Safari Club ready for show

Thousands expected for annual hunting convention

Posted: Friday, January 28, 2005

RENO, Nev. (AP) — The Safari Club International opens its 33rd annual hunting convention in Reno Wednesday, a four-day event that promises to be the city's biggest trade show of the year.

Nearly 20,000 people are expected to attend, filling hotel rooms and high-end restaurants while packing the Reno-Sparks Convention Center with 1,100 display booths featuring safari guides, gun makers and others in the hunting business.

''I can't think of any group that has a bigger impact,'' said Steve Trounday, vice president of marketing at the Reno Hilton, convention headquarters.

''It's a great demographic. They're all over town. They're at every (hotel). They have some wealth,'' he told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

The convention center, even with 500,000 square feet of exhibition space, isn't big enough to hold the whole show. The Safari Club uses 200,000 square feet of meeting space at the Hilton for its seminars and banquets.

The guest speaker for Saturday's closing dinner is former Secretary of State James Baker.

The convention is open only to Safari Club members, but memberships are available at the convention. The basic membership is $55. In addition, fees are charged for various events.

A day at the convention would cost about $125, counting seminars and exhibits, said Mike Schwiebert, Safari Club spokesman.

Seminars include ''Float Hunting Alaska's Rivers,'' ''An Artist in Africa,'' ''Your First African Safari,'' ''Top Five Big Game Adventures,'' ''Women's Fly Fishing,'' ''Eating Healthy with Wild Game'' and ''Intro to Sausage Making.''

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