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Outdoor Expo combines Bible, adventure for families (Video)

By BY ALLISON MILES - AMILES@VICAD.COM
Feb. 2, 2013 at 7:05 p.m.
Updated Jan. 31, 2013 at 8:01 p.m.

Travis Talley, 12, leans over as Colt Asburg, 8, aims at a wild game target with his nerf crossbow during the Family Outdoor Expo at the Victoria Community Center.

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For information about the Family Outdoor Expo, visit the Family Outdoor Expo website.

Jacob Patrick drew in a breath as he lifted his bow, which at several feet tall, was nearly as big as he. With his eyes focused ahead and his brow slightly furrowed, he let go.

The arrow buried itself deep into the target’s yellow bullseye.

The 7-year-old was among those who attended Saturday’s Family Outdoor Expo at the Victoria Community Center.

Now in its ninth year, the event is a chance to bring families together to enjoy outdoor activities and God’s creation, said Brad Chesak, one of the organizers. The expo is hosted by Experience Excellence, a Crossroads Christian ministry.

In addition to the fly fishing exhibits, rock climbing walls, hayrides and more, religious elements also played their role.

A Creation Station, for instance, offered information about biblical views of the world's formation while the Creation Adventure led children from the first day, when God divided light from darkness, to the seventh day, during which He rested.

Theresa Valdez was unaware of the event's religious element when she took her daughter, Kayla Valdez. Still, as 5-year-old Kayla completed the adventure's seventh and final station, she said she was glad for the opportunity.

"We don't go to church, and she has lots of questions," Valdez said, clutching a picture of the fifth day of creation, when God created the fish and birds, her daughter had colored. "I think it's good."

Cherylnn Dry, another of the event's organizers, said she expected between 8,000 and 10,000 visitors throughout the day. Five hundred volunteers alone made their way to the community center.

"We've had great weather, and it's been crowded since 10 a.m.," she said. "We're very happy."

Carla Phillips used the event as a chance to get word out about an up-and-coming women's fly fishing group on its way to the Crossroads.

Women's fly fishing is the fastest-growing sport in the United States, she said, but is fairly new to the area. By 11 a.m., Phillips' clipboard already boasted names of 10 Crossroads women who were interested in joining.

"I think this will be great," she said. "It's not for everybody - some women don't want anything to do with any kind of fishing - but I think it's great that we can get something like this going."

Madison and Makinzie Pahmiyer, 5-year-old twins in matching pink-and-white outfits, ventured out Saturday with mom and dad, Erin and Ryan Pahmiyer.

The sisterly duo, who had never before been to the show, tried their hands at fishing, rode ponies and made a visit to the petting zoo. It was the inflatable bounce house, however, that got rave reviews.

"That was their favorite part," Erin Pahmiyer said with a laugh. "It's something they can do pretty much any time, but it's what they liked the most."

As for Jacob, he said he was proud of his newfound bow and arrow skills - he'd never shot before - but said it wasn't the day's first victory.

The uniform-clad kiddo started the morning on the basketball court where his team, the Nets, took home a win.

"I got three baskets," he said with a shy smile. "It was good."

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