Well, my half birthday with Kevin’s, that is! I have soooo enjoyed working at Kevin’s for the past 6 months. And as I was talking with Kevin and Kathleen about how much I have learned about their business since I started with them, it occurred to me that this is something to BLOG about!
Northwest of Thomasville, on the banks of the Flint River, lies Rio Piedra Plantation, one of the expansive private shooting preserves that stretch across South Georgia and into North Florida. It was an ideal morning to go shooting. The air was crisp with no breeze, we were surrounded by tall pines highlighted by the lighting that’s unique to Fall, and outfitted with Purdey shooting vests and two beautiful shotguns, one of England’s finest, and another, designed in our neck of the woods.
To celebrate Purdey’s bicentennial anniversary, Kevin’s longtime friends from London Al and Chris brought two of their fabulous firearms to shoot beside two shotguns Kevin has designed here and makes in Italy.
I’ve held plenty of guns, but holding that well-balanced piece of functional art changed my perspective on the difference a well-designed gun makes. When you lift it, it effortlessly fits into your shoulder as if it was made for you. Holding these guns I felt their tradition of excellence, a part of something special. If you haven’t had the pleasure, call Kevin and ask to see his Gun Room.
The Night Before: Kevin’s Fine Gun Room Hosts Purdey Shotgun Viewing
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Enjoying a weekend of camaraderie, traditions and competitive shooting, gun enthusiasts from all over the country recently joined forces for the 15th Southern Side X Side Championships and Exhibition in Sanford, NC. Kevin’s Guns,a proud sponsor of the this annual Spring event, is particularly proud of Thomasville, Georgia native and Kevin’s Guns’ own Jared Singletary who impressed the crowds over the weekend placing on the prestigious Parker Team and placing 10th in competition on Sunday.
Saturday’s Parker vs L.C. Smith Challenge was a competitive shoot out to the end. Jared had use of any of Kevin’s guns on display, and used the first one he picked up – a vintage circa 1890’s Parker VH 12 Bore. The Parker committed him to competing to make the coveted Parker team the 10 best shooters of the morning competition.The 10 year old competition is a five stand event – competitors shoot five stands of clay’s with six shots each for a perfect 30 target score. There are two different stands with a total of 60 targets possible. Jared’s impressive score of 52 gave him a place on the Parker Team! He shot a 27 on the first stand and a 25 on the second.
In the afternoon, The Parker Team shot against the L.C. Smith team with only one stand of five shots for a high individual score of 30 targets. Jared shot a 27, the highest on the Parker team! The 10 shooters’ combined scores determined the winning team and by only four shots, L.C. Smith took home the prize.
Sunday’s Atkin, Grant & Lang Main Clay Event brought together over 400 shooters in competition and Kevin’s Gun’s Jared Singletary, again impressed, coming in 10th out of a field of over 400 competitors! Jared loves clay’s and has been competing since he was 14 years old. And now, he is looking forward to watching his son, Stone,compete in future events! Stone has been shooting since he was two and at seven years old, told his dad he wants to go to next year’s competition. Jared doesn’t talk a lot about his successes, he is quiet about his shooting skills, but many took note. The vintage Parker he used during the competition really said it best as it sold immediately after his competition, clearly someone else was hoping to shoot as well as Jared using his Parker for good luck!
Chloe joined the Kelly family at Christmas and loves visiting the stores and catalog. She was helping us today with Fall 2014 Mountain Khaki selections!
T’was the night before Christmas
And all through the store,
Kevin’s staff was busy stocking the shelves once more.
The Barbour’s, Beretta’s and Purdey’s were hung,
close to Holland and Holland, the clothing and guns.
Kevin’s Finest was hanging and folded just right,
when everyone headed home Christmas Eve night.
As they locked the front door there arose a great clatter,
the staff called Kevin and Kathleen to see what was the matter.
Away to the store, The Kelly’s drove in a flash,
unlocked the front door and ran in with a dash;
the street lights on Broad gave a warm luminous glow
as they shone like midday on objects below.
And what to their wondering eyes should appear
but a whited bearded old gent, without his reindeer.
A jolly old man all dressed in Red,
they realized it was Santa which made them quite glad.
More focused than lasers, his eyes how the flew,
around the shop twinkling, he knew what to do.
“Shirts, belts, boots and bowties “he cried, “shotguns and more,
My whole list is filled from this wonderful store!”
With frenzy much like the warehouse sale crowd,
Santa moved with great speed as he moved through each aisle.
Around each corner, and up to the top of each wall,
he filled his great bag and it grew very tall.
And then with a twinkle Santa began laughing with joy;
he had found all of the presents for his good girls and boys.
As we wondered and pondered on what he would do next,
he came down the steps and slowed down for short little rest.
He was dressed all in fur, but started trying on clothes,
the red coat was for Christmas, only for show.
First he tried on our shirts, then some pants, now a coat,
he knew what he liked but he never did gloat,
A happy glance in the mirror confirmed he looked fine,
He kept trying on clothes until it was time.
He admired our shotguns and tried out a few,
then looked at our muck boots and knew they would do.
St. Nick looked through the ties, admiring all,
and then checked out the camo and several duck calls.
He loved the Clic Readers, in our sunglasses he rocked,
and he turned around laughing then spied our wool socks,
It was cold in the North Pole, he loved how they felt
warm feet were a priority especially for elves.
He had a broad face and little round belly
That shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly
He noticed us watching and with a wink of his eye
Let us know the time had come for him to fly,
He spoke not a word and went back to his work
He closed up his bag, and then turned with a jerk.
Opening the front door he gave a great whistle,
And a sleigh with eight reindeer arrived for his dismissal.
He sprang to the sleigh and away they all flew
With a quiet, quick cadence, they knew what to do.
But we heard him exclaim as they flew out of sight
“Thank you to the Kelly’s; I had lots of fun,
everyone wanted Kevin’s this year , so my work is now done.
On to deliver these great gifts of yours,
Merry Christmas to all, especially those who love the outdoors!”
By Didi Hoffman
Eighteen years ago, two patrons of the arts and outdoor enthusiasts transformed Thomasville, Georgia into a national center for the arts, in celebration of the outdoor lifestyle. Now a nationally renowned wildlife arts festival, the Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival www.pwaf.org appropriately coincides with the opening of quail hunting season. The quail defines much of the southwest region of Georgia and the love of the outdoors, dogs, hunting, conservation, family and tradition.
Inspiration came to founder Bob Crozer, while attending game fairs in Scotland and England. He felt Thomasville had the same love of the outdoors, family, wildlife and dogs that were celebrated in these festivals. Bob was fascinated and especially loved the majestic birds of prey demonstrations at the different festivals along with the different artist interpretations of outdoor life. His hope was that the people of Thomasville would feel that same joy he felt after attending these fairs. He knew in his heart that the community would embrace a similar festival. Inspired, he felt the perfect person to champion this wildlife festival would be his friend Margo Bindhardt – a woman who was passionate about the outdoors, a patron of the arts and a woman who knew how to create magic!
Margo’s talents brought immediate success to the festival. Once she put her mind to something, she thoroughly enjoyed engaging people to achieve a mutual goal. Louise Dunlap her daughter and Vice – Chair of this year’s PWAF remembers her mother’s love of the festival. Margo “thought of PWAF as her family. She was dedicated to bringing first class artists and patrons of the arts together.”
A PWAF artist whom Margo and PWAF helped launch, Chris Chantland, spoke highly of her, her kindness and support towards all the artists. “I knew immediately and instinctively that she was a super-nice lady, and if you saw her without a smile or a gleam in her eye, it would be extremely rare.” Louise added that “my mom always had so much fun at the show, mingling with artists, some of whom became dear friends.”
“Through the years PWAF has stayed true to the foundation laid by these two wonderful people,” says this year’s Chair, Gates Kirkham. “Their principles and vision continue to guide our efforts to bring premier art to our region.”
Kevin’s Fine Outdoor Gear & Apparel shares the same goals of the original and current PWAF efforts. “My mother always believed that volunteers, committees, and underwriters were the backbone of the festival” reflected Lousie and Kathleen Kelly, co-owner of Kevin’s follows this same belief. Like most working mothers, Kathleen juggles work and family but is committed to the success of PWAF and helps whenever possible. In the beginning years, Kathleen was an integral part of the Preview Party, even working as Chair. This special event allows people from all over the country who love fine wildlife art to preview the artist’s work in a less crowded environment than the actual daytime festival. It is the “kickoff” to a fun weekend and many of Kevin’s customers love going to the party. Kathleen’s favorite part of the evening is that old friends and customers of Kevin’s have an opportunity to enjoy a relaxed evening of art and friendship, talking about art, hunting, their families and favorite dogs.
Kevin’s, in support of PWAF is again excited to participate in the festivities. Friday, November 15th during the Underwriter and Patron Parties, Kevin’s will present the prestigious gun manufacturer Holland and Holland and display some of their finest guns. As a kickoff to the quail hunting season, the artistry and craftsmanship of these guns truly has a place in the Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival. They are a work of art.
To Kevin and Kathleen Kelly, Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival really reflects who they are. It speaks about their love of the outdoors , their support of the arts, their support of the PWAF beneficiary Thomasville Center for the Arts www.thomasvillearts.org and their commitment to Thomasville.
The core success of this special festival really harkens back to the vision and passion Bob Crozer and Margo Brindhart brought to it from its beginning. They planted the seed and gave the festival deep roots to sustain and grow over the years, and it now has a renowned status in the wildlife art world. Very sadly, both Bob and Margo have passed on, but their joy and spirit combined with their love of the arts, outdoors and Thomasville continues to shine on.
“My Mom was involved in a lot of ventures in the arts world, but she was most proud of PWAF,” says Louise, “she was always willing to help the show in any way that she could. She was even known to pick up garbage after the show. Her love of PWAF showed not only in her dedication, but also in her heart.”
For tickets and information please visit www.pwaf.org.
What happens when Beretta’s Master Engraver Luca Casari visits Kevin’s Fine Outdoor Gear & Apparel? Magic! Master Luca Casari, our modern day Michelangelo of engraving, creates heirloom scenes on the finest Beretta Guns in the world. We were honored to have him visit our Thomasville Store and our customers were thrilled to have him initial their guns, watches and other personal items.
Master Casari rarely shares his craft with the public and to initial anything other than guns is rare, so it was a great treat to watch him use his tools with such precision. The lucky ones who actually had him initial their personal items, left Kevin’s with a treasure. We were honored Beretta choose Kevin’s as one of their stops on their US trip.
We kept Beretta Master Engraver Luca Casari busy all day! The store was jam packed with our normal Saturday crowd plus excited Beretta fans who had their personal belongings engraved by the Master! Watches, knives, belts all were initialed throughout the day. We loved the Kevin’s silver quail tray that was initialed with a couple’s wedding anniversary date . As a surprise, the husband had the tray engraved without his wife knowing, and when he showed it to her with the anniversary date engraved, she was thrilled! (And the husband was relieved!). We were so fortunate to have engraving master Luca Casari and Beretta visit us at Kevin’s Thomasville store!