Good turnout for revised Deer Classic, but congestion may force move

  • Article by: DOUG SMITH
  • Updated: March 13, 2013 - 12:13 AM

About 8,500 whitetail enthusiasts attended the revised Minnesota Deer Classic, held over the weekend at the National Sports Center (NSC) in Blaine.

“We were hoping for 8,000 to 9,000 people, so we’re very happy with that,’’ said Barclay Kruse, chief communications officer. He said attendance was up from last year, when the annual show was held at the State Fair Coliseum, its home for years before the NSC bought it from owner Hugh Price.

But there were some problems.

“We had building-capacity issues,’’ Kruse said. Officials had to restrict the number of people who could enter the Sports Expo Center on Saturday because of congestion. “We didn’t have room inside for more people,’’ he said. And the entrance and exit were through the same lobby, causing problems, too.

So officials might move the show next year to the NSC’s much larger Sports Hall, which has 58,000 square feet, more than double the Expo Center’s 21,000 square feet. (Another 11,000 square feet was used in the adjacent Schwan Center.) The space this year was considerably less than the 43,000 square feet at the State Fairgrounds Coliseum.

Kruse said officials will decide in the next few weeks whether to move the show into the Sports Hall.

“Could we have used that extra space? Absolutely,’’ Kruse said. “We learned a lot.’’


Did you know?

• A driver hit a bobcat with his car near Carlton, and called conservation officer Scott Staples, asking for a permit to keep the cat so he could mount it. But when Staples went to the scene, the cat was gone. Tracks in the snow indicated two wolves had grabbed the roadkill for dinner.

• Rain over the weekend washed out many ski and snowmobile trails in southern Minnesota, but up north the precipitation fell as snow, which is providing some end-of-season fun. Slush has been a problem on many lakes, though.

Doug Smith

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