The Great Outdoors
JOHNSTOWN- The ninth annual Adirondack Outdoorsman Show on Saturday was bittersweet for organizer Mike Hauser.
“It’s tough this year because my long-time friend Harry VanSteenburgh just passed away this week,” Hauser said.
VanSteenburgh, 97, died on Monday at Amsterdam’s River Ridge Nursing Home. Hauser said VanSteenburgh was an avid fisher and hunter in the community, and he would always attend the outdoorsman show no matter what.
“He always made a point to attend this event,” Hauser said. “The last three years he showed up in a walker. He was just a great guy; he loved fishing and he was big into hunting and he knew this was always important to me, so he would always make an appearance. This year I’m honoring him.”
Hauser originally created the event in 2005 to pay hommage to his grandfather, who had a passion for the outdoors.
“The first year I did this I wanted to pay tribute to my grandfather who loved hunting and fishing,” he said. “It was a huge success so I’ve done it every year since.”
Hauser said the event brings in at least a thousand people, with attendees from all over the country.
Michael Horstman of Kodiak Guide Service in Kodiak, Alaska, came to Saturday’s event for the first time. Horstman is the master guide of the Alaskan organization that specializes in brown and black bear hunting, moose hunting, fishing and other adventures.
He said Saturday’s event was well-attended and everyone that stopped by his vending table seemed happy to be there.
“I tell people on my guide groups that they need to be young at heart and have fun doing it,” Horstman said. “Everyone here today is smiling and it’s great to see that the passion for outdoor adventures exists in this part of the country as well.”
Ed Lugdon, owner of Lugdon Lodge in Eagle Lake, Maine, said he drove over 10 hours through a snow storm, over a frozen lake to attend the show for a second time.
“We came across this area because we donate our proceeds to the Cornell Cooperative Extension,” Lugdon said. “I really enjoy this area. The people are always friendly here; they act identical to the people back home.”
One of Saturday’s main attractions was the Salerno Brothers, who have been deemed deer hunting royalty in the gaming community.
Pat Salerno, Sr., 81, father of the brothers, was a minor league baseball player for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1950s. He played with and against World Series champion Johnny Podres of the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Salerno said while he was a baseball player, he also loved hunting. As he got older and had his four sons he taught them how to hunt.
“They’ve completely taken over the hunting industry,” he said. “They get 200-plus pound whitetail [deer.] It still impresses me to this day.”
Pat Salerno, Jr., said the family was recognized by the Discovery Channel recently, and they’ve been in a number of local and national hunting magazines.
“We just do what we love and we’re recognized for it, which is pretty great,” he said. “We give seminars and teach young and old hunters tricks and tips on how to get started or get better.”
The outdoorsman show continues today from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Johnstown Moose Club.