Are you looking for the latest equipment for your outdoor activity? Perhaps you are in search of a great deal on someone’s gently used item? You could even be trying to find a “specialized something” that no store in your area has in stock. If you fall into any of those categories, or just fancy spending some time around like-minded people, you may just want to head to a sporting show.
Clearly in this day and age, men are definitely no longer the only people going afield. With so many programs aimed at bringing women into outdoor activities (such as the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation “Becoming an Outdoors-Woman” events) and activities like the “Archery in the Schools”, more people are getting involved in outdoor sports. Hunting, fishing, camping, bird watching, hiking, and foraging are all seeing increases in participants. Of course, there is no organization tracking that, but it certainly seems that more people are saying they are spending significant time outside.
Vendor items at a sporting show
Some of the shows have a title that names one primary activity; usually hunting or fishing are the most common single focus event names. But more often the shows cater to a wide range of activities. It might be called a “gun show” but you are just as likely to find camping equipment, food items, cutting tools, or trip outfitters as you are the stated items. Of course, the broader the range of activities, the potentially larger crowd might be drawn. Big crowds are great for vendors but can be problematic for the casual browser.
As someone who has attended more of these shows than I could count, I can state from experience that you never know what you might find. Often it can be some treasure that you have only read about, or maybe it is something that evokes the past for you, or gives you the opportunity to replace a worn-out piece of gear. Certainly, depending on the show, you could outfit the entire family for an outdoor activity and usually for less money than a specialty store, maybe even less than a “big box” store.
Outdoor activities are widely varied and so are the shows that cater to the participants. Sometimes the greatest fun is to just sit and watch people, or wander the grounds and carefully listen to some of the conversations. Engage with the vendors and find out what you can learn about an activity you already do, or one that you want to try. Plan to spend a few hours and up to a whole day. The greatest fun is in the experience.