Dave Peterson, co-owner of Cook Inlet Trading Co., shows off an Alaska variation of the snow globe paperweight, a globe with a gold moose and gold flakes inside, during the Sport, Rec and Trade Show at the Soldotna Sports Center Saturday. Peterson's booth featured several items made from Alaska materials, minerals and fossils.
Photo by Joseph Robertia
As the snowmachines, skis and dog sleds get put away for another season, out come the four-wheelers, fishing gear and hunting paraphernalia.
The annual Sport, Rec and Trade Show at the Soldotna Sports Center is targeting the would-be woodsperson in their upcoming adventures this weekend.
After the long winter, Soldotna videographer Paul Gray was hoping to whip anxious anglers into a frenzy by selling DVDs of the newest installment of his show Exploring Alaska titled "Early King Fishing #&151; Kenai River."
"We've got the biggest kings in the world, and we should promote them in May and June, not just July," Gray said, adding that the Sport, Rec and Trade Show is a great location and time to deliver that message.
The 30-minute video features Alaskans engaged in rod-bending action on the Kenai, but at a time of year before the river is gridlocked with guide boats.
"It has information about slot sizes, regulations, ad-vantages of lures rather than bait and several other early season fishing issues," Gray said.
The video also focuses on Lester Anderson, who set the king salmon world record with his 97-pound 4-ounce lunker caught in 1985.
"This year is the 20th anniversary of his catch, and Soldotna intends to make a big deal about it. Having this video here now is part of that," Gray said.
In addition to Gray's booth, and the numerous booths of fishing guides, taxidermists and tackle dealers, there also was plenty for land-lubber folks, too.
A variety of motorized equipment dealers had out their newest and latest two-wheeled dirt bikes, four-wheeled pickups and six-wheeled all-terrain vehicles.
"We sell them year-round, but spring is when people get more involved in all-terrain vehicles, so they come shopping for something for doing yard work, fishing or for a way to get out to remote locations," said Howard Stacey, sales consultant for A-1 Enterprises in Soldotna.
Stacey brought with him several 2005 Polaris ATV's, many with macho model names such The Predator, Trail Blazer and Trail Boss. He said the show is a good venue to discuss the vehicles.
"We can answer a lot of questions, people can compare our products to those of other vendors, we offer show specials, and there's financing available," he said.
The latter part of Stacey's statement explained one booth which to some may have seemed out of place at the show #&151; that of the Alaska USA credit union.
Shiala Harris, the credit union's senior member service representative, explain-ed the booth's presence.
"We do a lot of financing," she said, explaining her company offers lower loan rates during the Sport, Rec and Trade Show.
"People can get a purchase agreement from a boat, RV or ATV dealer. We can run the loan on the spot and, hopefully, they can drive out today with their new purchase," Harris said.
Although there was plenty for the adults, there also were activities to keep young outdoor enthusiasts entertained.
A $15,000 shooting pavilion co-sponsored by the Kenai Peninsula Chapter of Safari Club International and Alaska Department of Fish and Game saw a steady stream of traffic. Sports show patrons could take their turn firing laser rifles at life-size animals #&151; including moose, caribou and bear #&151; on a screen several yards away.
The Fish and Game Sport Fish Division rolled out its mobile aquatic education program for the show.
Housed inside a fifth-wheel trailer, it featured juvenile fish displays, and kids could color or print designs on T-shirts. Outside, there was a stocked trout pond where young anglers could try their hand at catching rainbow trout.
The Cooper Landing-based Alaska Horsemen Trail Adventure also was on hand to provide horseback rides and carriage tours around the sports center.
The Sport, Rec and Trade Show continues today from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
There will be a safe boating seminar at 2 p.m. and a finished retriever demonstration at 3 p.m. Admission is $3 for adults $2 for seniors and children age 9 and older.
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