Anderson: Carrying on without his wife, Loral I, Chuck Delaney continues Game Fair

·2 min read

Eighty-eight years of age and working as hard as ever, Chuck Delaney is eagerly anticipating the opening of Game Fair on Friday for a six-day run over two long weekends, Aug. 12-14 and 19-21.

In showbiz for more than six decades, Chuck is the owner and promoter of Game Fair, an outdoor festival now in its 41st year on the grounds of his Armstrong Ranch Kennels in Anoka, or, more specifically, Ramsey.

That Game Fair is being held at all this year is testament to Chuck's twin desires to honor commitments to the show's exhibitors, and to greet again the thousands of outdoors enthusiasts who consider the gala a harbinger of autumn.

He could as easily have canceled the show, and there were times after the death last September of his wife, Loral I, that he considered it.

In love since they met in 1960 at a Chicago outdoors show that Chuck was promoting, the two were inseparable until she died of breast cancer at age 83.

They hunted together, often with a dozen dogs in tow. Shooting competitive trap, they traveled the world together — they were husband and wife national champs four times. And for nearly 62 years they lived together in the house on Armstrong Ranch in which Loral I was born.

"I'm the lucky one," Chuck would say.

Few would disagree.

Growing up on the ranch, site of her parents' hunting preserve, kennel and mink and fox farm, Loral I as a young girl learned to shoot and train Labrador retrievers. She headlined her first dog act at the Northwest Sportshow in Minneapolis at age 5, and throughout her teens and for years thereafter she traveled with her dogs from Madison Square Garden to Los Angeles, putting on performances that, as one reviewer said, "brought down the house."

An animal whisperer of sorts, Loral I once trained a black bear, a Chesapeake Bay retriever and a golden retriever to ride a surfboard with her, pulled by a boat.

She gained even more acclaim, worldwide, as a trapshooter.

Named to every All-American trapshooting team except one from 1966 to '81, Loral I also won the Women's World Flyer Championships four times and shot on the U.S. women's trapshooting team before women's trap was included in the Olympics.