By Dale Machesic
The winter sports shows are gearing up and getting ready for us to show up and shell out for the latest in the best and latest equipment and adventures available anywhere. If you go to any of these annual shows you know it doesn’t matter if you’re into fishing, hunting, boating, hiking, biking or picking cranberries with your feet because you’ll find everything you need and the places to do it at the winter sportsmen’s shows.
In two weeks the Greater Philadelphia show that was held at the Fort Washington Expo Center will be opening it’s doors at the Reading Expo Center. The show moved because the Fort Washington facility has a closed it’s doors for good. But the show producers know the popularity of this suburban event has been too strong to shut it down.
Every year tens of thousands of outdoors enthusiasts attend these shows. The really big show coming up in February at the Harrisburg Farm Show Arena is the biggest outdoors event of this kind in the entire eastern United States. That’s not very hard to imagine when you consider that just in the hunting and fishing categories alone Pennsylvania has the most licensed participants in the country.
The Reading Show will have many features, just like the Ft. Washington event did, that are fun for the whole family. You’ll just have to drive a little further to enjoy it.
If you went to last year’s show on Friday or Saturday you know what the buzz was throughout the building. The Motor City Madman was the featured guest of the show. Ted Nugent, or Uncle Ted as he’s known to millions, is coming back again this year and promises to have plenty to say. I’ll never forget Nugent’s speech on the stage last year. Or his amazing guitar talents either.
Nugent’s known around the world. He started his considerable rock ‘n roll career in the 60’s playing with the likes of Jimmy Hendrix and Jerry Garcia and eventually becoming the main attraction at venues like the Spectrum. If you ever run into me ask me to tell you about the time Ted shared with me that he and Hendrix jammed in New York City when Nugent was still a “kid from Michigan that could play a hell of a guitar”.
Nugent has sold over 30 million albums but to the sporting community he’s not as well know for rockin’ as he is for talkin’.
Nugent’s outspoken approach to all things hunting has made him a legend to many. Some may feel differently about him because he refuses to mince his words. He speaks his mind. He does so politely, eloquently and always backed up with what seems like a veritable mental encyclopedia of facts. If you agree with him he’ll say thank you. If you don’t, he’s likely to say something that I can’t write in this family newspaper. But he’ll say it with a smile.
He has written three NY Times best sellers on the subject of hunting and the great outdoors. Books with politically correct titles like ‘Kill IT and Grill It’. He has the highest rated reality shows on both the real outdoor channel and the one we get around here.
He has been on the Board of Directors of the National Rifle Association for years and if you haven’t heard him on the subject of hunting and the rights of hunters, you don’t know what you’re missing.
I’ll be spending the day with Nugent again this year at the new Reading Show. I enjoyed my day with Nugent so much at last year’s show that when ‘Ted’s people’ hollered again, I said I’ll be there with bells on.
Nugent will be there both Friday and Saturday and if you’re planning on the trip, don’t miss his presentation. Besides keeping the audience last year on the edge of their seats and receiving a standing ovation after his speech and incredible rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, Uncle Ted signed autographs until they shut out the lights.
The Reading show also features everything from kids fishing instruction and contests, a scuba pool where you can learn the basics (bring your bathing suit), one of the world’s most renowned owned archers, Bryan Ferguson, will be dazzling the crowds with precision shooting and a collection of the biggest whitetails ever taken in this hemisphere.
The ongoing seminars cover all topics outdoors including surf and jetty fishing, whitetail techniques, deep sea fishing for all species, bass fishing in PA, safe boating, how to pick an outfitter, planning trips of all kinds, local expert fishing guide Chris Gatley will be on hand, monster shark fishing and how to cook what you catch.
One of the best features of any outdoors shows is the outfitters. You can wander along the aisles of guides and experts that will custom plan a trip that will fit your personal interests and budget. You can plan a family fishing trip in Canada, a family dude ranch experience out west, an extreme hunt on horseback, African safaris, or weekend adventures closer to home that are easy on any family’s pocketbook.
The Reading show opens its doors Thursday January 18th and runs through Sunday January 21st. Show hours are Thurs. and Fri 12 noon-9 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. and Sun. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. The Reading Expo Center is located at 2525 N. 12th Street in Reading. Take the PA Turnpike West to Exit 298 (Reading/Morgantown). Follow I-176 North to 422 West, exit onto Route 12. Take 11th Street exit, turn left at light, turn right at second light. Ticket prices are adults $10, kids 6-12 $5 and parking is free. You can learn much more about the show at: www.readingsportshow.com.
I’ll be the one with Ted. Say hello and I’ll introduce you.
Dale Machesic is a columnist for The Intelligencer. He can be reached at 215-345-3018 or via email at: email@example.com.