Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ultimate Sport Show - Grand Rapids: Michigan’s Biggest & Longest Running Outdoor Show

Show time! The Ultimate Sport Show
Grand Rapids is March 17-21

Michigan's biggest outdoor show is also state's longest-running

GRAND RAPIDS – Tired of winter? Michigan’s oldest and largest outdoor sport show ushers in spring, March 17 to 21. That’s when the Ultimate Sport Show—Grand Rapids comes to DeVos Place, 303 Monroe St. NW for its annual four-day run.

Michigan's biggest show for hunters and anglers was first held in 1946. This year's 66th edition is shaping up to be the best ever for new outdoor gear, features, seminar leaders, fishing boats and specialty vendors, including many major company exhibits.

"This is the Big One," said Adam Starr, event manager for ShowSpan, Inc., which produces the show. "All roads lead to Grand Rapids. Besides West Michigan, show patrons come from throughout the state as well as Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Ontario."

With so many events on the outdoor show circuit, what is it about the Ultimate Sport Show that makes attendees anxious for winter to end?

"Stuff" of the Show: The 200,000 square-foot DeVos place will be loaded with more than 100 booths of fishing tackle, including one-of-a-kind vendors whose baits and lures are seen only once each year. Leading manufacturers have reserved space for their new products. Many will have company experts on hand to explain features and answer questions with no pressure to buy.

The show has a reputation for educating the public as well as being a veritable supermarket of product choice and value for the show season's best buys for the male, female and youth anglers.

A dozen fishing boat dealers are bringing bass boats, walleye boats, pontoons, offshore trolling packages, river steelheading boats, canoes and kayaks.

More than 100 outfitters, lodges, fishing and hunting guides, and family vacation destinations are in the show, along with many other exhibitors.

Seminars: More than 100 free hunting and fishing seminars will be held on four stages, including Lake Ultimate, the 110,000-gallon indoor lake with fully rigged boats from which fishing experts deliver real-time seminars. Fee-based weekend Super Clinics for walleye and trout/salmon are part of the lineup. Mark Martin, Denny Geurink and Mark Romanack are among many Michigan experts with national reputations.

The father-son team of Fred and Greg Abbas, whitetail and turkey experts respectively, will be on hand to impart their specialized knowledge. Local fishing guides will demonstrate their successful tactics on Lake Ultimate and other stages.

Calling Competitions: The Grand Valley Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation will hose its annual Turkey Hunting Workshop from 10:00 a.m. to Noon on Saturday. The workshop and the 16th Annual Grand Rapids Open Turkey Calling Competition, that evening from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., are both free with admission.

Also on Saturday, the public is invited to compete and attend the 4th Annual Great Lakes Duck & Goose Calling Competition, presented by Ducks Unlimited. Amateur Division competition begins at 1:00 p.m., followed by Open Division competition about 3:00 p.m. Registration and more details are at

Stage Show Features: Between seminars, Lake Ultimate becomes a stage show. Former Detroit Tigers pitcher Milt Wilcox will host Ultimate Air Dogs, the Big Air show of leaping Labrador retrievers and other athletic canines. Wilcox and Sparky, his black Lab named for the great Tigers manager, Sparky Anderson, will lead demonstrations in both distance jumping and extreme vertical leaping. The public is invited to register their dogs at .

Big Buck Night West: Celebrity hosts Jimmy Gretzinger and Jenny Olson will host “Big Buck Night West” on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. Special guest Tony Gates of WLAV-FM will help them interview successful deer hunters. The cameras will be taping for future Michigan Out-of-Doors TV programs.

Special Features: Hundreds of professional mounts of birds, fish and game by members of the Michigan Taxidermist Association, which holds its annual convention during the show, will be on display at no charge for ticket-holders.

The Woodland Woodcarvers return by popular demand. Grand River Fly Tyers, Fish Cleaning Demonstrations by the Grand Rapids Steelheaders, and free Fly Casting Instruction by Glen Blackwood of the Great Lakes Flyfishing Co. are other popular features to return.

Huge displays of antique and classic fishing tackle, vintage Coleman camping products, sporting collectibles and outboard motors and boats from days gone by are part of the show. Patrons are encouraged to bring their own artifacts for free appraisal by experts.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Department will teach an Off-Road Vehicle Safety Certification course on Saturday from Noon to 5:00 p.m. There is no charge for the class, required of all youth under age 16 who wish to operate an ORV. More information is available at After the class, students are offered free admission to the show, which is open until 9:00 p.m. that evening.

More Family Entertainment: Kids of all ages will enjoy plinking at the Pellet Shooting Range, tackling the 25-foot-high Rock Climb, catching a live rainbow from the Trout Pond, or going up against a 60-pound salmon on the Virtual Fishing Simulator. These hands-on events charge a nominal fee with proceeds donated to charities.

Veteran anglers from the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation will teach youngsters how to use spinfishing gear. Kids can bring their own equipment or use rods and reels provided by the clubs. There is no charge for instruction or for the annual KidsCasting competition held on the weekend

Special Promotions: Bring a sack of non-perishable food items (4 lbs. or 6 boxes/cans for the Tony Gates/MSAH Food Drive on Thursday, March 17 and get in free, that night only.

Be among the first 500 attendees on Thursday and Friday and receive a $6.95 commemorative Dardevle fishing spoon from Eppinger Mfg. Co. in Dearborn. On Saturday and Sunday, the first 250 patrons will receive a free fish scaler from the Carlisle Float Company, also in Michigan.

Show hours are Thursday, from 3:00 to 9:30; Friday, from 11:00 to 9:30; Saturday from 10:00 to 9:00; and Sunday from 10:00 to 5:00. Admission is $10 for adults and $4 for children 6 to 14. Kids 5 and under get in free.

Discount coupons are available at downtown merchants, the Grand Rapids Press, and Wendy’s restaurants.

For Exibitors:

Contact: Tom Huggler, Publicist (989) 714-1407

Henri Boucher, show producer

Adam Starr, show manager

(800) 328-6550 / (616) 447-2860

Book Michigan First!

With 66 years of tradition our Ultimate Sport Show - Grand Rapids continues to be recognized by exhibitors across North America as the show where true sportsmen come to buy. Michigan is rated as the top marketing territory for freshwater fishing related products and services. Over 100,000 Michigan Sportsmen and their families will be at our Sports Shows. Will you? This is your opportunity to join hundreds of aggressive businesses that have discovered the power of the Michigan outdoor market!

Qualified Buyers!

46 yrs - Average age

91% Homeowners

58% Own a truck

85% Own a computer

82% Earn over $40,000

76% Came to the show to shop for fishing tackle

Serious Sportsmen!

58% Gathered trip info at show

75% Take an outdoor vacation every year

76% Boat owners

46 Days - Average number of days spent fishing annually

4 Hours - Average number of hours spent at the 2010 show

DeVos Place Facts:

160,000 sq. ft. column-free exhibit hall (3 football fields!)

75’ high glass enclosed “Grand Gallery”

No pillars

Underground parking

3 BIG move-in doors

Michigan's premier show venue!

(Ultimate Fishing Show Floor Plan)

Grand Rapids Area Market Stats:

Over 300,000 fishing licenses sold within one hour’s drive of DeVos Place annually.

Michigan’s second largest market with over 1,000,000 people and the state’s most avid sportsmen!

This is one of my favorite Michigan fishing shows and I plan on attending - hope to see you all there as well! 
Tight Lines and Fun Times!  Shes So Fly


Sports Good said...

Your post really helped me to understand this. It has great details and yet it is easy to understand.That's what i was looking for. I will definitely share it with others.Thanks for sharing.

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More