Having fun ‘working’ at the Sacramento sportsmen’s show
Hey, I’m back! To be more precise, I’m back from the big, annual Sacramento International Sportsmen’s Exposition.
It was held at Cal-Expo on Jan. 12-16.
As has been routine for many years, I helped my longtime, close friend Mickey Daniels with his exhibitor’s booth in the Sportfishing and Boating Building.
He is the owner of Mickey’s Big Mack Charters of Carnelian Bay at North Lake Tahoe, Calif., and is recognized far and wide as the premier sportfishing guide at Lake Tahoe, specializing in catching Mackinaw (lake) trout.
Each year, Daniels has an exhibitor’s booth at the Sacramento Show in January and then at the San Mateo International Sportsmen’s Exposition in San Mateo, Calif., in February.
For many years, both Bob “Slick” McCulloch of Carson City and I have helped him “man” that booth in both cities.
To be more precise, “manning” his booth means the three of us spend the better part of each day at the show picking on each other, picking on selected individuals, visiting other booths and exhibits, networking with other exhibitors and generally doing just about anything except actually working.
This year, the first big storm of the winter caused some interesting changes in our schedule. We normally drive to Sacramento early on the first day of the show to set up the booth. However, the bad weather last week caused Daniels and McCulloch to decide to travel to Sacramento on Tuesday. That way they could set up the booth in time for the show opener at noon the following day.
I could not go with them due to conflicts with producing the Wednesday Outdoor Page for the Nevada Appeal and my Tuesday evening, live, one-hour television show on Channel 10.
So I told them that I would drive down on Wednesday in my little, bright-red, four-wheel drive pickup. And if it were storming on Donner Summit, no sweat, I had four-wheel drive. That sounded pretty simple and uncomplicated.
And it was, compared to their trip.
On Tuesday, they got soaking wet putting on and taking off tire chains in the midst of a very wet, blowing, miserable snowstorm. And it took them forever to creep over the summit in that storm.
On Wednesday, the road was clear and dry and I drove to Sacramento at speeds of 65-75 MPH. A big difference between my trip and their’s. Heck, my only worry was the CHP and the only patrol car I saw was going the other direction at a high rate of speed.
The three of us joined up at the booth at about 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday and then it was ‘fun”time!
For five days, we picked on each other, picked on selected individuals, visited other booths and exhibits, networked with many other exhibitors and generally did just about anything except actually working…as usual.
In fact, on several occasions, some of the other exhibitors actually expressed amazement to find one or more of us sitting in the booth. I think that they were jealous of our ability to have a good time.
Most interesting was the large number of friends who stopped by to visit with us.
They included these folks from Nevada: Dave Dunbar, Joy Evans, George Groth, Dave and Gloria Harjes, Linda Harp, Keith and Barbara Holland, Lou Luscomb, Scott Evelyn and Megan Matheus, Ron and Sue Saunders, Mike Schaefer, Neil and Debbie Sprott, Ed Walton and Del White of Carson City. Carol McClintock and Debbie Lang of Douglas County. Beverly Harry of Pyramid Lake. Tom and Martha Roberts of Fallon. In addition, Chanelle Martina formerly of Carson City and Peggy Bachman of Sacramento, Bart and Shirley Cranney of Walker, Mike Nielsen of South Lake Tahoe, Bill Sumner of Tahoe City and Ralph and Linda Klever of Nevada City, Calif. stopped to say hello.
This year, the Sacramento Show seemed to have more exhibitors and booths than in previous years, but it also appeared to have somewhat fewer attendees than last year.
However, I think that the combination of the big Martin Luther Day weekend, the NFL divisional playoffs, the first big snowstorm of the year for the skiers, snowboarders and snowmobilers and the concurrent San Francisco Sport and Boat Show undoubtedly all added up to have an influence on the attendance.
For those people who did attend, it was a great show.
If you were a fishermen, hunter or boater, that exposition had something for everyone and was well worth attending.
My personal highlights included:
– Watching McCulloch trying to decide on what boat he wanted to buy. When he first began looking for a new boat on Wednesday, he was checking out small boats in the $9,000 class. By the end of the show on Sunday afternoon, he had a serious quote for a very large, water skiing/fishing boat priced at $28,000. Talk about a quantum leap in size and price! He is hooked. The only questions remaining now are how big of a boat will he buy and how much it will finally cost.
– Talking to Marlin Coulombe from Great Bear and Great Slave Lakes in the Northwest Territories. Geez, I would dearly love to fish at either lake for a chance to catch a Mackinaw trout in the 50-70 pound class. Both lakes have a two-month season (July-August), the only time when they are both ice-free. An 8-day trip with Coulombe to either lake costs about $4,000, so I am busy marking tickets in the California Lotto.
– Watching the dog handlers put their hunting dogs through their paces. Those retrievers are unbelievable. I’ve watched other demonstrations, but you had to see those dogs to really appreciate how well someone can train a retriever to instantly respond to a command or whistle.
– Enjoying some of the best, piping-hot, freshly carved, roast beef sandwiches I have ever eaten. I had one each afternoon and they were delicious.
– Helping the folks in the Carson City Convention and Visitors Bureau/Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce booth hand out hundreds and hundreds of plastic litter bags. Those bags had “Carson City” or “Carson Valley” prominently printed on their sides. Then, later, no matter where you went at Cal-Expo, you saw Carson City or Carson Valley bags everywhere. Great advertisement for our area.
It was a great show and I returned home Sunday evening, tired but happy.
Now, I am looking forward to helping Daniels “man” his booth at San Mateo.
– Bet Your Favorite Pigeon
Bet your favorite pigeon that he can’t tell you how much I spent for new fishing lures at the Sacramento show.
If he says, “Don Q spent more than $70 buying new lures,” he could have been spying on me and you lose the bet.