The popular Pacific Northwest Sportsmen’s Show will be held again this year, albeit with some changes, and with a later date.
This year the show will combine with the annual Portland Boat Show and will run through Sunday at the Portland Expo Center.
However, there will be some significant changes to the show, with concessions forced by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The fact that the show is being held at all is quite an accomplishment. The pandemic has shuttered many other shows, and some of those may never come back. However, the Central Oregon Sportsman’s Show in Redmond, Ore., was recently held and considered a success.
“We just got through with the Central Oregon show, which was the first outdoors show produced in the region,” said Trey Carskadon of O’Loughlin Trade Shows. “Having gone through what we went through with it we now have some idea of what to expect (in Portland).”
That show was held with a reduced capacity, a mask requirement, and other steps meant to keep the show from becoming a COVID spreader event. Carskadon reported that the public respected the mask requirement, and were very good at keeping socially distanced.
“The tools we had in place … worked,” he added.
The changes to the Portland show to protect the public and vendors include a mask requirement, and the booths will be separated by plastic shields. The aisles have been widened, there will be fewer seminars, and some popular events that were crowded will not be held this year.
One of the most helpful changes is a limited-entry system. All tickets must be bought online, and will be time-slot tickets for 4-hour periods. There will be two time slots per day, except on Saturday, when there will be three time slots.
Data has also shown that most showgoers rarely spend more than four hours at the show, and Carskadon is quick to point out that no one will be asked to leave the show if they overstay the time.
They are allowing up to 3,500 people per time slot, which will be well below the capacity limits set on the event by the state of Oregon.
Tickets cost $15 for adults and $5 for those younger than 16. Parking permits are $12 and available online.
The loss of some popular attractions will be one down side. For instance, the kid’s trout pond will not be held this year. The attraction was popular and often very crowded, and organizers were unable to figure out a way to pull it off while keeping the kids and parents safe.
“Anything that created any kind of crowding, we will not be having them this year,” said Carskadon.
The attendance limits may have an upside, especially for people that have found the event too crowded in past years. At the Redmond show there was more room, fewer people, and no crowding.
“If people had frustration with the crowding at past shows, we are just not going to have that this year,” Carskadon said.
Show attendees this year will find a plethora of boats and boat exhibitors, plenty of new products, and more hunting-related exhibitions. Those will include question and answer sessions with Randy Newburg of the Fresh Tracks television and YouTube show. Newburg is a public lands advocate and hunts only public lands for big game. The personable hunter loves to walk the floors and talk with the public, answering questions instead of giving seminars.
Portland fishing guide Bob Rees will be an exhibitor at the show this year, and is looking forward to a relaxed atmosphere where he can take the time to talk with people and promote his online fishing update and forecast website, The Guides Forecast.
“We just want to make folks aware that there are these resources that will help people stay safe on the water,” Rees said. “From bar conditions to predicting the weather, basically the bevy of knowledge that The Guides Forecast has collated and disseminated over the years, we want to make that available to people to help them catch more fish.”
Rees pointed to the increased interest in fishing as a result of the pandemic as an incentive to do the show this year. He hopes to help the newcomers learn how to be better fishermen.
“People are really excited to recreate this year after being cooped up for so long because of the pandemic, and people want to learn how to do these things,” Rees said. “This sportsman’s show is going to be an opportunity to do just that.”
“I hope people understand that we’ve given up profits and revenues to make this a good show,” Carskadon said. “It’s not going to be the same show as we’ve had in other years, but we are so grateful to all these companies that hung in there. We’ll be ready for everybody, and are looking forward to seeing them.”
For more information, as well as tickets, parking information, seminars and vendors, visit www.thesportshows.com/shows/pacific-northwest/show-information/