I took a few hours this afternoon to walk around the 2012 edition of the Washington Sportsmen’s Show.
Here are four things that caught my attention as I wandered among outfitter booths, demonstration tanks and manufacturer displays.
Get involved: Even as you look for a deal on a hunt or fishing rod, you can help out. A number of groups are on hand that do good work and could use your financial support. Among them is Outdoors For All, a group that takes special needs children on hunting trips. In their second year, the group is taking five kids on an all-expense paid trip. They’re in the Expo Hall. There’s also conservation groups, like Ducks Unlimited. Over the last 10 years, for every dollar raised in the state, $3 has come back for wetlands projects. That’s a good return. DU is in the Pavilion (second floor).
Check out the art: There was some impressive steel artwork by Eric Langliers in the Expo Hall, especially his steel fish. The painting and buffing gave them a realistic look. Dave Bartholtet was doing a watercolor as I walked by his Pavilion booth. Dan Rickards had some nice paintings on display in the Showplex building.
Meet the people who make your favorite gear: This is a great opportunity to talk with the people behind large operations like Worden’s Lures, Lamiglas and Mack’s Lures, or smaller operations like North Fork Custom Rods out of Chehalis.
Lots of big toys: You can’t deny that big things grab your attention and the show is no different. Among some of the big toys I saw on display in the Showplex were Woolridge Boats’ 23-foot Super Sport Offshore Pilothouse with twin 115 hp Yamaha motors. The show price is discounted to $118,187. South Hills RV Sales has a 2012 26TBUD Salem Northwest trailer on display near the gold entrance. It sleeps 10, and has a “master” bedroom. It was on sale for $18,988, marked dwon from $23,454.80. But the best toy was the 2002 Chevy 2500HD pickup truck being used to pull the State Department of Fish and Wildlife education trailer. The truck was confiscated as part of a convicted poacher’s penalties.
The event runs through Sunday at the Puyallup Fair and Events Center.
Here is a link to a preview story I wrote about the show and the Seattle Boat Show, which kicks off Friday.