Dennis Anderson: Delaneys turn their land into a public playground

  • Article by: DENNIS ANDERSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 6, 2013 - 12:49 AM

For two weekends every August, outdoors enthusiasts Chuck and Loral I Delaney turn their land into a public playground.

hide

Chuck and Loral I Delaney have made Game Fair a labor of love for 32 years. “It’s difficult to duplicate Minnesota and the interest people here have in hunting and fishing,” Chuck said.

Photo: Photos by BRIAN PETERSON • brianp@startribune.com,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

It’s early August 32 years after they first unveiled Game Fair, and Chuck and Loral I Delaney are watching as the 80 acres of woods and fields that surround their picturesque exurban home and kennel are transformed from private retreat to public playground.

Circus-like tents pop up as far as the eye can see. Electric cables coil on the grounds like snakes. Griddles and deep fryers are slid into food tents.

Opening Friday for a six-day run over two weekends, Game Fair will attract tens of thousands of hunters and anglers to the Delaneys’ home turf.

Joining the visitors will be their moms, dads, kids, hunting dogs — and guns.

Guns?

“When Loral I and I first went to Britain in 1980 to see that country’s Game Fair, and saw all of the shooting games and competitions they held, we knew we had to offer similar opportunities at our show,’’ Chuck said.

So it is, and has been for more than three decades, that at 9 each morning, a line of shotgun-toting fairgoers forms at the event’s entrance, their dogs tethered to them by leashes — eager to see the latest outdoor gear and gadgets, while learning from hunting and fishing experts, and also testing their dogs’ field skills.

That the Delaneys’ rendition of Game Fair has succeeded where others in the United States have failed is testament perhaps equally to their understanding of Minnesota’s unique outdoor culture, and to stubbornness.

“I was confident we could make it go, but it didn’t catch on right away,’’ Chuck said.

Confidence was needed five years into the project, when the Delaneys and their partner had lost all of their seed money.

For the partner, the temptation to quit was too great, and he walked away.

• • •

“But 32 years later, we’re still here,’’ Chuck said.

A lifelong outdoors sportshow promoter, Chuck had focused primarily on operation of the couple’s expansive Armstrong Ranch Kennels in the years leading up to Game Fair’s launch.

But his heart, and experience, were in hunting and fishing shows. So when an English friend told the Delaneys about the British Game Fair, they flew abroad to take a look.

It wasn’t that they needed a new project to stay busy. Their boarding and training kennel was highly successful, and had been since Loral I’s dad, Fred Armstrong, founded it in 1926.

Armstrong was a well-known and widely respected hunter, trapshooter and hunting-dog and field-trial-dog trainer who held the first U.S. field trial for German shorthairs at his kennel.

It was from her dad that Loral I learned to shoot, hunt, ride horses and train dogs, and she burnished her reputation as a nationally known outdoors­woman from a young age.

  • related content

  • Chuck and Loral I Delaney, owners and promoters of Game Fair in Anoka, which opens Friday 8/9 for a six day run. BRIAN PETERSON ‚Ä¢ brianp@startribune.com Anoka, MN - 08/02//2013

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

Click here to send us your hunting or fishing photos – and to see what others are showing off from around the region.

ADVERTISEMENT

St. Louis - A. Wainwright 11:35 AM
Pittsburgh - J. Locke
Texas - C. Lewis 2:40 PM
Seattle - E. Ramirez
Washington - D. Fister 6:05 PM
Philadelphia - K. Kendrick
Tampa Bay - D. Smyly 6:05 PM
Baltimore - K. Gausman
Boston - J. Kelly 6:07 PM
Toronto - M. Stroman
NY Yankees - S. Greene 6:08 PM
Detroit - D. Price
Atlanta - J. Teheran 6:10 PM
NY Mets - Z. Wheeler
Chicago Cubs - J. Turner 6:10 PM
Cincinnati - M. Latos
Cleveland - C. Kluber 7:10 PM
Chicago WSox - H. Noesi
Minnesota - P. Hughes 7:10 PM
Kansas City - L. Hendriks
Oakland - D. Pomeranz 7:10 PM
Houston - B. Peacock
Milwaukee - Y. Gallardo 8:10 PM
San Diego - O. Despaigne
Los Angeles - C. Kershaw 8:40 PM
Arizona - W. Miley
Miami - H. Alvarez 9:05 PM
LA Angels - H. Santiago
Colorado - F. Morales 9:15 PM
San Francisco - T. Hudson
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Jacksonville
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Dallas
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tennessee
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Oakland
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:02 PM
ULM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
UCF
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
D.C. 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close