REDMOND — Last year the Central Oregon Sportsman Show was one of the earliest casualties of COVID-19. Just a couple of hours before opening, Gov. Kate Brown ordered a shutdown of large events.

“We had about 200 people in line, waiting to get it and we had to close it down,” said Trey Carskadon for O’Loughlin Trade Shows. The promoter lost about $700,000 in the deal, and some 300 vendors had to pack up and leave.

Two years ago, a massive snowstorm threatened the show, but about 10,000 sportsmen and families alike weathered the snowdrifts to attend, Carksadon said.

This year, crowd-control is top of the mind for the event, that usually draws more than 15,000 people to the Deschutes County Fairgrounds.

“We can hold the event as a retail show, because we can control the crowd,” he said. It’s our opportunity to demonstrate to folks how we can hold this show safely. We will control the amount of folks so there is no crowding. That is the key.”

What that means is that ticketholders will be given a time slot to attend — about a 3 to 3 ½- hour slot — to see everything. There will be three time slots each day of the event, from March 11-14.

Six-feet of social distancing will be enforced when visiting booths, and there will be sanitation stations ever present. Masks must be worn the entire time while visiting the fairgrounds.

The big question is the artificial trout pond for kids to catch a live trout.

“We usually have kids three- to four-deep at the pond. We’re trying to come up with a way to better handle that,” Carksadon said.

New this year will be an outdoor cooking competition, “grillers and barbequers,” he said.

This will be the 22nd Annual Central Oregon Sportsmen’s Show staged by O’Loughlin Trade shows. The firm is testing the waters in Tacoma with an RV show, then the Bend show and finally its main event in Portland at the end of March.

Exhibits will include: A boat show; RV show; kids’ trout pond; fly tying instructions; outdoors adventure seminars; outdoor survival seminars, horse and mule packing seminars; camp cooking instructions; heads and horns competition; more than 40 hours of seminars a day; award-winning taxidermy; live walleye demo tank and seminars; Oregon state indoor archery competition; and Oregon state elk calling championship. Parking is free.

Tickets will only be available online (touchless ticketing) and will be on sale starting Feb. 15. This reduces attendees contact with ticketing and ticket takers.

For details and ticket

information, visit: www.TheSportShows.com

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