Every year when I start hearing the radio ads for the Sportsmen's Show, I'm immediately transported back to being 8 years old and anxiously awaiting ads for the Iowa Sports Show at Vets Auditorium. As the oldest grandchild, I had the privilege of being grandpa's special guest at the annual Sports Show. It meant getting out of school early, McDonalds for dinner (back when McDonald's was a treat) and a whole evening with my grandfather wandering the aisles looking at the all of the new fishing products, checking out possible resorts for future trips, maybe watching a seminar and then settling in with pop corn for the stage show – the retrieving dogs, log rolling and an act from the HeeHaw TV show. I always came home tired with a bag as big as I was with all of the colorful, exciting brochures for exotic sounding places like Lake of the Woods, Lake of the Ozarks and Canada.

My grandfather was a farmer, but as he got older his fishing trips became his passion. He purchased an old motor home and all six of us grandchildren took memorable trips in "the Dog House." It might have just been an overnight to the lake for bullheads, or maybe a week at Lake of the Woods or Table Rock, but the memories made can't be priced. Now that we're all grown and have families of our own, we take to fishing trips to some of those places that seemed so far away and exotic in those sport show brochures of my youth. 

My own daughter has been going to the ice fishing show with her dad since she was a baby - she checks out the ice shacks and more often than not, is successful at the trout pond. Now that she's 8, maybe it's time for me to take her to the Sportshow and introduce her to those wonderful exotic places like the Lake of the Woods and Canada! I'm sure she'll love Twiggy the Waterskiing Squirrel, too!

The Sportsmen's Show is January 13-17 at the Rivercenter in St. Paul. Discount tickets are available at www.stpaulsportshow.com/. Take your child, collect those colorful brochures and plan a trip together and create some lifetime memories! 


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