The Portland Sportsman's Expo was bigger than ever, and it's just impossible to soak everything in and do it all during the 5 day event. The sheer size of the event brings in people from every avenue of the outdoor industry and is a great meeting spot to put faces to names, and shake hands with people I've networked with over the past year. I got to see a lot of new, innovative products up close and personal for the first time, and put a few in my bag to try out and review. I also found some of my favorite products in new styles and colors, as well as some killer deals on dependable gear.
However, looking beyond the PDX expo, I've got a few more on my radar that are a little more personal events that grant show-goers the opportunity to slow down and absorb a little more from each vendor and presenter. A downfall to the larger shows and events is that it's easy to get pulled away and difficult to focus your full attention on any given person or thing at any given time.
The Willamette Sportsman Show is Saturday February 18th from 9am to 6pm and Sunday the 19th from 9am to 4pm at the Linn County Expo Center in Albany, Oregon.
Even though Scott Haugen gave multiple presentations during the Portland Expo, I seemed to find an excuse to miss all of them while attending CCA events, Warmwater Seminars, and simply losing track of time networking with industry professionals and catching up with people I hadn't seen in a while.
The Willamette Sportsman Show is planning on having 6,000+ attendance this year. Admission is $6 (Kids under 12 are FREE!), parking is free, and Best Western is offering discounted show rates as well. Concessions will be available on-site, but there are also convenient dining opportunities near the expo center. The affordability of the event (as well as the location) offer a unique opportunity for those who couldn't make it to the Portland Expo to see some of the seminars and gear they may not have had a chance to see.
Beyond the Willamette Sportsman show, I'm also looking forward to the Saltwater Sportsman's Show in Salem, Oregon on February 25th and 26th, as well as returning to Albany for the Northwest Fly Tyer and Fly Fishing Expo on March 10th and 11th. The two events cater towards a more specific audience with less of the distractions of the larger shows. Hope everyone can make it!