As I travel around the Midwest I so often see paintings and carvings of wildlife that are unbelievably good. It is amazing how sometimes someone who you have never heard of can be so creative and artistic and talented. That’s one of the reasons that Sandra McCormick and I came up with the idea of a fall get together showing the works of these folks who never get much publicity. Sandra owns McCreed’s Art Gallery just east of Bennett Springs, and west of Lebanon. She displays the work of some of those people, and we decided that more of them need to be seen for the talented artists they are.

That’s why we are trying to assemble a large group of people who are outdoor oriented artists, carvers, photographers and craftsmen in October, to show their talents to what we believe will be a crowd of over 2,000 people. But it won’t work if we do not get the word out, and so we are starting early. Thanks to the Countryside Assembly of God church and Reverend Gray Norden, we have the use of a 16,000 square foot auditorium-gymnasium at Bolivar, Missouri, where there will be no charge for visitors nor craftsmen. If you know talented people who might want to be there to show their work, let them know so that they have the time to accomplish new creations to bring and show or sell. Artists and craftsmen may contact Sandra McCormick or myself at numbers given below.

The only cost that day will be the dinner, catered by Richard’s Hawgwild Barbecue out of Aurora, Mo. and I will guarantee it to be a real bargain for some of the best barbecue you have ever eaten.

We’ll need a lot of help, with setting up tables and helping artists to get their creations inside, and publicizing the event, and so if you can help us please contact me and become a partner in this. I know from experience we won’t get any help from the larger city news media, so we hope to have the smaller local newspapers and radio stations let folks know about it. We need help circulating posters, which we will be making.

No one is going to make any money out of this event, except, hopefully the craftsmen and artists. We would like to help the Countryside Church of God raise some money to help people in need, like those victims of the Moore, Oklahoma tornado. It is something of a miracle for us to find the availability of 16,000 square feet, which is large enough for two basketball courts. We will likely set up a separate section for those outdoor folks who make fishing lures and calls, for those who have antique outdoor items and even older model used hunting guns. It will also serve as a get-together for those members of our Common Sense Conservationist organization.

Mostly, I just want to get the word out to our artists in the Midwest that this is a day for them, and they can sell their work or just show it, whichever they may choose. The event will take place on Saturday October 12, from 9 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon. Outdoor artists and craftsmen should call my office at 417-777-5227 or e-mail me at  Sandra McCormick can be contacted from Thursday through Sunday at McCreed’s Art gallery, 417-588-7993.

There are also some very good but unheralded writers in the Ozarks, and we intend to try to give some of them a start through the new magazine we are producing to fill the void created by the loss of the Ozarks Mountaineer magazine, which had been in production since the 1950’s. We will call our new magazine the Journal of Ozark Mountaineers, and it will be about Ozarks’ country living and history. On July 21, we will have a meeting to create department editors and writers and lay out a plan for the first edition, to be printed in the fall. If you have an interest in that meeting you should call me on that number given above, or e-mail me.

This effort may be a complete failure, but it is worth trying. If that first issue this fall succeeds, we will continue to print it. Cowley Distributing Company in Jefferson City, Missouri distributes magazines all over the lower Midwest, and they told me that last year they had distributed a good number of the old Ozarks Mountaineer with very good success, so they have agreed to put several hundred of our new magazine on the newsstands they serve. We have received postcards and e-mails from about 100 people telling us they want a copy of that first issue. We need at least 300 first-time readers just to pay the printing bill, so if you want to help, send us notice to hold a magazine for you.

I anticipate the magazine being 64 to 80 pages, with a color cover and hopefully some color inside. I am hoping that many Ozark newspapers will dig into their files and contribute old stories and photos that deal with the history of their area. But if you are an aspiring writer or photographer who loves the Ozarks and its people and history, this may be a great opportunity for you. The first magazine will likely sell for about 6 or 7 dollars when you figure in the postage, but with the limited printing, it may be a real collector’s item someday.

Already there are certain issues of the Lightnin’ Ridge Outdoor Journal, first printed in 1999, which are selling for many times more than the original cost. We didn’t print large numbers back then, and there are 5 or 6 issues, which we do not have. One fellow paid 100 dollars apiece for issues 3 and 5, printed in the year 2000.

There is a fishing technique I knew of as a boy in the Ozarks, which is amazingly effective, but it sounds ridiculous when you first hear about it. In the recent issue of our Lightnin’ Ridge outdoor magazine, we ran a story about it from a 1930’s outdoor magazine, and you will be amazed when you read it. So that you might read it without having to buy the magazine from a newsstand, we are going to reproduce it on a new Facebook site put together by Lightnin’ Ridge Publishing Company employee Kathy Pirtle. Just look up Lightnin’ Ridge on Facebook and read about something they called ‘Bumble-Jugging’. Then you might check the fish and game laws in your state to be sure what is legal and what isn’t, just to be sure you do it legally.

If you are someone who has had trouble finding ammunition, you can find all you want in St. Louis at Cabela’s sporting goods store. A reader says he saw aisle after aisle filled with ammo of all calibers, and a store manager told him the shortage only exists in rural areas where paranoid hoarders, fearful the government is going to send troops to their home to confiscate their ammunition is buying great quantities from smaller stores unable to keep up with them. It could be that in our Ozark region, ammo dealers are making enough money from increasing prices that they play along with the “shortage”.

If you want to take your pickup and a trailer to Cabela’s in St. Louis, you can load up and as you drive away they will be restocking their shelves. I have heard there are crazy people on both sides of the political spectrum fearing that the U.S. Army, with young American servicemen who are the sons of neighbors and friends, will someday invade our homes and take our guns, brainwashed by our leaders in Washington. That is baloney! Our greatest threat is one-eyed, three eared, purple and green invaders from the planet Voclar who are armed with .45 pistols and .30 caliber carbines. I have seen them, and have intercepted their e-mails.