It was an outdoor adventure experience in an indoor venue last weekend. Doug Stewart, from Missoula, and my girlfriend, Berny Croy, and I traveled to Billings for the Great Rockies Sport Show. This 3-day hunting, fishing, and RV and boat show is held every year at this time in the Metra Park. The Great Rockies Sporstshows will also be held in Helena in February as well in Missoula and Bozeman the last two weeks in March. The shows are a great way for us to recruit new listeners for our statewide Saturday morning radio show and viewers for our web site montanaoutdoor.com. The first show is always an adventure from when we leave Missoula to traveling east to the Magic City. Traveling in January is always an experience in Montana,, as it was this year when we hit freezing rain just east of Bozeman. More than a half a dozen vehicles were in the ditch. Fortunately for us, by the time we arrived in the area, we were greeted by a Montana Highway Patrolman holding a slow sign that helped us from ending up in that same ditch. I can’t remember when I have encountered freezing rain while driving. It is one of those weather phenomenons that are tough to figure out. The temperature outside was 14 degrees and rain drops instead of snowflakes were hitting my windshield. Next time that occurs in my travels I won’t need a slow sign to slow me down.
The actual show was packed with vendors displaying new products. One of those was at the Bretz RV booth. The product is named Rescue Pak and is manufactured by Lil Lightning Inc. It is an electronic device that is just a little bigger than a cell phone. Along with charging your cell phone, it can actually jump start a vehicle. It is a perfect gadget for the outdoor person because its size makes it convenient to carry with you in case you have a battery go dead in your boat, ATV, or vehicle.
For the first time at one of the shows, there was a vendor selling drones. As you might imagine, these remote controlled flying machines drew quite a bit of attention. Drones when equipped with a camera can be useful in many outdoor applications. Depending on the features, you can spend as little as $63 to as much as $1300 on a drone.
Kits Tackle, the popular glass minnow jig tackle manufacturer based out of Helena, debuted a new glass minnow jig they call the Walleye Frye. This jig has the coloring and eyes that make it look much like a small walleye minnow. To motivate anglers to add it to their tackle box, they displayed a picture of a 13 pound walleye that Trevor Johnson caught while testing the new jig last fall while fishing Holter Reservoir.
Outdoor hunting and fishing shows are always worth the price of admission in my opinion because it helps get rid of cabin fever while you walk around and explore the products and services that over 150 vendors have to offer to enhance your outdoor experience. As I mentioned earlier folks in Western Montana won’t have to wait long as the Great Rockies Sport Show tour will come to Missoula at the Adams Center in March on the 21st and 22nd.