Flying, diving watercraft will make a splash at Expo

Contraptions that jet through the water — and over it — have drawn plenty of oohs and aahs from thousands of visitors to Joe Pate's traveling outdoors show during stops this year in Eugene and Roseburg, and the same is expected this weekend at The Expo in Central Point.

The Seabreacher, a 20-foot-long, manned, submersible water rocket, sports a cockpit akin to a jet plane, can speed across a lake's surface and dive 8 feet down.

And then there's the Jetovator, an accessory that attaches to a personal watercraft and uses pumps to shoot water downward with enough force to elevate and transport a rider high into the air or fast through the water.

While they are not put to use during the show, the devices will be displayed by Redding-based Innespace, along with videos played on large-screen televisions that have captivated water enthusiasts by the scores.

"They're really getting a lot of attention, especially the Seabreacher," says Pate, in his 13th year of putting together annual outdoors shows in Oregon. "The wealthy have them as toys. (Vladamir) Putin in Russia has one and the Sultan of Dubai has one."

The headliner for this year's outdoors show, which begins today and runs through Sunday, is Great Cats of the World. The Cave Junction-based attraction will display exotic animals in a dozen shows through the weekend.

The Seven Feathers Big Game Room will host the show's ninth annual Head & Horns Competition, the new Predator vs. Prey Relationships exhibit and a Big Game Animal Oddities display.

The Tour of Northwest Big Game display this year features a nearly 40-pound wild turkey dubbed Birdzilla, one of the largest wild turkeys ever killed by a hunter.

The show also sports hundreds of outdoor-related vendors and a string of speaker sessions on topics ranging from winter steelhead and salmon fishing to secrets of bass fishing, turkey hunting and even how to catch sturgeon in the Columbia River.

The doors are open from noon to 9 p.m. today, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets cost $6 for adults and $1 for children ages 6 through 11. Children 5 and younger get in free.

A coupon worth $2 off Friday and Sunday admission — but not Saturday — is available at all Bi-Mart stores. Also, seniors 65 and older can enter for free today.

For more information about the show, see Pate's website at

Hunters who put off buying their Southwest Oregon spring black bear tag are officially out of luck.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife on Friday sold the last of its 4,400 spring bear tags for the popular Southwest hunt. The tags, which have been sold on a first-come, first-served basis since December, typically sell out each year in early February.

The Southwest hunt opens April 1 and runs through May.

Oregon also doles out more than 4,000 spring bear tags in controlled hunts sprinkled throughout the state. The drawing for those tags was conducted last week, and the results are now available online at

Most Western Oregon controlled bear seasons open April 1, while Eastern Oregon hunts open April 15. All the controlled hunts close May 31.

Any tags not allocated from the spring hunt will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis in the annual spring leftover sale set to begin at 10 a.m. March 15.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or

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