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!
By now the kids are all ready for back to school with fresh pencils and notebooks, shoes and backpacks. They are eagerly waiting to start learning new skills and making new friends. And why should we, as adult women, be left out of the fun? Eagle Bluff ELC near Lanesboro and MN Becoming Outdoors Woman (BOW) are hosting the Discover BOW Weekend September 11-13. It’s an opportunity to “go back to class” to learn new outdoor skills and make new friends.
Taking advantage of the beautiful southeast Minnesota location, the BOW weekend has everything from exploring the Root River via canoe, kayak, or with a fly rod to hiking and orienteering through Eagle Bluff’s extensive property, learning about the flora and fauna of the region. Other classes include archery and a mock 3-D hunt, upland bird hunting or fire arm safety skills. There’s a bicycle ride along the Root River trail out of Lanesboro, or for those who need more adrenaline, a high ropes challenge. Classes are limited to 12 persons or less with lots of hands-on, step-by-step instruction from experienced outdoors enthusiasts, most of whom are women.
I attended one Minnesota’s first BOW weekends nearly 15 years ago at Gunflint Lodge and have been hooked ever since. It was so empowering to spend the weekend with a group of women learning how to load and shoot a firearm and how to tie on my own lure. There were lots of beginner’s mistakes, but there was also lots of help and tons of laughter. I now understood the easy camaraderie of the hunt camp and I wanted more of it for myself. Progressing from a participant to instructor, I’ve learned new skills like pheasant hunting, polished old, like fishing, and most importantly, made many wonderful new outdoor friends.
My increasing comfort and confidence outdoors has naturally passed on to my daughter, who is becoming quite the outdoor girl herself. She’s anxiously counting the years until she’ll be old enough to participate in my “girls only” Canadian fishing trip and our hunting trips, many of which have more women than men.
Doctors and scientists say that we should continue to learn new skills throughout our lives to keep our brains healthy. Lifelong learning doesn’t need to just come from books and the classroom. Plus, homework never entailed a beautiful walk through a fall woods or an afternoon on the water with a bucket of minnows and rod. And best of all – practice makes perfect!
(It’s not too late to register for the fall BOW workshop at Eagle Bluff. Download a brochure at www.dnr.state.mn.us/education/bow/index.html or call 1-888-800-9958.)