Wolves, trout pond on tap at Sportmen's Show

CENTRAL POINT — The continued sluggish economy has not kept Oregon's outdoor enthusiasts from pouring through the doors of Joe Pate's outdoor show during stops in Eugene and Roseburg earlier this month.

And he expects the same this weekend when the Jackson County Sportsmen's and Outdoor Recreation Show makes its 11th consecutive appearance at the Jackson County Expo in Central Point.

"Both Eugene and Roseburg have been up in attendance and exhibitors," says Pate, whose company, ExpoSure, produces the annual show here. "I hope we get a good response in Medford, as well.

This year's show drew a near-record 13,497 people through the turnstiles last weekend in Roseburg, Pate says. The Medford show usually draws about 14,000 people each year at this third and final stop as the tour moves down Interstate 5.

After consecutive years of the headliner attraction being lions then tigers then bears, this year's apex predator making an appearance will be wolves. Alaskan timber wolves from trainer Steve Martin's Working Wildlife Ranch are featured in several shows throughout the weekend.

Martin's animals have appeared in movies such as "Dances with Wolves" and such television series as "True Blood." In addition to showcasing wolves, he also demonstrates how he trains these animals, Pate says.

"I've been looking a long time for a wolf attraction," Pate says. "We're going to have to look long and hard to top him."

Other attractions include a 50-foot-long fish tank filled with salmon, steelhead, trout and sturgeon; the newest version of the Tour of Northwest Big Game exhibit; and the annual Southern Oregon Head and Horns Competition.

Fly-fishers will see their 180-foot casting pool return for demonstrations, along with a live trout pond, climbing wall and shooting gallery for kids.

The show includes hourly demonstrations about outdoor adventures, as well as hunting and fishing techniques.

"Our goal is to educate, engage and entertain," Pate says.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or e-mail mfreeman@mailtribune.com.

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