Up Close and Personal
Iíve been attending sports shows for roughly thirty years. Ten of those years, I was simply an enthusiast, interested in finding new places to fish, new species to fish for, and I also enjoyed test-casting rods, checking out the flies being tied, and learning new aspects of our sporting culture. The other twenty years have been spent as an exhibitor, albeit one who remains an enthusiast. I still walk the aisles when I can, still collect brochures and handouts, and still get up on the casting platform to try out new designs from the rod companies.
These days, Iíve winnowed my schedule down to two shows a year, the International Sportsmenís Exposition in Sacramento, which is held in early January, and late Februaryís Fly Fishing Show in Pleasanton. Each has its own particular feel and benefit. The Sacramento show combines a variety of field sports, including fly fishing, at one site. I find it a fascinating expo, and often my interests are tweaked in ways I hadnít anticipated. (Hunting wild boar is now on the bucket list.) Conversely, at the Pleasanton show, with its singular focus on fly fishing, I can see how our sport is evolving and immerse myself in its rich variety of pursuits. Both provide the hands-on, face-to-face experience that is unique to sport shows.
I suppose that working a booth at a sport show is similar to working in a retail store, although the most interesting difference is that when you speak to the person behind the counter at a sport show, you are likely to speak with someone who owns the business and who started it through a deep love for the sport. In essence, we are enthusiasts conversing with enthusiasts. Thatís surely one reason why I see so many smiles at these shows.
For myself, the most pleasant aspect of a sport show, the one I most look forward to, is that I get to meet the readers of this magazine. If youíre attending Sac or Pleasanton, please drop by the booth and say hello. A lot of you do so every year, and itís truly why I keep coming back.
See you in a few. . . .
Publisher and Editor