Safari Club International Convention Begins - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Safari Club International Convention Begins

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The Safari Club International Convention started Wednesday.

The four-day event is expected to bring about 20,000 people and $21 million to the Biggest Little City.

Former Arkansas Governor and presidential hopeful, Mike Huckabee officially got the SCI Convention going with a ribbon cutting.

"I want my children, and now my grandchildren, to be able to enjoy the experiences for the outdoors, hunting and fishing, as I have grown up and enjoyed," Huckabee said.

Hunters from 103 countries are in Reno for the convention.

Phil DeLone is the CEO of Safari Club International. He says the event is not just an economic boost for the hunting industry, but it also funds conservation efforts around the world.

"There really is no similar event than SCI," DeLone said. "This is, without question, the leading outdoor enthusiast hunters convention on the planet."

This convention is also the heart and soul for many businesses.

Justin Sip builds guns by hand, at a starting price tag of $10,000 a piece. "I'll sell enough, here, to get enough business for the whole year," Sip said. "So, this is the only show I do all year. So, it's very important to me."

Greg Harvey represents Huntershill Safaris. It's a South African company that sells all-inclusive hunting trips, ranging from $4,000 to $65,000. About a quarter of them are booked at this event. "With the American economy showing signs of improvement, it's getting bigger and bigger for us," Harvey said. "And virtually all our clients come out of the USA."

Members tell us they come here to see the art, taxidermy, and to catch up with old friends. And with so many businesses, auctions, and raffles, a lot of money is changing hands. "It's really hard not to spend some money here," John Weyandt said. "Everything's very tempting."

One item up for auction is "The Queen's Rifle". It's an exact copy of the rifle that King George VI gave to Princess Elizabeth in 1943. Bids are expected to reach $50,000.

Written by Paul Nelson

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