Sampling and Celebrating the Sporting Life

It starts with a drive down a magnolia-lined lane through a beautiful gate that Tiffany’s created then you pass the 1800s Greek revival main house of Greenwood Plantation and time begins to slow. You turn into the grassy field and catch a ride on a quail wagon pulled by Clydesdales to the pop-up canopies on the hill. Your seatmate says he’s from L.A. “You know, Lower Alabama.”

It’s one of many moments you’ll savor from Kevin’s 3rd Annual Game Fair, November 8-10, 2018. Here are just a few we recall:

Gazing up at Old Glory billowing atop a 140-foot flagpole, as a soloist sang God Bless America. Then watching as gentlemen and ladies bowed their heads for a poetic Rev. Horton invocation to start the day.

Walking down a dirt lane near a patch of wiregrass and seeing a crowd coming toward you. The object of their attention: Two dogs on point with field trials Chris Mathan and Betty Shearouse nearby. The lead dog and his backup stood statue still. There was a quick rustling, wings fluttered, then you heard the pop-pop of a starter pistol. It was one impressive performance.

Hearing a man speaking fervent Italian as he meandered across the helicopter field and recognizing him as the Poli Brothers rep. He was one of three overseas gunmakers who traveled to Thomasville for the weekend’s festivities.

Feeling thankful for those who defend our freedom, when Kevin Kelly offered a shout out to Navy SEAL Brad McCloud, Army Ranger Kris Sutton and other service members at the start of the Veteran’s Day weekend.

Watching a twelve-year-old from South Carolina at the sporting clay line-up receiving personal instruction from Kevin Kelly. Her father was one of the audience of admirers for a time, until he heard about the $40,000 Purdey shotgun at the other end of the field that he just had to go see.

Men in bold red jackets and white fox hunting breeches, part of the internationally-acclaimed Live Oak Hounds, who were there compliments of Huntsman Hall of Famer Marty Wood and his wife, Daphne Flowers Wood.

John Deere tractors, off-road custom Roxor Jeeps, Range Rovers and Ford trucks in every flavor dotting the landscape.

Meeting black Labrador “Deke,” a Covey Rise and Garden & Gun magazine cover favorite, and being amazed by his in-field performance under the direction of handler Mike Stewart of Wildrose Kennels.

Meeting black Labrador “Deke,” a Covey Rise and Garden & Gun magazine cover favorite, and being amazed by his in-field performance under the direction of handler Mike Stewart of Wildrose Kennels.

Ladies in pheasant fedoras and jazzy shooting shirts, plus a variety of wing-shooting adornments on leggings, belts, jewelry, scarves and more.

Taking a shortcut across the field near the tenant houses and feeling the ground vibrate, then looking up to see the Clydesdales from Longpine Plantation pulling a quail wagon of guests.

Marveling over the English Cocker Spaniel demonstrations with Ryglen Gundogs and discovering later that Kevin and Kathleen would be getting their very own Ryglen born and bred puppy as a Kevin’s mascot.

It was the kind of day that ends with a satisfying sigh. All is right with the world, at least here in the Red Hills Region.

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