Plenty to see and do at the Washington Sportsmen's Show

Annual show at Puyallup fairgrounds will feature quick-draw experience

jeff.mayor@thenewstribune.comJanuary 19, 2014 

Visitors to the Washington Sportsmen’s Show can strap on a six-shooter and try their hand at fast-draw shooting.

The 2014 edition of the show will run from Wednesday through Jan. 26 at the Washington State Fair Events Center in Puyallup.

New to the show, “Cowboy Fast Draw” will give showgoers of all experience levels the chance to step up to a special range with classic Colt .45-caliber-style six-shooters, vintage holsters and special wax bullets

“We provide all the equipment and safety is always the highest priority, with fun running a close second,” said Cal Eilrich, director of the Cowboy Fast Draw Association and a 17-time World Fast Draw Champion.

Eilrich will be supervising the action and coaching participants. He’ll be joined by other professional fast-draw shooters, officials from the association and certified instructors from the Tacoma Sportsmen’s Club.

Participants will be fitted with a holster and receive coaching from professionals, who also load the wax bullets. Each turn at the firing line includes five warm-up shots and five competition shots.

From 15 feet away, participants react to a start light then draw, cock and fire their six-gun at a round, 24-inch target. Shots hitting the target are timed at 1/1,000th of a second and recorded. The custom-constructed range utilizes digital timing equipment.

Participants must be 8 years old to draw out of a holster. Children under 12 years old must use the off-hand thumb to cock the hammer. Children under 8 may shoot with a coach assisting by holding the six-gun.

“You can come back again and again. Of course, the stakes aren’t as high as an old-time gunfight ... we’ll have great prizes instead.”

“O’Loughlin Trade Shows have always looked for fun, hands-on experiences for showgoers,” show spokesman Barry Bartlett said about the fast-draw attraction.

“They brought a similar feature attraction to their Portland show in 2012 and it was successful. It’s a production with lots a of moving parts and associated expense, made possible with support from Les Schwab.”


Also new at this year show will be a number of speakers, including fishing rod guru Gary Loomis and hunting expert Nathan Brence as well as Tod Switzer and Isaac Miller, who will introduce people to fishing from kayaks.

Loomis has been building fishing rods for nearly 40 years and also is known as a leader in promoting conservation.

He is a member of the International Game Fish Association Hall of Fame and has been a driving force in the Coastal Conservation Association.

He is scheduled to give presentations on “The Right Tool for the Job – Selecting Rods” and “Want to Catch More Fish? – New CCA Developments.” He also will be at the Edge Fishing Rods booth.

A master hunter, bow hunter and hunting education instructor, Brence will share tips gathered during his years of backcountry hunting.

A pro staffer for Nimrod Pack Systems will share tips on the basic gear needed and weight-saving techniques that make an extended hunt successful in “Effective Backcountry Hunting Gear & Tactics.”

Sponsored by the Kayak Academy in Issaquah, Switzer and Miller will talk about the thrill of kayak fishing.

In his presentation, “Kayak Fishing in Washington,” Switzer will share different methods, gear, seasons and fisheries related to kayak fishing.

Switzer, who has a Ph.D. in oceanography, likes how fishing from a kayak gets anglers closer to the water and the fish. He describes kayak fishing as a “one-on-one, bow-and-arrow type of approach to fishing.”

Miller will present “Kayak Fishing for Winter Steelhead,” sharing his experiences fishing Washington and Oregon rivers. He also will talk about how to get started using light tackle and environmentally friendly lead-free gear.

Adding new speakers to the lineup keeps the show fresh and exposes attendees to new concepts, Bartlett said.

“This show is an excellent platform for discussing new trends and introducing new products,” he said. “They also offer great personal contact between speakers and audiences.”

Among the others scheduled to appear at the show are fishing Hall of Famer Buzz Ramsey, fly-fishing expert Jim Teeny, the father-son fishing guide team of Jack and Brandon Glass, radio and television host Tom Nelson; hunter and angler Scott Haugen, halibut fishing expert Terry Rudnick, big-game call maker Glenn Berry and collegiate bass angler Nick Barr, a Lacey resident.

Plenty to see and do

Attending the 27th annual show Washington Sportsmen’s Show is a winter tradition in the Puget Sound region.

Two reasons for the show’s popularity are the exhibits and the presenters that return each year. Here is a look at some of what you can see and do once again at this year’s show:

Big Horns: This is a two-part show within a show.

First is the Northwest Tour of Big Game Animals, a new exhibit featuring some of the biggest elk ever harvested in Washington and Oregon. Some of the bulls on display measured more than 400 inches under Boone and Crockett Club scoring. A variety of other top-scoring big-game trophies round out the display.

The other part of the display is the popular “Head & Horns.” This competition typically attracts more than 200 heads, horns or horn/antler sheds brought in by showgoers.

Each entry is measured and scored for free by representatives from the Boone and Crockett and Pope and the Young clubs. Prizes will be awarded for three methods of hunting: rifle, archery and black powder. The deadline to bring in entries is 8 p.m. Saturday. The top entries in each category will be on display during the show.

“It’s always fun to see what people bring in, whether the trophies were recently harvested or have been collecting dust in the attic,” said David Morris, the Head and Horns organizer.

Kids trout pond: Young anglers will have the chance to tangle with a rainbow trout at the free kids’ trout pond. Children 12 and younger will have the chance to catch and release or keep two rainbows. All the gear will be provided for free, including fishing poles, bait and bags to take home the big catch.

Tasty sessions: The “Fred Meyer Camp Cooking Tent” is a great place to learn some new recipes, try some tasty samples and rest your weary feet. Herb Good, Tiffany Haugen and dutch oven cooking guru Cee Dub Welch all will return to prepare tasty, no-fuss recipes in hourly presentations each day of the show.

Welch will be drawing on recipes from the past and from his new cookbook, “Cee Dub’s Favorites.” Haugen will be using recipes from the 11 cookbooks she has written, including the soon-to-be-released “Cooking Seafood.” Good, known for his improvisational cooking skills, will be showing off how he preserves fish in a pouch.

Places to learn: Seminars are a big part of the show, and there are several locations in which you can watch the experts in action.

There will be sessions at the Indoor Steelhead River, outdoor fly-casting pond, the fly-tying theater and at the warm-water demo tank. Fishing experts will offer tips and advice for catching more fish, how to improve your casting distance and accuracy and how to tie some of the best flies for use in the Northwest.

At the Lowrance Learning Center, Jeff Boyer will give previews of SpotlightScan Sonar, the newest feature on some Lowrance units. Ready to be introduced in February, the sonar gives fishermen controlled, surround-scan views that provide picture-like images of a fishing spot.

Wilderness survival: Outdoor safety expert Peter Kummerfeldt returns for his 19th year at the show.

This year, his presentations will include “Procuring Wild Foods” in survival situations and “Making Water Safe to Drink.” During his “Wilderness Medicine” program, Kummerfeldt will urge outdoor enthusiasts to get some basic medical training for when things go wrong.

“Survival skills are really moot if you can’t stop the blood spurting out of your arm,” he said.


When: Hours are noon-8 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. on Saturday; and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Jan. 26.

Where: Washington State Fair Events Center, Puyallup

Admission: $12 for adults; $5 for juniors ages 6-16; and free for children 5 and younger. An $18 two-day pass also is available. You can save $3 per ticket by ordering in advance online.

Details: For information on online ticket purchases and discounts, visit

Of note: Parking at the fairgrounds is free every day of the show.

Jeffrey P. Mayor: 253-597-8640
Jeffrey P. Mayor: 253-597-8640

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