Collinsville, Ill. – It can hardly be called a secret. The
outdoor sport show landscape in Illinois has changed – quickly and
As the 2012 season kicks off, show producers say they’ve beefed
up offerings to make their events more attractive. In a new world
where an angler or hunter can go to the Internet and shop from his
or her home with a few clicks of a mouse, outdoor show managers
realize that they must adapt to survive.
One popular southern Illinois show – the St. Louis Deer Classic
– will not return in 2012. Hugh Price, who produced the show in
Collinsville for the past several years, pulled the plug earlier
this year, pointing out that the deer count and the overall
attendance had decreased dramatically.
At the north end of the state, Illinois’ biggest outdoor show
- the Chicagoland Show at Rosemont – also closed shop. After a
couple of groups tried to revive the show over the summer, Met
Event Group jumped in and will produce a four-day event called the
Chicago Outdoor Sportsmen Show. The new show will run Jan. 26-29 at
the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont.
Met Event is offering “dozens of fishing and hunting seminars,
tons of new family friendly attractions and hundreds of quality
vendors and exhibitors preferred by the outdoor enthusiast,”
according to its promotional brochure.
Not many years ago, the Chicago show drew large crowds and ran
for 10 days.
The shows that will be held in 2012 are optimistic about their
The show season kicks off separate and very different shows at
both ends of the state. The Let’s Go Fishing Show, now in its 19th
year, returns Jan. 6-8 at the Gateway Center in Collinsville.
In the north, the fourth annual Gotcha Sports Adventure Show is
coming to Kankakee Jan. 7-8. Produced by Gotcha Outdoors, the show
will be bringing Hank Parker and Jimmy Sites in as guest
Other special features of this show will include Reptile
Rampage, CenterShot Archery, hundreds of vendor booths,
demonstrations, taxidermy, game calling, deer mounts and more.
Show hours are 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Jan. 7 and 10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
on Jan. 8.
At the Let’s Go Fishing Show, a full slate of seminars gives
attendees the chance to mingle with pro anglers and regional
experts. Speakers will be giving helpful tips on fishing for bass,
crappies, trout, catfish, muskies, walleyes and other species.
Hours are noon to 9 p.m. on Jan. 6, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. on Jan. 7 and
10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Jan 8.
Details on other outdoor shows will be included in upcoming
issues of Illinois Outdoor News.