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2017 Outdoor Expo one for record books

Posted March 31, 2017

 

AZGFD’s annual showcase sets new weekend attendance mark   

 

PHOENIX — For the second straight year, the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Outdoor Expo – the state’s largest free outdoor expo – has set an all-time attendance record.

The event, presented by Shikar Safari Club International, drew 46,600 visitors over the March 25-26 weekend at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix. That shattered the previous two-day weekend record of 41,100, set in 2016.

A “Youth Day” experience also was offered March 24 that attracted 1,800 students, teachers and chaperones, bringing this year’s three-day total to a record 48,400. The previous record was 48,000 in 2015.

“We’re not aware of any other event of this scale that combines conservation, recreation and industry into such a welcoming environment for the public,” said Scott Lavin, the department’s wildlife recreation branch chief. “This is where people can find plenty of hands-on activities, test and purchase the latest equipment and products, and connect with social organizations that can provide countless ‘next step’ experiences to support their outdoor passions.”

The expo features everything from wildlife exhibits and family fishing tanks, to kayaking at the 90,000-gallon “Lake Paddlemore” and trying out firearms in a safe, controlled environment on the range. There also are many opportunities for visitors to check out more than 150 exhibitors, including sportsmen and conservation organizations, recreational shooting groups, government agencies and commercial vendors of outdoor products and services.

Since 2007, the expo traditionally has been scheduled for the last weekend in March (but not to conflict with Easter weekend). This year marked the 10th anniversary of the “Outdoor Expo.” The event previously was known as the “Hunting and Shooting Showcase” from 2004 to 2006.

For the third straight year, Shikar Safari Club International was the presenting sponsor. Gold sponsors were OneAZ Credit Union and Shooter’s World/Daniel Defense. Silver sponsors were Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation, Sportsman’s Warehouse, FN America, Cabela’s and Target Factory. Bronze sponsors were the Mule Deer Foundation and Lincoln Property Company.

“We are grateful to our sponsors and 155 exhibitors who support this event and provide us with an opportunity to introduce ourselves as a department and share our mission with the public at no charge,” Lavin said.

Next year’s expo is scheduled for March 24-25, 2018, at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility. Visit www.azgfd.gov/expo for more information.

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