A Weekend Of Smiles At America’s Outdoor Fishing & Hunting Show

No matter where you looked this weekend you saw something consistent throughout the show. Regardless of age or gender, or what outdoor activity brought you to the show, or whether you were an exhibitor or attendee, you eventually ended up wearing one, if not many, of these. It didn’t matter the time of day, what you had on, what side of the table you were occupying or whether you were giving or appreciating a seminar. What was it that everyone had in common? Big, healthy, happy SMILES!

Saturday Morn at America's Outdoor ShowAs we approached the Douglas E. Stephens Convention Center on Saturday, it was clear we were going to be busy – a sizable crowd had assembled and were standing in line waiting for the doors to open. There were a number of families in the crowd, and before the day was done, a number of little fishermen went home with one of 300 cane poles that were being given away. How many of us started fishing with a cane pole, a bobber, a hook and a bunch of worms? Ah the good ol’ days….

Americas's Outdoor Show - Great LayoutThe layout of the show proved excellent for handling the crowds. The aisles were spacious, and the layout reduced, if not eliminated, bottlenecks. The organizational scheme was helpful. As this show grows and loses some of its superfluous vendors, the unique layout will become even more useful. By next year the remnants of the previous management’s flea market atmosphere should be gone. This will make way for even more high quality outdoor exhibitors and vendors.

Gary Talarico & Babe Winkelman

Gary Talarico & Babe Winkelman

The seminars were very well attended throughout the weekend. Babe Winkelman and Mike Iaconelli shared a wealth of knowledge and experience in their seminars. Ike even conducted a “closed door session” with the high school fishing teams on Sunday. Jason Reynolds of Fish-N-Fetch kept large crowds entertained as he educated them in the Hawg Tank area. Jason has a unique exhibit, a 4,000 gallon mobile aquarium stocked with fish, where he teaches fishing techniques and expert dog handling.

Jason Reynolds of Fetch-N-Fish

Jason Reynolds of Fetch-N-Fish

Trout Pond - America's Outdoor ShowThe archery ranges and exhibitors were very active throughout the weekend, as was the trout pond and the numerous children’s activities. Opportunities to interact with wildlife and stewards of our great outdoors were everywhere. Among the things offered – you could see an owl or a hawk up close, handle a huge albino boa constrictor, or talk with numerous officials and experts. You could learn to tie flies, as well as how to cast them. The airsoft range was a big hit and was always busy. There was no way you could be bored at this show….unless you visited the boar exhibit. 🙂

We found ourselves uncontrollably drawn to the Grandt Industries booth, where vast numbers of their amazing, custom, American-made fishing rods were on display. The owner, Jim Grandt, and his crew of experts, were on hand to answer questions about their amazing fishing rods. This was also where fishing pro Rick LaPoint was hanging out when he wasn’t helping folks learn about the latest electronics.

Big Game - America's Outdoor ShowThere were a number of resorts and outfitters on hand, providing great info and helping folks plan memorable hunting, fishing and outdoor vacations. Whether you wanted to hunt & fish in Canada or right here at home, some of the finest guides and camps on both sides of the border were at the show. Maybe you enjoy big game hunting, or always wanted to go on a safari, people like Jim Gangler of Gangler’s Lodge & Outposts were answering questions and helping people plan their trips.

Two Bears Trading Company

Two Bears Trading Company

Personal highlights of the show….

  • Aimee found the beaver mittens she’d been searching years for at Two Bears Trading Company.
  • Mike at BaxMax introduced me to their wonderful products, making enjoyment of the show with a herniated disk possible.
  • Gary Talarico, president of LureSecure, provided the entire Moline High School Bass Fishing Team with LureSecure Lure Wraps, thus solving the problem of fishing hooks in the hallways.
  • Watching Jim Sugarman, the man in charge of the show, taking time with vendors, exhibitors and show patrons, personally making sure everyone was having a good time.
  • Being present at the trout pond when a very young man caught a fish on his cane pole.

LureSecure Lure Wraps

LureSecure Lure Wraps - The Pro's Choice

And that’s really what this show was all about – spending time with family and friends, having a few laughs, and sharing the products, services, information, knowledge and expertise necessary to help create a lifetime of memories in the great outdoors.

If you missed this year’s show, don’t worry! Next year’s show is January 26-30 at the same location. If you’re an Exhibitor and you’d like to be part of the action, you might want to contact Jim Sugarman sooner than later, because next year’s show is going to be bigger and better than this year.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: