For 27 years, O’Loughlin Trade Shows has presented The Sportsmen’s Show, and it’s quickly become the largest of its kind in Washington state.
The Sportsmen’s Show will be at the Washington State Fairgrounds Jan. 22-26 with more than 500 exhibitors and hundreds of educational seminars that teach participants about fishing, hunting, cooking and survival tactics.
“If it has to do with the outdoors, we have it,” said Bill O’Loughlin, the trade show manager.
Tom O’Loughlin, Bill’s grandfather, started the trade shows about 80 years ago.
“My grandfather was quite the showman,” Bill said.
Bill is now mentoring his nephew, a fourth-generation O’Loughlin.
Bill is always the first one to the Sportsmen’s Show, and he’s the last one to leave, right along with his brothers, he said.
“I was born and raised in the outdoors,” Bill said. “This is a celebration of the outdoors.”
More than 40,000 people are expected to visit the fairgrounds to peruse the exhibitors that sell outdoors-related products, from fishing gear, to hunting, kayaking, canoeing or even photo safaris in Africa.
“There are a number of tourism-activity groups, as well as wildlife art and clothing,” Bill said. “These shows are quite educational as well.
“We have hundreds of seminars being given every day on all kinds of topics,” he added. “If you’re interested in the best fishing techniques, we have a seminar.”
Demonstrations include a warm water tank 40 feet long full of bass. There also will be a trout pond for children 12 and younger.
“They can catch, keep or release up to two trout,” Bill said. “That feature is so popular that we have kids who caught their first trout now grown up and taking their kids to catch their first trout there.”
An indoor river full of salmon and steelhead will be built, and presenters will get in their waders to give presentations on techniques to catch salmon and steelhead, Bill said.
“One of the coolest things we have this year is cowboy fast draw,” Bill said. “The general public can come over, strap on a holster and be taught how to use a Colt 45 with wax bullets and shoot at a target about 15 feet away. The bullet hits the target, and it measures how fast you draw.”
While many will attend for the entertainment and education, others will look for a new RV or fishing boat, or some other outdoor vehicle.
“There are some screaming deals at the event,” Bill said. “There is a great selection of sport fishing boats that you can purchase, as well as RVs, 4WDs and ATVs.
Many schedule to pick it up and take it home from the fairgrounds, Bill said.
If you go
The Sportsmen’s Show will be held Jan. 22-26 at the Washington State Fairgrounds Showplex. Attendees can enter at the blue gate. Hours will be from noon to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $12 for adults; $5 for ages 6-16, and children 5 and younger get in free. A two-day pass can be purchased for $18. Tickets may be obtained online at www.thesportshows.com.Reporter Andrew Fickes can be reached at 253-552-7001 or by email at andrew. firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @herald_andrew.