The Minnesota Deer Classic, an iconic 30-year-old event that celebrates whitetail deer and deer hunting, has been sold.

The National Sports Center in Blaine bought the Deer Classic from Hugh Price, its founder, and will hold it next March at its facilities in Blaine. The show has long been at the State Fair Colisseum.

Price, 76, of Elk River, started the show in 1982 and has contemplated selling it in recent years. He’ll stay on for a few years as a consultant.

“I feel real happy about it,’’ he said. “I’m delivering it to competent people with superb facilities at a time I’m still able to be helpful in the transition. I think it will do really well there.’’

The event is tentatively scheduled for March 1-3, 2013; it is projected to draw 6,000-10,000 people.

By utilizing all the space at Schwan Center, including the new Sport Expo Center, the NSC will be able to accommodate about 170 booths. And in addition, Classic director Greg Savino said the NSC will be able to offer some new activities not feasible at the State Fairgrounds.

“We’re looking at using some of the other available space at the NSC to hold events that would be fun for a hunting audience,” said Savino. “You might see an archery 3D competition, a dog shed antler hunting event, or some other creative enhancements that we’re working on. You might even see some outdoor events.”

Price will also retain ownership of the Minnesota Record Book, the Deer Classic’s signature publication, in which hunters come to the Deer Classic to register noteworthy antlers, as measured on the Boone-and-Crockett and Pope-and-Young system.

The Deer Classic will be the largest of the National Sports Center’s growing stable of outdoor sports shows, including the inaugural Hard Water Ice Fishing Expo, November 16-18, the Minnesota Anglers Expo, February 8-10, 2013, and the Great Waters Fly Fishing Expo, March 22-24, 2013.




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