As a teenager, Darwin Boedeker got a firsthand look at the gun show business while helping out at shows to make extra money. When Boedeker’s father passed away during his junior year of high school, he decided to fulfill his father’s dream of owning his own gun show business.

Like any business owner, Boedeker faced adversity from the beginning. When he approached the owner of the gun show who he had worked for about starting his own show, he was promptly fired. Gathering up the knowledge and connections he had made over the years, Boedeker staged his first show in 2001.

The challenges continued as Boedeker reached out to vendors and expected to have around 85 to 95 of them at the show. The day of the show, the majority of them called out of the show due to the owner of the rival gun show persuading them not to.

Despite all of these challenges, Boedeker persisted, and now runs the highly successful Texas Gun Shows.

“At the end of the first show when I counted the money that I brought in, I had exactly $1,935. When I got my bill from the building, the bill that I owed was $1,935, and my father was born in 1935,” Boedeker said. “I learned you're going to have more failures than successes. All it did was light a fire like nothing else, and 23 years later, I'm still doing it, and now we have shows that have 800 to 850 tables.”

Texas Gun Shows is the only show left in the state where the price of admission gets you in both days.

Upcoming shows include:
  • May 11-12, Denton Convention Center, 3100 Town Center Trail, Denton
  • May 31-June 2, Azafar Shrine Auditorium, 901 N. Loop 1604 W., San Antonio
  • June 21-23, Gaylord Texan, 501 Gaylord Trail, Grapevine
  • June 29-30, Frisco Conference Center, 7600 John Q Hammons Drive, Frisco
  • Aug. 2-4, Azafar Shrine Auditorium, 901 N. Loop 1604 W., San Antonio
  • Aug. 10-11, Fort Bend County Epicenter, 28505 Southwest Freeway, Rosenberg
  • Aug. 24-25, San Marcos Conference Center, 1001 E. McCarty Lane, San Marcos
Boedeker said the show May 11-12 is special because this is the first year it will be themed around Mother’s Day. All moms will receive free admission to the show and there will also be extra vendors, such as jewelry vendors.

For new visitors to gun shows, Boedeker said that many of the vendors’ top priority is educating those who are unfamiliar with guns and how they work.

“Everybody there wants to see people that are comfortable around [guns] and confident with them,” Boedeker said. “They want to show what they're used for and how to use them. It's very educational.”

Texas Gun Shows also offers a VIP membership for $24.95 a month. Included in the membership is:
  • admission to any Texas Gun Shows location
  • free parking at all shows
  • entry to show 30 minutes earlier than general public
  • automatic entry to gun raffles at every show
  • discounts with participating vendors in show
  • access to VIP member area at select shows
To learn more about a Texas Gun Show near you, visit the website or call 210-844-9599.

The above story was produced by Community Impact's Senior Multi Platform Journalist Sierra Rozen with information solely provided by the local business as part of its "sponsored content" purchase through our advertising team.