After 49 years, you’d think the Red Deer Sportsman & Outdoor Adventure Show would have built up a substantial following.
But Jeff Chocholacek, who’s managed the Red Deer Fish & Game Association-organized show for the past decade, thinks the event isn’t drawing the people that it should.
“We have fantastic exhibitors and guest speakers,” said Chocholacek, noting that the three-day show — which this year runs Friday to Sunday — typically brings in 10,000 to 12,000 attendees.
With approximately 130 exhibits, and a broad range of information and entertainment offered, the Sportsman & Outdoor Adventure Show should attract many more people, he said. This is particularly true given that its theme covers more than just fishing and hunting.
“There’s lots of different stuff to see,” said Chocholacek. “There’s taxidermy, there’s scuba diving, there’s horseback riding.”
This year, attendees will be able to hear presentations by Jason Acorn and Calvin Buckler, whose hunting program The Bone Yard is broadcast on the Wild Television Network. Also speaking will be well-known guide Bentley Coben.
Other attractions will include Canadian Reptile Encounters and Medicine River Wildlife Centre, with survival demonstrations by Three Ravens Bushcraft and trials by Hot Diggity Dogs Agility Club also scheduled.
Revenues raised at the show support the Red Deer Fish & Game Association, said Chocholacek.
“That money all goes into the surrounding communities, whether it’s youth programs, whether it’s scholarships, whether it’s books donated to the library, whether it’s in our habitat land out by Pine Lake.”
Show hours at Westerner Park are 4 to 9 p.m. on Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children seven to 12, with Westerner parking fees in effect.
Chocholacek is already thinking ahead to 2016, when the Red Deer Sportsman & Outdoor Adventure Show will mark its 50th year.
“It is the longest-running outdoor show in Alberta,” he pointed out. “It’s been going longer than Calgary’s and Edmonton’s sportsman and boat shows.”
Additional information about this year’s event can be found online at www.reddeersportsmanshow.com.