The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


August 3, 2009

Mountain Man competition kicks off West End Fair

LAURELTON—The 33rd annual Mountain Man contest kicked off a week of activities at the 84th annual Union County West End Fair on Sunday.

The competition has continued to run strong since its first year in 1976. About 20 men and boys, nearly twice the number of participants as last year, worked their way through the four events, which involved a tomahawk throw, archery, muzzle-loader shoot and fire-making with flint and steel.

“We thought about what we wanted to do and thought about something interesting,” participant Lane Zimmerman, 20, of Mifflinburg, said. “The tomahawk throw, the fire starting and the archery are the same, but we wanted to try something new for the muzzle loading. This year, we are shooting playing cards on edge. It’s a short-yardage shoot to maintain a little more safety. We don’t want to be slinging round balls all over the place.”

The competition opened with the tomahawk throw and then moved to the new portion of the muzzle-loader shoot. This is the second consecutive year for the shoot to be held at the fairgrounds, along Route 235.

It had been moved to a sportsman’s club to accommodate the range needed for the shoot, but organizers didn’t like the idea of breaking up the events, which are meant to kick off the fair. Instead, they shortened the distance to keep the shoot on the fairgrounds in a safe manner.

“I saw it at a muzzle shoot a couple years ago,” Zimmerman said of the new targets. “It’s difficult. It ain’t easy to do. I saw it at an event and thought about it for this year and said let’s give it a shot.”

With the old-fashioned feel of the contest brought home by participants wearing mountain-man garb, the first round of tomahawk throws started with the usual jabber and razzing.

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