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Outdoors enthusiasts rejoice: The 23rd Annual International Sportsmen's Expo is happening at Cal Expo this weekend.
A highlight of the Expo, is the Adventure Base 100, a celebration of the 100-year anniversary of Scouting. The base spans 9,000 square feet and contains a 360-degree movie dome, rope course, interactive museum and a store for everything Scout related. Local Scouts and adult leaders are there, ready to answer questions. This is the only Northern California stop for the Adventure Base.
Friday night, the base was bustling with people watching the charity Pinewood Derby. Assemblymen Roger Niello and Ted Gaines joined "The Capitol Hour" host Eric Hogue and local Boy Scout leaders in the race. Three to four cars raced in each heat down the 15-foot track. A local Cub Scout won the event, Ryan Scotch, withHogue coming in at a close second. Niello beat Assemblymen Gaines in a grudge match.
"Pinewood Derbies are everyone's favorite," said local Boy Scout and Expo volunteer Aaron Rush. "Scouting is a lot of fun. I've been active my entire life and it's made me a better person."
Another building held the fly-fishing area. Local and national vendors sold everything from guided trips to fly-tying classes. Attendees could cast under the supervision of trained anglers.
Boats and ATV's also were for sale. Those not looking to buy could rent or lease the equipment.
Very few "Keep Off" or "Don't Touch" signs are found at the Expo. People are encouraged to touch and use gear before buying.
"I came here looking for all the new equipment," said Travis Smith, who came to the show with his wife and three children. "We love to hunt and this is a good way to spend time with the family."
The economy hasn't seemed to impact attendance. Throngs of people wandered the aisles, looking from booth to booth.
"My booth hasn't been affected that much," said exhibitor Steve Dirgo of Seattle. "I sell quality knives that aren't very expensive. It's the expensive trips that are taking a big hit."
The California Department of Fish and Game was on hand to answer questions and educate the public.
"We answer complex questions people have concerning the laws and regulations," said Fish and Game officer Steven Stiehr. "Laws have changed since some people last fished or went hunting. We are here as the source giving correct information."
Expo attendees came from all over the region, and some called Sacramento residents lucky. Its location and good weather makes for the West Coast version of asportsmen's paradise, they said.
"I love coming to Sacramento," Dirgo said. "The fishing here is some of the best in the West."
The International Sportsmen's Expo runs through today. Tickets are $15, ages 15 and younger free.
Photos courtesy of Matthew Ceccato