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Sport show season kicks off with NRA's Great American Outdoor Show

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It’s that time of year again when a myriad of sports shows kick off, with the largest one being the long running Harrisburg show.

That show is now called the Great American Outdoor Show produced by the NRA since Reed Exhibitions lost their long-time contract because of their refusal to allow modern sporting rifles to be displayed at the show.

In its place, the NRA promises a show that will surpass any past shows and will run Feb. 1-9 at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg. In fact on-line ticket sales have already begun.

According to the outline of show seminars, entertainment and interactive events the NRA has planned, the show has the content to make it an all-encompassing event. And it will even feature an NRA Foundation Banquet celebrating freedom with a night of food, fun and firearms that sounds like it may be a mini SHOT (Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade) or SCI (Safari Club International) show. The banquet is intended to raise funds for local, state and national programs dedicated to promoting America’s shooting sports tradition.

Additional show events include game calling contests, daily 3D archery competitions, a new air gun range, fly-casting pond, archery tag and more. The show will feature over 100 seminars and demonstrations on hunting, fishing, dog training and trick shooting.

The shows’ Family Day (Feb. 2) will feature special family-oriented archery and air gun activities that prior shows never had. That, plus Friends of the NRA’s popular Wall of Guns game will be held in the main corridor throughout the show and offering winner’s a choice between more than 50 firearms. Plus, the NRA will put on several educational seminars on firearms safety and training.

As for entertainment, NRA Country has scheduled a concert by country singer Trace Adkins, who will perform during the final weekend.

For kids and families, NRA’s Family Fun Zone is totally different and will include various stations for camo face painting, Laser Shot shooting, suction cup archery, magnetic fishing, duck calling and appearances by Eddie Eagle. “The kids can compete to win prizes in many outdoor-themed events designed to peak their interest in the outdoor lifestyle,” said Jeff Poole, NRA’s Exhibits Managing Director.

With nearly 1,100 exhibitors, shooting manufacturer’s, outfitters, boats, RVs, camping, boating, fishing, hunting and archery exhibits, there will be a shooting sports section complete with a myriad of firearms for showgoers to peruse.

Here’s a sampling of some of the seminar speakers that will take center stage during the shows’ run.

Lee & Tiffany Lakosky, outdoor TV hosts, will discuss whitetail hunting; Chris Brackett puts on trick archery shooting exhibitions, Terri Mariner will tell you how to train your hunting dog; Jason Clark will bring live snakes and an alligator and discuss how he rescues them and how to avoid being bit; Josh Miller will describe how to train your dog to find shed antlers and much more.

Back this year after being the first major sponsor to bail out last year because of Reed’s edict, Cabela’s will once again be the Associate Sponsor for the show. Cabela’s also has events planned starting with Pro Staffers Ralph and Vicki Cianciarulo, Gerry Rightmyer, Chad Schearer and Mike Jenkins meeting and greeting show patrons. Attendees who stop by Cabela’s booth (#601) will receive special discount coupons to use on their next purchase at Cabela’s Hamburg store. And on Jan. 26, Cabela’s will host three seminars. At 10 a.m. How to Choose the Right Outfitter, followed at 12 p.m. with Preparing for your Next Big Game Hunt and at 2 p.m., Preparing for a Hunt in South Africa.

Advanced online ticket sales can be purchased by going to www.GreatAmericanOutdoorShow.org. Ticket prices are adults, $12; Children 6-12, $6; Seniors, 65 and older, $10; 2-Day passes are $20; and Group Passes for 10 or more are $10.

THE GREATER PHILADELPHIA OUTDOOR SPORTSHOW

On a smaller scale, the Philly Outdoor show, as it has become known, will kick off Feb. 13-16 at the Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA.

Fishing is a big draw at this show and Tod Alberto, Show Director says major tackle makers will be there. He lists Shimano, Daiwa, Quantum, St. Croix, Okuma, Temple Fork Outfitters, G. Loomis and more will be on hand to show and demonstrate their latest tackle, gear and services, many of which are only shown at sportsman’s shows not at big box stores or catalogues.

A faux marina filled with boats from bass to saltwater to kayaks to pontoons will be on display. And next to them, patrons can check out the latest RVs and ATVs.

There will be seminars and demonstrations put on by experts in their field such as deer hunters Roger Raglin, Lane Benoit, CJ Winland and Pete Fiduccia who will talk whitetails while Lou Consoli and Brian Immerkus will talk fishing be it fresh or saltwater.

Kids and adults will enjoy Timber Tina’s World Champion Lumberjills who will perform axe throwing, logrolling and sawing competitions.

Dog lovers can watch “top dogs” do their stuff in gun dog retriever demos and birders will delight in raptors in flight presentations by Baywing Falconry.

Admission is $12 adults, $3 for children 5-11 (cash only) while children under 5 are free. And on Sunday, Family Day, children under 11 are free when accompanied by a paying adult.

Advance tickets may be purchased online at www.sportshows.com. Show hours are Feb. 13 from noon to 8 p.m.; Feb. 14, noon to 8 p.m.; Feb. 15, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Feb. 17, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

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