EUGENE, Ore. – The 43rd annual Eugene Boat & Sportsmen’s Show started with a splash, reeling in more than 500 residents at the Lane Events Center Friday afternoon.
Hundreds of outdoor recreation exhibits, displays and attractions offered something for everyone, ranging from log furniture displays to a camping pavilion and drone demos to hunting dog demos at the Lane Events Center, 796 W. 13th Ave. The show runs today, Saturday, Feb. 6, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 7, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tickets cost $7 for adults, $1 for kids 6 to 11, and free for kids 5 and under.
An hour before the show opened Friday, a line stretched past the 220-foot zipline set up outside the entrance.
Inside the Boat Hall, the Super Air Nautique G23 was one of many boats on display.
Greg Waters, brand manager of Active Water Sports, said, “It’s been the number one wakeboard boat for the last three years and the number one surf boat for the last two years.”
The Big Game Room provided displays of taxidermy and record-breaking catches by hunters from Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana.
Tony Hilsendager, president of the Emerald Valley Chapter of the Oregon Hunter’s Association and owner of Straight Line Auto Body in Eugene, has had a booth at the event for six years.
Hilsendager said a benefit of the show has been developing customer relationships with people who share his passion for hunting.
“A lot of the same people that come to the show become my customer base,” he said. “It translates really easily into becoming future customers.”
The outdoor pavilion housed The Great Bear Show, featuring rescued American black bears and trainer Bob Steele. The show offered a photo opportunity with the bears after each educational show.
Outside the outdoor pavilion, Droneworx and Umpqua Survival demonstrated a drone, flying it several hundreds of feet above spectators.
Inside, an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife representative provided tips about bait and lures while casting different fishing lures into a giant fish tank holding different species of trophy fish.
At another booth, Dakota Fred who starred on the first four seasons of Discovery Channel’s “Gold Rush” talked about gold mining and gave demonstrations on how to pan for gold.
The family-friendly show also offered many attractions for kids, such as the outdoor zip line, an indoor 25-foot climbing wall, a fish pond, remote control car racetrack, and an archery range and shooting gallery.