Guns, ammo, coins and sparkly jewelry pieces lay displayed on some 230 tables in the Foster Communications Coliseum Saturday, when hundreds of armed enthusiasts flocked to the tri-annual Silver Spur Gun Show.
Show organizer Kim Sansom has been doing trade shows for 25 years, and said this show is one of her favorites, citing a family-friendly environment, history and a good mix of people to converse with as she stood behind a booth covered with guns and ammunition shells.
“We have between 125 and 130 vendors,” Sansom said. “They come from all over Texas, so it’s pretty unique as far as being able to come to one place. There’s a lot of history here because we have collectors, the Sons of Confederates come, we have a military collector back there who loves talking to people. People bring stuff in and ask ‘what’s this, where does it come from,’ stuff like that. Then of course there’s your guns and ammos and shooting supplies, grips and clips.”
People from San Antonio, Austin and Kerrville were among the natives in attendance Saturday afternoon, Sansom said, and the San Angelo shows have always had a good draw.
At a stand right by the entrance of the coliseum floor stood a unique man selling military surplus items ranging from ammo tins to knives, vests and backpacks. He doesn’t have a name—or doesn’t want to provide it, rather—alleging that he’s in the witness protection program.
The man is from Lubbock and frequents some shows, describing his hobby as a “bad habit” that started five years ago when he began looking for ammo cans.
“The government has a consolidated auction,” he explained where he gets his wares. “They send everything to one point and then have an auction. “I like army stuff. I’ve got nothing too favorite,” he motioned to a table with just about everything on it. “I just do it. It subtracts from my social security; not to supplement it,” he laughed.
Standing behind a table lining the perimeter of the building, Carroll Swafford displays a colorful collection of knobs that at first seem out of place. The knobs, he says, pointing to a rifle with one attached, are called “bolt knobs” and are placed on the gun for a better grip.
“Really what this works for is if you’re out hunting in gloves, it makes that (bolt) easier to get a hold of,” he explained. “The women grab them before the men because they want to know what it is. Because you can’t leave a gun alone. It’s like a fingernail: you’ve got to paint it,” he joked.
Swafford said he learned how to make the knobs from a friend, Mike Verfurth, who owns a local electric company. He says the design of the knobs depends on the limitations of the material, and although he’s selling them over the weekend for $60 apiece, neither Swafford or Verfurth have an ordering system in place.
“If Mike does it—it’s his lathe—he can probably do this in about an hour,” Swafford said. “It takes me about two to three. He was just bored and he decided to start making them and he decided to make me start making them.”
The knobs are made from an acrylic block that is then cut into a cylinder and beveled with a lathe, Swafford said. He then holds a fine sandpaper and polishes the knobs as the spin.
An alternative use, suggests a friend of Swafford’s standing nearby, would be to sell the knobs as pendants and usher in a new fashion trend in women’s jewelry. That trend probably won’t start anytime soon.
Amidst guns, ammo and various other wares sat Brian Foster, a former homicide detective from the Houston Police Department. Foster worked the homicide division in the Houston area for two decades, and over that span of time collected stories, notes, quotes and quips that he’s now published in three books, “Homicidal Humor”, “More Homicidal Humor” and “The Clot Thickens”.
Each book features a collection of short stories revolving around true events, murder and the humor found in those cases, be it killer confessions or famous last words. His books are also sold on Amazon.
The Silver Spun Gun Show visits San Angelo three times a year. For the second time this year, the show hit town on Saturday and Sunday. The next show will be on September 27-28. For more information on Silver Spur, visit their website.