After a long and uncomfortable flight via London we eventually arrived in Madrid and at our hotel. We settled in and headed to the site of Cinegetica 2016 the Spanish hunting show.
Setting up went well and we where happy that all was in order. For lack of knowledge we spent the evening at an Irish pub and had a real great experience for our first evening. The weather was a lot colder that SA has been the last two years and this was a great change from being baking hot to very cool.
Day one and the nerves were a bit on edge. We arrived and met our translator and friend Vanessa she was a real asset and a great person to be around and helped us so very much. As the day started we had many inquiries and were chatting to many old and new clients. An elderly man approached me during the coarse of the afternoon and he asked if I was a guide in my home country which I answered yes to. I also commented that he was very fluent in English, which was a welcome change. He said he had hunted lots of East Africa and that he was glad to meet me, I was pleasantly surprised. He was very busy in the stand next to ours and we didn’t really see what he was doing. As the after noon wore on we exchanges jokes and short chats. As the show started to slow right down, Toni as he introduced himself came to our stand and we started to chat and he said that he has been hunting for 62 years and had hunted all over Africa before travel had become so restricted and when there were much less worries traveling. He also mentioned that until a resent incident he ad been hunting until 3 years prior.
At this point he had all of my attention and I had about a million questions especially after he mentioned he had shot in the region of 1413 elephants of which 42 where over the magic 100 pound mark. The Buffalo number was around 2940 Lion 390 and 127 Black rhino.
So then the next question that was busting to get out was Caliber and double verses bolt and Toni said that he was a big fan of the 416 Rigby bolt shooting 400gr Bullets and so the conversation started covering all sorts of fields and aspects of hunting.
He then mentioned his friend Sakami Salmon I then mentioned he was the head ranger from Uganda and I was blown away, he knows all the greats and has spend years hunting and in the field with them.
He is himself an absolute legend and the last of the real Great White Hunters from and era gone by in places that where wilder then they are today.
After a covering all the calibers and everything we could fit in before the lights were turned off and we had to leave. I met up with the rest of the outfitters from South Africa and we headed of to dinner and a few “gin e lemons” which was gin and lemon Fanta but it was real good and the bar tenders made a big deal of the way they made them.
The second day was on top of us and we where ready at the show and ready to meet new faces and give information out about hunting in SA and Zim. Toni arrived and greeted us to a good morning and a joke or two we then chatted through out the day and were so enthralled in the chatter I need to be called back to help clients every now and then. We discussed every possible thing that came to my mind in the brief opportunities we had. I was truly astonished at every single fact and how he could recollect all the exact details I asked about. He also mentioned he has written lots of books on calibers and hunting and that he was here with his wonderful wife and their Massi school project. He was also there to sign books for passionate customers like me, and boy did he sign books, more than I could count. I met lots of people while chatting to Toni and many of his old clients and they were truly a diverse and interesting bunch.
So now I have described my infatuation with the stories of old and the chance to meet someone that was involved in these incredible times. In short Toni Sanchez Arino and I really had a great time together and I am honored to call him my friend. I bought his latest book and he signed it for me while he was in our booth chatting about hunting.
He was passing the information from the “old days” of hunting to the Ph.’s and outfitters of today or as Toni said the new generation of hunters.
On the final day of the show he handed me a priceless gift it is a picture of him and a giant elephant he shot signed to me personally.
It is a wonderful and amazing gift. We said our goodbyes after the show and hoped that the next time we met it would be under an African sun with a high blue sky somewhere in the middle of nowhere.
Toni thank you for you time and I look forward to seeing you again soon.
I dedicate this to Toni Sanchez Arino a True African legend and great person