I don’t know when the concept of winter “outdoor shows” was invented. This year one of the country’s largest shows, the Indianapolis Boat, Sport and Travel Show marked it’s 63rd incarnation so my quick math put it’s origin in the middle 1950s.
|SHOWS FEATURE PEOPLE FROM|
FAR OFF PLACES
Regardless of where or when, to a young kid from the country, barely into his teens and infected with a yearning for all things outdoors, it was better than a trip to Disneyland. Aisle after aisle of places to hunt, fish and travel opened before me, each booth was manned by men who lived in the North Woods and who caught strange and exotic fish. There were exhibits with mounted moose heads, northern pike as long as my leg, displays of tackle I didn’t know existed and could never afford.
Naturally, this was pre-Internet, pre-Outdoor Channel on TV, pre-anything other than a few outdoor magazines for outdoor destinations to advertise their wares and facilities. Some entrepreneur invited a few resort and lodge owners to one location and eventually a circuit of outdoor expositions had developed. Outfitters, guides and lodge owners lived a carnival-like existence spending their winter on the road - far from their moose and strange fish. They’d spend a few days in Minneapolis, then off to Milwaukee, Chicago, Cincinnati, Louisville and on across the region. It was expensive, but as the ad salesmen say, advertising doesn’t cost, it pays.
Soon after I started Brother Nature Fishing Adventures, I found myself on the other side. I built a display, purchased booth space and watched armies of outdoor enthusiasts, bored stiff with winter weather, walking the aisles, mostly looking, sometimes shopping, often stopping by just to talk for a while.
|I'LL BE CLOSE TO THE BEAR|
This weekend, March 11 and 12, I’ll be at the Hammond, Indiana Cabela’s Store for their Captain’s Weekend. Stop by my little display for a visit. We’ll talk fishing, hunting, old age pains or who know what. Hey, if you want to book a charter fishing trip, I’ll be glad to do that, as well.