Have you ever cut a big old tree, planning precise cuts for it to drop in a specific spot? Only to hear it crack, tilt and begin the slow groan of falling in the opposite direction, directly toward your 4-wheeler.
Those moments just before impact you get this indescribable feeling in the pit of stomach, knowing there is absolutely nothing you can do. Simply watch, helplessly.

It’s that feeling I sometimes get during the Woods-N-Water News Outdoor Weekend. Once it starts, there isn’t much we can do to change the direction. So you just roll with the punches and make the best of it.

It’s taken me many years to understand and learn this. On one Friday evening, a few years back, after closing hours, I was chatting with family friend, Mark Madeline, who was helping us watch parking gates on the south side of the fairgrounds.

“How’d it go?” I asked, as I relieved him from his gate. .

“You’ve got a “wild beaver” in the parking lot, chasing people all over,” Mark said with little hesitation and a faint smile.

“This lady and her daughter came running up to me, screaming for help, shouting that a “wild beaver” was chasing them all over the parking lot,” Mark continued and pointing to where the “wild beaver” was chasing them.

“After many years of doing the Outdoor Weekend, I have to tell you that’s a new one,” I tell Mark.

“Well she was serious,” Mark explained to me.

The Outdoor Weekend has a little something for everyone at nearly every level. The Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show is one of those people of all ages will like and enjoy. With shows daily, September 8th through the 10th. Check our special center section pull out for show times.

Like that tree that falls in the opposite direction than planned, you get that funny feeling in your stomach and just roll with the punches.

I thought, maybe this is a good thing, it will add lore to the show, a little legend in the making. This just may be what we need to produce some ambience for their show experience. Keeping us one step ahead of the other outdoor shows, you know, with wild animals in the parking lot!

With time, as stories sometimes do, it may take on an outdoor experience we can’t duplicate. The story could be a wolverine or a huge black bear decides to make the fairgrounds his home? Or maybe it could even become the tall tale of a cougar lurking between cars?

The truth, of-course, is a ground hog found cars and trucks parked over one of his burrows. Not a “wild beaver.” The ground hog may have taken his territorial act a little too far though. I don’t think he thought his bluffs through very well, since the fairgrounds was full of 15,000 hunters. Sooner or later he was going to meet his demise. Accidently or intentionally, he did.

And speaking of that tree that falls exactly where you didn’t intend? Our staff puts many hours into the Outdoor Weekend, planning, organizing and directing, it seldom comes off exactly as we envisioned, but close enough to please most and we are thankful for that.

This year we have a few new events and top of the list is the Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show. From log rolling to axe throwing they promise to be entertaining, we’re confident you’ll enjoy them.

We have several outdoor speakers who will be sharing everything from food plot information to successful whitetail tactics and more..

Our ‘Puppy Tent’ taking another step in the direction of safety of the pups and the owners. Thanks to the those at Lapeer County Animal Control those interested in buying a puppy can get tips on what to look for and questions to ask to make sure your new best friend is safe and healthy. Let’s Vaccinate! Vaccinations are available at Lapeer County Animal Control booth for puppies sold at the Puppy Tent. For just $5 per dose, new owners can get DAPP + L4 for dogs 6 plus weeks and Bordetella for dogs 8 weeks old.

There are plenty of outdoor experts to talk with you about dog training, waterfowl hunting, whitetail hunting, wild game preparation, cooking, firearms, tree stand hunting, food plots, ice fishing, boating experts, ATV and UTV experts, as well as camping and camper experts to chat with.

Can Am will present ATV demonstrations and demo rides for qualified riders. A demo track will be constructed at the fairgrounds so you can get a feel for the machine.

You can’t test drive the newest fishing boats but there will be plenty on display, as well as snowmobiles and tons of ice fishing equipment.

A popular portion of this selling show is small tractors for food plots and all the equipment to attach to them, seeders, cultipackers, tillers, blades and buckets.

There will be row after row of zero-turn lawn mowers and enough chainsaws to clear a small forest for sale. We will even have a working sawmill and log splitters. Holy smokes, why wouldn’t an outdoor fella show up at the Outdoor Weekend?

One of my favorites is the Chili-Cook-Off Competition in the Rotary Beer Tent. Some of those chili’s make you tap your toes and snort like a wild boar. You can taste test one or all if you like.

Also in the same location is the ‘Cribbage Challenge’ where you will get a chance to play a grand card game with some of the best cribbage players in the country. And if you enjoy fair food, we have multiple trailers full of french fries, pulled pork, buffalo burgers, snack sticks, jerky, cashews and pickles. It just can’t get better than that!

This is a selling show, everything is for sale, hunting clothing, art works, handmade rustic furniture, boots, hats, and of course a great selection of chainsaw carvings are all for sale.

So no, the tree doesn’t always fall exactly where we intend, but you can bet, like the past 36 years, we will do everything we can so you get the most for your $10 investment. Of course children under 12 are free!.

Come to the Outdoor Weekend and help us celebrate our Michigan outdoor heritage!

The 2023 Outdoor Weekend will be held September 8, 9 and 10 at the Eastern Michigan State Fairgrounds, Imlay City. Show hours are Friday 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. We’re looking forward to #37—well, sort-of, if things go as planned.

Editors Note: If you would like to email Randy, rjorgensen@pageone-inc.com