Doomsday preppers get rare chance to peruse end-of-the-world wares at RIR expo this weekend

by | Mar 22, 2017 | COMMUNITY NEWS

There are people who joke about disaster – buying twinkies in bulk and preparing for a move to Canada for any number of reasons—and then there are “doomsday preppers,” also known as survivalists.

These are the people who are dead serious about being prepared for the end of the world, and that means being well-stocked in all the essentials, from bothy bags (breathable, waterproof trash bag-like emergency shelters available in a range of sizes, so your friends and family don’t have to die in the hellfire of apocalypse while you watch helplessly from your bag) to water purification kits.

There’s no hard figure on how many survivalists there are in the U.S., but a google search for “prepper tips” pulls up about 669,000 result, and there are countless blogs and youtube channels devoted to the survivalist community.

Now of course, the collapse of civilization is not just around the corner… right? No. Let’s just pretend, for the lulz, that it is. Where can you buy all this equipment in a space that isn’t online, so you can compare and contrast different thermo-blankets before you buy? You have that exact opportunity this weekend, March 25 to 26, when R.K. Prepper Shows will come to Richmond for the first time for their Greater Richmond Survival Expo, held at the Richmond International Raceway Complex.

R.K. Prepper Shows parent company, R.K. Shows, identifies their organization as one of the largest Gun and Knife Show promoters in the United States on their website but R.K. Shows representative Joyce Kehrli emphasised that this weekend’s visit to the raceway complex will have a different purpose, with no gun sales.

“Firearms are not part of this expo…the focus here is green living and how to be prepared if disaster strikes,” said Kehrli via email. “Attendees will find a wide variety of products at this show from solar, first aid, water purification, long term food storage, we also have hourly seminars on a variety of topics.”

Even if the only thing you consider a survival essential is lip balm, the R.K. Prepper Shows “Prepper Lifestyle page” emphasizes that this show isn’t just for doomsday believers.

“There is something for everyone at a prepper expo for the avid outdoorsman, hunting enthusiast, homesteader, vegetable gardener, or even people who just want to learn more about renewable energy sources,” R.K. Show’s Prepper Lifestyle page explains. “While hardcore preppers are focused on all aspects of survival and living a minimalist lifestyle that excludes the need to obtain food and resources through mainstream suppliers, many people dabble in a couple of aspects that make up a prepper lifestyle.”

The event will be full of vendors who will be thrilled to provide details and demos for all their products, so what is there to lose? Nothing. Nothing to lose, a whole room of freeze-dried ice cream to gain.

Sneering at preppers who dare to ask “what if” will only get you so far, and that won’t be far at all if you find yourself in the middle of nuclear winter without a mitten to your name. As they say, “if ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ were candy and nuts, we’d all have a wonderful doomsday… because candy and nuts have amazing shelf lives.”

Top image via R.K. Peppers Facebook

Gabriella Lacombe

Gabriella Lacombe




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