Sports shows offer temporary escape from winter

A lone angler is dwarfed by the canyon near the Colorado River. Want to float the Colorado? That and many other opportunities are showcased at the Denver outdoor sports shows.

Usually we boast of how the mountains get the snow but the valley doesn’t. Of how we reside in a balmy location for most of the season in the valley, yet winter and its wonderful recreational activities are but a short drive away. We enjoy, even prefer, the changing seasons and participate in a great selection of outdoor winter activities such as skiing, snowmobiling and snowshoeing.

Even so, you may lazily dream of summer days to come. Even though the days are now the shortest of the year, soon they will begin to stretch. We enjoy the winter but still itch for summer vacations of camping with backcountry adventures. Plans are made for the season to come. Still, cabin fever can set in and we look for a cure today.

One such cure is to attend a sports show. Every winter there are two major extravaganzas in Denver that will satiate that cabin fever, at least for one weekend anyway. On Jan. 6-8, The Fly Fishing Show will be at the Denver Mart. Then on 
Jan. 12-15, the International Sportsmen’s Exposition will be at the Colorado Convention Center.

Both shows cater to the outdoor enthusiast and feature a large number of commercial exhibitors as well as seminars and demos by individual experts. Men and women alike find plenty to see.

The Fly Fishing Show obviously focuses its attention on the long rod purveyors of the sport. Colorado is certainly a top state for fly fishing, but fly fishing is much broader than the traditional quest for trout. The event showcases manufacturers, retailers, fly tyers, casting lessons, seminars, and theaters to help you in the pursuit of many species of fish, both freshwater and saltwater, both domestic and international.

Also included is a showcase section that focuses on the female angler. The International Fly Fishing Film Festival will make its world premier on Friday, Jan. 6.

The International Sportsmen’s Exposition has a broad appeal to both hunting and fishing fanatics. In addition to a large fishing venue, there are sections for shooting sports, big-game hunting, boating, and sporting dogs. Many outfitters have exhibit booths, offering experiences of just about every kind in the hunting and fishing world.

And I do mean world. You can check into something as close as pheasant hunting in Kansas, or you can book a trip for exotic fishing in South America. Tour and lodge operators come from as close as our Colorado backyard, to as far away as Alaska and Canada. The mounts and photographs they display can be impressive.

The Colorado Parks and Wildlife will host a Youth Activity Center, so bring the family. There will be awesome taxidermy displays, an elk calling contest, sporting dog trials, and casting ponds to demo new rods and reels.

Hours for The Fly Fishing Show are Friday from 10-6, Saturday 9-5:30, and Sunday 9-4:30. Admission is $15 for adults, $2 for children under 12 with under 5 free. Discounts are available for military, scouts, and multi-day passes. Note that tickets are cash only at the gate, but can be purchased in advance online.

Hours for the Sportsmen’s Expo are Thursday and Friday 11-8, Saturday 10-8, and Sunday 10-5. Admission is $17, youth under 16 are free. Check online for discount coupons. Parking and shuttle is $5.

More information about exhibitors, demonstrations, and theaters is available online at and

These shows are awesome displays for the hunting, fishing, camping and boating enthusiast. I’ve been to one show or the other several times over the years, and am always enthralled. An entire day, maybe two, are truly necessary to really see everything, especially if you take time to attend some of the various presentations or participate in some of the hands-on activities. But even just a few hours is well worth the time, either concentrating on your special interest or quickly cruising the many isles.

Cabin fever got you down? To get outdoors, may I suggest going indoors? Indoors, that is, to one or both of these exciting shows. You won’t be disappointed. Maybe we should charter a bus and all go!


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