Join Date: May 2002
Location: GGACC to the Aleutians
ISE Show in Salt Lake City, Utah
Yesterday I attended the ISE (International Sportsmen's Exhibition) show in SLC, with family including four grandchildren ages 4 - 9. The event was jam packed with paying attendees and vendors, educational exhibits and (a guess) 15+ food vendors. It took more than 20 minutes to find a parking space.
How is it possible for four "electric energy" grandkids to spend four hours at such an event without getting bored? Why is this ISE in SLC so vital while ISE in San Mateo (near San Francisco), California, is a poorly attended, near-death event? Here are my observations:
- 10% of Utahns identify as hunters, vs. 1% in California. But Utah has a total population of of 2.8 million, while the San Francisco area alone has 7.4 million. This show was hunted oriented, but had more than a dozen fishing trip vendors, from Baja to Alaska.
- There was a quality food vendor for every taste, and many were located down the center of the arena--a terrific idea. From snow-cones to Dutch oven prepared meals, the choices seemed endless. At San Mateo, the same old hot-dog fare was offered.
- Educational promotions for kids: Each youngster entering the show was given a "passport" to be stamped as they visited an educational booth, such as fly tying, raptor education (owl and eagle in the booth), gun safety, boating safety, proper behavior in bear country, recognizing predators and the food chain, how to observe things in the wild, a cast of a dinosaur foot print the kids could put their own foot into. My grandkids targeted these events and proudly collected stamps in their passports. There was a stream with fish (I think) for kids to catch. The line was so long we were unable to see well. There were 12 squares to be 'stamped' which entitled the holder to a prize, and there were many more than 12 exhibits offering stamps.
- There are many children in Utah, and with kid-friendly exhibits, the whole family attends.
- Climbing wall
- Jumping dogs draw a crowd, and my grandsons got as close to the pool as possible trying to get splashed.
- My granddaughter ties flies and will not let her 6-year old twin brothers touch her tying gear, which builds their desire to learn. Here the boys tied their own fly and proudly carried it all day.
- Good attendance brings lots of vendors.
- Great exhibits for hunters.
OK, so how was it for fly fishers? It was OK for lodges and guiding, but was poor for fly fishing tackle-tarts, to steal a phrase. I saw no big name fly fishing company there. There was a good fly casting pool and an accuracy event was continuously held. One of the judges was Floyd Dean, an MCI from GGACC. It looked like 30-40 people had "tested" according to a posted score sheet for the accuracy test. There was no encouragement of new casters. I saw no fly fishing club booth.