Aiming to educate people on antique guns

Collecting has become more of an obsession for Fryburg’s Paul Dudgeon rather than just a hobby.

“It’s like smoking cigarettes,” Dudgeon said. “Once you start, you can’t stop.”

Some of Dudgeon’s collection of antique guns are on display as one of many displays at this year’s Buckeye Farm Antique Show being held this weekend at the Auglaize County Fair Grounds.

Dudgeon would not reveal the exact number of guns he has in his collection, but he said the number must be numerous if the display was just a sample of his collection.

Dudgeon said the determining factor to a rifle being a antique was if it was manufactured prior to 1898. In 1899, people invented smokeless powder, which was much more powerful and too strong for the older weapons to take. The price of an antique rifle ranges greatly depending on what a person wants.

“If you are looking for a higher quality, you pay around $7,000, Dudgeon said. “They start out out around $1,200.”

Dudgeon said he often doesn’t have the money for some of the higher ticketed items, so he often hunts for bargains.

“I like to watch for bargains and people that don’t know what they got,” Dudgeon said. “That is how I have got a lot of my collection.

Dudgeon said he has two or three “one-of-a-kinds” that are some of the more notable in his collection. The majority of them are Winchester and Marlin rifles. Or as he referred to it, the “cowboy” stuff.

Each gun came with an interesting story attached to it, and with one of the guns he gave in example.

“This one was used in the White River Massacre in Utah,” Dudgeon said.

The massacre was the last official Indian battle on United States territory. A Mennonite was put in control of a post, and outlawed horse racing.

Horse racing was popular with the Utes as they raced with the soldiers in the area, and a battle broke out because of the ban. A wagon was used to carry wounded soldier to be treated for wounds, and the rifle was left in the wagon. It was passed down through the family of the driver of the wagon before Dudgeon bought the weapon.

“There is a story like that behind most of these guns,” Dudgeon said.

The action continues today beginning at 9 a.m. with many events, including live music, a tractor rodeo, and a pickup and semitrailer pull among them. Some of the events Sunday include the antique tractor pull, the kiddie tractor pull, and an antique vehicle show.