have been some great speakers through the years and this year's special guest, Preston Pittman, sits in the top echelon of the list as far as national acclaim and popularity are concerned.
Pittman began competing in local turkey calling contests at an early age, winning his first one at the age of 16. "When I won that first contest, it did something to me. Not only was I good at it, I fell in love with a sport that was right up my alley – turkey calling," Pittman recalls.
Since that beginning Pittman has racked up awards that boggle the mind. These include winning the World Turkey Calling Contest, The World Natural Voice Turkey Calling Contest, World Two Man Team Turkey Calling Contest, The World Gobbling Turkey Calling Contest, and The World All Call Turkey Calling Contest. He is the only person to hold five different world titles.
He has shared his talents with the world by being a guest on such well-known television shows as the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, David Letterman, The Daily Show, and Regis and Kelly.
Pittman will have a booth in the lobby alongside other vendors so early arrivers will have the chance to meet him and get a sneak peek as to what this fellow is all about.
Thursday September 20 is the date; mark your calendars now because you're in for a rare treat.
Glynn Harris Outdoors is proudly sponsored by DSK, Ltd. of Minden.