Wheaton’s career took him all over the country, giving him perspective and passions not many others can claim to own
Each year ‘The Southern’ (as it is affectionately labeled) is held at Deep River Sporting Clays in Sanford, N.C. This gathering of all things side by side is a great opportunity to mingle with like-minded folks in the midst of more fine doubles than you are likely to find anywhere else.
The Southern attracts many dealers from around the country as well as representatives of manufacturers from around the world. I had the opportunity to speak with folks from all sides of the industry including collectors associations, gunsmiths, engravers, shooting instructors, destination travel, media, and more. Where else can you find such an assemblage of folks, the common thread of which is sharing the love and knowledge of fine guns?
From Remington engineer to all things Parker Shotguns
Art Wheaton has had a decades-long career in the firearms industry, and a lifelong passion for shotguns. Art worked for Remington, ‘Big Green,’ most of his life, beginning as a junior engineer. His career brought him across the country and allowed him access to the rarified air that Remington clout can offer. His time with Remington provides him with insight into the shooting sports industry. We touch on some of the advancements Art saw through his career and about the development of the venerable 870 shotgun.
Art now spends a great deal of time at the Parker Collectors tent, as he is a member of that association and the ‘Old Pats Society,’ folks completely dedicated to Parker Shotguns. It is very difficult to isolate the love of shooting, in particular upland shooting, and a passion for double guns. It seems those two things go hand and hand, which has been my personal experience. The Parker Collector’s dedication to those guns is only eclipsed by their willingness to educate a newcomer to the fold.
If you have a chance to attend the Southern Side by Side, you will not find a more welcoming, knowledgable, safe, and fun group of individuals to shoot with. I hope to see you there next year!
Anyone interested in the shooting life and Parker Shotguns should pick up a copy of Art’s book Grouse Country as it is a window into those things and so much more. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and highly recommend it.
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The Gun Room Podcast is presented by Upland Gun Company
Joel Penkala is an Upland Bird Hunter and outdoors enthusiast from New Jersey. His love of all things upland has led him to travel and hunt around the United States and fostered his affinity for double guns and bird dogs. He runs English Setters in his home covers chasing Woodcock, Grouse, and Pheasants.