Can you smell that? Can you hear it? It’s the smell of rain showers and the sound of snowmelt pouring into the gutters. It seems like spring is here, just in time for the Progressive® Insurance Northwest Sportshow! And I have an action-packed itinerary for it because the Sportshow has all things outdoor — from camping to fishing, hunting, boating and even traveling.
I am a gear geek. I thoroughly enjoy perusing the latest ultralight camping gear, testing out backpacks, sitting in a boat that I probably can’t afford, and seeing the new products in hunting and fishing. Five years ago, I would have laughed if you said my favorite thing to shop for is outdoor gear. My, how times have changed. Better late than never!
The Northwest Sportshow kicks off on Thursday, March 21 and continues through Sunday, March 24 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Can you believe this is the Sportshow’s 87th year?! With that much experience in putting on the outdoor show of the season, you know you’re in for something good.
I partnered with the Northwest Sportshow this year which means you can go to the show with this buy one, get one free ticket deal. Just use promo code BOATGO1 and use this link to get your ticket. The deal goes through midnight the night before the show.
At tradeshows like this, it’s always a good idea to have an itinerary. Don’t have time to do the research? No worries! I have an itinerary ready just for you. You’re welcome! 🙂
STOP #1: SEMINARS
Nerd alert. I love a good seminar. Learning new skills, tricks of the trade, tips from the pro, and also using seminars as an opportunity to network with other outdoor enthusiasts are some of the reasons why I think the Northwest Sportshow is invaluable. New this year, there are several “young people” in the industry leading seminars including Natalie Dillon of “Nattie Up North,” Trever Lo, Chad Smith, and John Hoyer. I think Natalie’s seminar sounds right up my alley — “My Year as a Fishing YouTuber: Challenges, Successes, & Lessons Learned.”
I was recently featured in StarTribune with Lo, Smith, and Hoyer in an article about the “NextGen” of outdoor enthusiasts. Thank you to Women Anglers of Minnesota for referring me! You can see a full list of the seminars here.
STOP #2: SEA LIFE’S ‘BRAVE THE RAINFOREST’ EXHIBIT
This is a new exhibit at the Sportshow! It’s something for the whole family, or if you’re a lone thrill-seeker, this exhibit is just for you. SEA LIFE, based at Mall of America, is bringing some “crawlers” and “critters” for visitors to face their fears. From the looks of it, there will definitely be reptiles of sorts. You can find the exhibit at space 103B.
STOP #3: CREATE-A-CRANKBAIT
The Women Anglers of Minnesota is hosting a booth where kids can create their own crankbait. It’s a one-of-a-kind souvenir that young anglers can actually use to fish with. Arts and crafts meets usefulness — plus it’s free! Use this opportunity to learn about Women Anglers of Minnesota. Full disclosure, I am a recent member and I’m proud of it! I joined because I wanted to meet other women who enjoy fishing and believe in the message of making fishing more accessible for everyone.
STOP #4: HAWG TROUGH FISHING DEMO
A fan favorite makes a comeback. The Hawg Trough is a 10,000 gallon tank filled with Minnesota-native fish. If you or your kids need some entertainment, this is where it’s at. Pro anglers will show us how it’s done with a variety of casting techniques, best bait types, and educating folks on how fish strike at different types of lure and bait. The demo is located in aisle 900.
STOP #5: ADVENTURE TRAIL PASS PROVIDES AN EDUCATIONAL, FUN EXPERIENCE FOR KIDS
Bringing the kids? Be sure to grab an Adventure Trail Pass. It’s an interactive and fun way to explore the Northwest Sportshow. Kids will learn about the outdoors as the follow the map to visit stations all across the show. Among the stops: Minneapolis DNR Laser Shot Gallery, Ducks Unlimited Room, Create-a-Crankbait, and the trout pond. The trout pond, btw, is a great little stop if you want to get your kids interested in fishing. They can catch and release live trout for free! The Adventure Trail Pass can be picked up at the NWTF Wild Turkey Room. Kids who complete their map can come claim a prize back at the Wild Turkey Room.
STOP #6: DUCKS UNLIMITED ROOM
Listen up conservationists! Learn about waterfowl and conservation of wetlands through seminars at the Ducks Unlimited Room. Give back to conservation by learning some helpful tips from Ducks Unlimited, find out about volunteer opportunities, or you can also give back monetarily through silent auctions and raffles. There’s even a free duck decoy painting opportunity for kids, while supplies last.
STOP #7: NATIONAL WILDLIFE TURKEY FEDERATION
Spring turkey hunting is just around the corner. Minnesota’s NWTF staff and turkey hunting experts will be onsite to talk turkey hunting in room 101G. Check out of the best wild turkey mounts, listen in on daily turkey hunting seminars, and teach your kids how to make a turkey call. If you want to venture outside of Minnesota, there is also an opportunity to learn about hunting turkey in Nebraska.
STOP #8: DAILY GIVEAWAYS
Depending on which day you go, there’s a giveaway opportunity (mostly for kids), while supplies last. The only giveaway for everyone is on Thursday.
Thursday: Lindy Rigs Giveaway Day
Everyone attending the show will receive a free Lindy Rig.
Friday: Rapala RipStop 12 and Sufix Advanced Monofilament Line Giveaway Day
This one is just for kids ages 12 and younger. Starting at noon, kids will receive a free Rapala RipStop 12 swimbait. Starting at 5 p.m., kids will receive a free Sufix Advanced Monofilament Line.
Saturday: Shakespeare Giveaway Day
Also for kids 12 and younger, starting at 10 a.m. – kids will receive a free Shakespeare Cosmic Spinning Combo. Starting at 5 p.m., kids will get free Berkley FireLine.
Sunday: Northland Fishing Tackle Giveaway Day
Kids 12 and younger will get free Northland Fishing Tackle Impulse Reactionary Baits, while supplies last.
AND MUCH MORE…
With more than 300,000 sq. ft of exhibit space, there’s so much more to explore at the Northwest Sportshow. I guarantee you’ll need at least a couple of days of showtime to get through every single booth and exhibit. Each day has a different seminar, so plan accordingly!
If you’re looking for a vacation, you’ll find plenty of outfitters, lodges and resorts, resources on local parks, and travel package deals that focus on outdoor enthusiasts.