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Denise Bornhausen

Minneapolis, Minn.

Sports Show Memories

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 Take your child, collect those colorful brochures and plan a trip together and create some lifetime memories! 


The 12 Days of Christmas - Days 2 and 3

With more fresh snow, day 2 brings a gift idea for the whole family. 
While down hill and cross country skiing are popular, they can be expensive sports for a family - not to mention that it often involves travel to participate. A more affordable way to play on the snow is snowshoes. They can be used anywhere from the backyard to the woods. These are "out of the package" gifts - no complex instruction manual or batteries needed - just strap onto your boots and go. Today's modern metals and plastics mean that there are price entry points for all budgets. Plus snowshoeing is a great low impact aerobic excercise that burns more calories than running or walking at the same speed. Many park districts and nature centers have rental snowshoes and you can purchase children and adult sizes at local retailers including REI and Sports Authority

Day 3 brings gifts that keep on giving. 
For teens and adults that cross country ski - a MN Ski Pass gives them acess to miles of groomed trails in state parks and forests. At just $15 for the season a MN Ski Pass is a great stocking stuffer! Passes can be purchased anywhere that offers electronic license purchase, online at the DNR website or at State Parks. A three year pass is also available. 

For kids a membership to the local nature center gives them opportunities to explore nature all year. A membership paired with a field guide or flashlight is a great stocking stuffer. Staffed by naturalists and volunteers who love the outdoors these local treasures are the the forefront of the no child left inside movement. They offer trails for walking and hiking, educational classes and more. Many are preserving nature and wetlands with in an urban setting. Just a sampling in the metro include Woodlake Nature Center in Richfield, Dodge Nature Center in South St. Paul, Carpenter Nature Center in Hastings and Westwood Hills in St. Louis Park. 

Tomorrow - Shopping the bookshelf.