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(Tom Wharton | The Salt Lake Tribune) Jack Fringer of Payson shows off live Peregrine Falcon from Great Basin Wildlife Reserve at the International Sportsmen's Exposition in Sandy.
Outdoor expo gives enthusiasts dreams of spring
Sandy » Event offers hunting trips, cool gear and places for kids to play.
First Published Mar 14 2014 04:16 pm • Last Updated Mar 15 2014 08:23 am

Sandy • With the temperatures outside in the 60s and the trees in the South Towne Expo Center parking lot on the verge of blooming, there was little wonder why finding a spot among big trucks and SUVs to get into the annual International Sportsmen’s Exposition consumer trade show proved difficult.

Utahns love the outdoors.

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And this sprawling show with 400 vendors featuring dream hunting trips, ATVs, boats, campers, trucks and hundreds of gadgets seems to satisfy the thirst to get outside as the spring camping season approaches.

The show is more than just vendors, though. It is a place where a kid can catch a first fish at an artificial pond or climb to the top of the Expo Center ceiling on a scary-looking wall. There is a youth fair featuring all sorts of things for kids to learn, a dog-training pond, a place for fly casters to compete and an area for clinics on fishing, hunting and outdoor cooking.

Scott Jardine of Pleasant Grove took pictures of his 6-year-old daughter Emmy climbing to the top of the very tall climbing wall.

"I like the kids stuff," he said. "We come for the kids fishing pond and the rock climbing."

John Kirk, one of the organizers of the show which is also held in Sacramento, Phoenix and Denver, said he especially enjoys the Utah event because the clientele is younger.

"This is a younger, more family-oriented show," he said. "Our three other shows are attended by older people. This gives us hope that kids will go outdoors."

Kirk said he also likes the show because Utah companies making outdoor products such as King’s Camouflage, GoalZero, Geigerring Guardian Hydration Pack, Camp Chef and Velocity Fishing Gear love to show off their products.

Vendors such as Doug Huntley, who sells the Ultimate Survival Bottle capable of filtering 100 gallons of water, return year after year as well.

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"It’s been great," said Huntley, who was nervously awaiting a new shipment of product because he was running low. "I am going to run out of product. I’ve been coming for 15 years. What I like about it is it is consistent."

The variety of products and services offered is mind-boggling at times. This is a place where you can learn where to rent boats, book an African hunting trip, have your photo taken with a live bear cub, buy a Tuff Shed outhouse, purchase a stun gun or see a live peregrine falcon.

Hours for the show are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Ticket prices for adults are $12 at the door, though discounts, tickets and information are available at www.sportsexpos.com.


Twitter: @tribtomwharton

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