Outdoor Expo sets attendance record

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April 13th, 2009

The Arizona Game and Fish Department’s 2009 Outdoor Expo drew a record 35,000 people over the March 28-29 weekend, breaking last year’s attendance of 26,000.

The event was held at the 1,650-acre Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix, a world-renowned five-star range that is listed as a Phoenix Point of Pride.

“We host the Expo each year to give the public a chance to learn about Arizona’s amazing wildlife resources and recreational opportunities,” said Assistant Director Ty Gray. “The family event gives outdoor enthusiasts and novices a hands-on chance to discover or experience activities like wildlife viewing, fishing, hunting, shooting sports, archery, camping, off-highway vehicle recreation and boating recreation.”

Expo activities were held in four different locations throughout the Ben Avery range. An expanded family area included live wildlife displays (hawks, owls, small mammals, snakes and lizards), catch-and-release fishing for kids, casting demos and fishing tips for adults, archery classes, and outdoor workshops.

Other areas provided the chance to learn about specialty shooting sports or try out firearms in a safe, controlled environment on the shooting range, view off-highway vehicle demonstrations and learn about responsible OHV riding, see boating displays and learn about boating recreation and safety, observe hunting dog demonstrations, and view exciting cowboy mounted shooting competition.

Visitors were also able to visit with about 150 exhibitors, including sportsmen’s/ conservation organizations, shooting clubs, government agencies, and commercial vendors of outdoor products and services.

In addition to the weekend Expo, the department’s second annual pre-Expo “Youth Day’ was held on Friday, March 27. The event focused on wildlife and conservation education and was attended by 1,400 pre-registered public, private, charter and home school children accompanied by 400 adult chaperones.

Gold sponsors of the 2009 Outdoor Expo were PIERCE Bullet Seal Target Systems and the American Red Cross, Grand Canyon Chapter.

Next year’s Outdoor Expo will be held March 27-28, 2010, at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility. More information will be posted at www.azgfd.gov/expo as it becomes available.

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