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Idaho Sportsman Show helps local businesses connect people with the outdoors

Posted at 10:42 PM, Mar 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-06 13:58:51-05

GARDEN CITY, Idaho — The Idaho Sportsman Show at Expo Idaho features gear, guides, demonstrations, and new innovative products for people who recreate in the outdoors.

The four-day show runs through Sunday and costs $7 for adults, $6 for senior citizens, and children 12 and under get in free. It's open until 9:00 p.m. on Saturday and from 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Saturday will feature a kid's archery competition from 12:00-4:00 p.m., a kid's elk call competition, retriever demos, and Idaho Fish and Game seminars.

Slayer Calls out of Eagle

But more than anything, this event connects local businesses to consumers who love to hunt and fish.

"Yeah I think it is a great show, especially at the Expo," said Nathan Guy who owns Faith Outdoors in Nampa. "I’ve talked to all the vendors out here and we all get along; we are all here for the same reason: to promote the outdoor industry."

Ho T. Pham with Real Fish Bait

The event features so many local businesses from Slayer Calls in Eagle to Real Fish Bait in Meridian which makes custom swimbaits. Kryptek has a sale on their camouflage and Faith Outdoors came together with a few other businesses to get a booth for the first time.

"So we are a local gun shop in a strip mall and we are next to Ryan with Idaho Rod and Reel and we have Matt with BGW Gunsmithing Cerakote and Engraving," said Guy. "We all pulled together and got one giant booth to promote all of our stores together."

The show features toys and guides like Kilgore Adventures out of Riggins who can take you on the jet boat ride of your life.

We also saw Riggins's favorite son Leighton Vander Esch's boat designed by Rocky Mountain Jet Boat out of Caldwell with custom fabricated decking from SeaDek of Idaho.

Leighton Vander Esch's boat

"People really don’t know that SeaDek is in Idaho," said Gary Johnson of SeaDek. "We digitally pattern it right here in Idaho. We cut everything on-site right here in Idaho with full customization."

The Idaho Sportsman Show also brings innovative businesses that develop new products that can't be found in the big box stores.

Derek Fergus explaining his product to me

D. Fergus made the first rugged maps designed to be indestructible out in the elements, but our Steve Dent was more fascinated with the Oregon company's newest creation: a decoy that attaches to the front of a bow. It is focused on body posture, and according to the video they were showing, it allows a hunter to walk up to a herd of animals and they will think you are part of the herd.

Decoy that attaches to a bow

"Basically every time we deployed the decoy we just walked up to them and that is crazy for me to say after 32 years of bow hunting, I never thought posture matters that much; but it is everything," said Derek Fergus.

So if you need some gear or you are just looking for ideas, the Idaho Sportsman Show is worth the price of admission. The line on Friday night made that perfectly clear.

The line before the show opened on Friday night