Back in the 1950s, Hollywood cranked out thousands of westerns — western movies, western TV shows, western Saturday morning serials....
Hollywood made so many western-themed shows there weren’t enough antique six-shooters around for everyone.
In response, a company named Great Western started up in Hollywood in 1954, dedicated to making nothing except cool-looking shootable guns for Elvis Presley, John Wayne, Don Knotts, and others to use in movies.
One of those Great Western six shooters was on sale at the first annual gun show in Morton, held Jan. 26 and 27 upstairs at the Morton city hall.
Organizer Wes Ovre, said the show has been in the works since last October.
“We got the idea at a Chamber of Commerce meeting that it might be a way to bring people into town,” he said.
According to Ovre, the first show attracted vendors from as far away as Rochester and Estherville, Iowa. Closer to hand were vendors from Sartell, Pipestone, and Windom.
“They’re mostly smaller vendors, those who don’t have storefronts,” Ovre said. Most were collectors of hunting and sporting guns rather than military-style arms.
One of those smaller vendors was Ron Langin of Marshall, owner of the Great Western six-shooter.
“I started collecting old guns about 40 years ago,” he said, sitting behind a display table with a dozen or so antique rifles and shotguns.
Langin was there to sell or trade several he didn’t need for his collection any more, mostly Merlin rifles from the 1890s.
Dan Cochran of Morgan was at the show representing his business, Logos Leathercraft.
“In the past I’ve done a lot of cowboy shows, but this is my first gun show,” Cochran said, displaying his custom-made holsters and other gun accessories.
One of his best selling gun-related items these days is concealed-carry holsters, designed for keeping small guns unobtrusive.
Rick Bolinske, of Battle Lake, is a former trapper who went full time into selling knick-knacks across the midwest. Among the more popular on display in Morton were a variety of weapons like specialty knives and swords.
For a small show held for the first time, toward the end of the first day Ovre estimated about 300 visitors had toured the show.
Based on the numbers of vendors and visitors, Ovre said the Chamber of Commerce plans on making the gun show an annual event.