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Show was a great way to enjoy outdoors-indoors

Dave Taylor wood burned a decoy at the National Sporting and Collectible Show held in Perham April 17.1 / 2
Dick Carr has showcased his collectibles at the same booth for a decade at the National Sporting and Collectible Show in Perham.2 / 2

Despite beautiful weather outside, the 13th annual gathering of the National Fish Decoy Association's (NFDA) National Sporting and Collectible Show, held at the Perham Area Community Center (PACC) was well attended.

Show Chairman Ron Osvold noted the seasonable weekend weather, along with other show vendors.

"It was like 80 degrees, laying in the sun and fishing on your boat weather," he said.

Linda Olson, from Backus, proffered a large collection of books themed from Native American history to hunting, fishing and wildlife from her antique store in Walker.

"We always kind of hope for rain," she laughed.

Osvold was pleased with the turnout and equally impressed by the quality of work displayed.

"It was an excellent show," he said. "It's the only one in America and it happens in Perham. It's cool that it's here."

Dave Taylor, from Marshall, was displaying his wares for the second year at the show. He specializes in bird decoys and was wood burning a new piece of handiwork for attendees to catch a glimpse of some of the more intricate work involved.

"I've gotten better by practicing," he said. "The painting has been a challenge, but I learned just by doing it."

Taylor was burning a Manjinder decoy. A Manjinder is a mandarin duck. He described spending over 100 hours just to carve the bird's feathers. Of the varieties of material used, in this case tupelo, Taylor also uses basswood, cedar and cork.

"I like tupelo," he said.

Taylor attends shows not only to sell his items but also to purchase Minnesota-based decoys for his collection at home. He has a room of about 200 birds his wife allots him at their home in Marshall.

"I sell mine to keep my habit up," Taylor said.

Taylor had advice for many of the attendees who join his enthusiasm for decoys.

"Join a carving club," he said. "There's something new to learn at every meeting."

While Taylor taught himself how to improve his art, other vendors like Larry Lange of Perham's Uncle Larry's Decoys insist that a natural inclination does not hurt.

"You've got to have artistic ability," Lange said.

Lange also attributed much of the success of this show and others to the people with whom he was busy in conversation.

"Collectors are what keeps shows going," he said.

For collectors to keep coming and for future success of the show, it takes a few long-time vendors, as well.

Dick Carr, of Detroit Lakes was in his 10th year showcasing his collectibles at the Perham show.

"I look forward to it every year," Carr said. "I've owned this corner booth for 10 years."

Carr, who has been active in sporting collectibles for over 50 years, shops estate and rummage sales over the course of the year to keep up on what has become a lifelong hobby. He even has a unique way of describing how he collects.

"I've always been an accumulator," he said. "After awhile you accumulate so much stuff you have to turn around and give it to someone else."

According to Osvold, attendance numbers were on par with last year's show. Although pleased with the attendance, he is always hoping for more people to show.

"This event is a big economic boost for Perham," Osvold said. "Most people come from 30 to 80 miles away."

The NFDA, based in Frazee, is a group dedicated to the preservation of the historical folk-art of fish decoy carving, both for winter and summer fishing. Its members are involved with the promotion and education regarding the sport of dark house spear fishing, with the goal of sharing and gaining knowledge in many aspects of the decoy world. Specialties include 19th, 20th and modern century decoy carvers and their biographies.

Robert Williams

Sports Editor at the Detroit Lakes Tribune. Williams worked prior as the Sports Editor in Perham for the Focus, a Forum Communications newspaper, from 2010-14. 

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