By Ken Piper
Buckmasters founder Jackie Bushman presents Randy Hendrix as the 2009 Top Bow Indoor World Champion to the Expo crowd.
-- The 2009 Buckmasters Expo wrapped up Sunday night shortly after a brand new champion hoisted The Rack trophy high over his head as the new Buckmasters Top Bow Indoor World Champion.
While Randy Hendrix might be a new Buckmasters champion, he’s been a familiar face, having won several qualifiers and coming close to the title more than once. Now it’s time to hand him the cigar, along with the $25,000 check that goes with being the Buckmasters Top Bow champion.
"I’ve been shooting this event for 20 years — I missed the first one you had — but had never won it," Hendrix said. "I’ve won a lot of other events and have won several Buckmasters qualifiers, but I never won the title until now. It has been one of my life’s dreams to win the Top Bow title, and I finally did it."
Hendrix has been such a good shooter and loyal Buckmasters participant that he even has a few fans in the company — folks like Buckmasters founder Jackie Bushman. "I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed seeing my good buddy Randy Hendrix finally walk away with the Buckmasters Top Bow championship," Bushman said. "Like I said after the event, it was like Dale Earnhardt’s streak with the Daytona 500. Here’s a guy who is one of the very best at what he does but just couldn’t win the sport’s biggest event. Dale eventually got his Daytona trophy, and now Randy can add the Top Bow title to his list of accomplishments."
About 30,000 people from all across the country visited the Expo throughout the three-day event.
But it wasn’t easy.
Hendrix beat out 47 other shooters, including the previous two champions, Skipper Booth (2008) and Jamie Patterson (2007), both of whom were shooting well and finished second and third, respectively. (Click here for shooter scores).
Of course the Top Bow championship is just one of the many attractions at the Buckmasters Expo, and this year’s event was another big success.
Lee and Tiffany Lakosky from The Crush TV show signed autographs throughout the weekend for thousands of happy fans.
People traveled from across the country to attend the Expo and were treated to more than 300 exhibitors, daily seminars with the hottest names in the hunting industry, MMA heavyweight champion and avid hunter Brock Lesnar, the Young Bucks activities for kids, the Dock Dogs competition and even a baseball game and riverboat cruise.
Price of admission to the Expo was just a can of food, and the crowd of about 30,000 attendees donated enough food for the Montgomery, Ala., Salvation Army to put together about 65,000 meals, nearly half as many meals as they provided in all of 2008.
"Food is such a basic need," said Salvation Army Capt. Roy Harris. "When we have plenty of it, we take it for granted; but when we don’t have enough, we quickly notice its absence. We are so grateful to Buckmasters and the generous support of the Montgomery community for making it possible for The Salvation Army to meet this need."
Nick Mundt and Travis "T-Bone" Turner from the Bone Collector TV show drew big crowds to their booth for autographs and smiles.
Buckmasters’ Bushman agreed, giving credit to the nation’s hunters. "The Expo is our chance to meet and rub elbows with sportsmen from all over the country, and every year they amaze us with their generosity," he said. "Hunters are caring, family-oriented people and are the first to step up and lend a hand when times are tough. We appreciate all the folks coming in and will continue to make the Expo bigger and better every year."
Next year’s Expo dates have already been determined, so mark your calendar for Aug. 20-22.
See you in Montgomery in 2010!