Sportsmenís show sets attendance record

Bruce McDonald
March 16, 2012 at 10:30 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

The 33rd annual Louisiana Sportsmenís Show was the largest single event ever to take place at the Lamar Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales.

Thirty-three years ago, Bob Del Giorno, New Orleans TV and radio outdoor host, put on the first outdoor show in the Louisiana Superdome. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina wrecked the Superdome and Del Giorno moved the Louisiana Sportsmenís Show to Lamar Dixon in Gonzales.

"We were looking for a place just to keep the annual concept of the show going. An old Chinese proverb describes our situation, ĎOut of bad, comes some good,í" Del Giorno said. "We set-up at the Lamar Dixon after hurricane Katrina and have not left since. Itís a centrally located venue between Lafayette, Baton Rouge, Hammond and New Orleans.

"We were lucky."

This yearís show started at 11 a.m. on Friday.

"It was raining and misting all day. Crowds still came. We had an unbelievable day," said promoter Jack Fisher.

Crowds poured through the gates all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The main attractions were Swamp People celebrities R.J., Jay Paul and Troy Landry.

A two-day bass tournament was also held during the show with the winner getting $10, 000 for first place. The Louisiana Sportsman magazine also gave a Yamaha Grizzly ATV as a random drawing in the Big Buck Contest and awarded two deer hunts with McKenna Ranch for winning the contest.

"I have been working on the show for one year. As the show neared opening time, my phone never stopped ringing. Vendors wanted to enter the show," Fisher said. "Next year, we hope for a bigger and better show."

The show was organized into sections. Two hundred vendors occupied the building with trail cams, deer stands, deer feeders, clothing, land realtors, jewelry, and fishing equipment from Shimano, Berkley, Okuma and Penn. Outside, spectators viewed five acres of RVís, salt and freshwater boats and motors, mud boats, campers, art, motor homes, tractors and mowers. Bowie outfitters also brought in Capt. Dudley Vandenborre and Capt. Erik Dumas on Sunday to share top fishing secrets with the public.

Many of the vendors offered special show prices on all of their products. Other outdoor activities were the Splash Dog contest, monster truck rides, Cabalaís 3D archery shoot, amusement rides, jambalaya cook-offs, and food and drinks.

"This was the best outdoors sporting show I have ever been to," Joe Johnston, of ReelKeel lures, said.

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