Game & Fish Outdoor Expo shatters attendance records

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Game & Fish Outdoor Expo shatters attendance records

4/3/08


PHOENIX — The numbers are in—and the Arizona Game and Fish Department's 2008 Outdoor Expo drew a record 26,000 people last weekend, far exceeding last year's attendance of 17,000.
More than 18,000 people visited on Saturday, March 29 and 8,000 on Sunday, March 30. The event was held at the 1,600-acre Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix, a world-renowned five-star range that is listed as a Phoenix Point of Pride.

Joann Hill of Arizona Game and Fish works with a young angler at the kids' fishing tank."We host the Expo each year to showcase the incredible outdoor resources and recreational opportunities Arizona has to offer," said Ty Gray, assistant director for information and education for Arizona Game and Fish. "The family event gives outdoor enthusiasts and novices a hands-on chance to experience and learn about wildlife viewing, shooting sports, archery, fishing, hunting, conservation, camping, and off-highway vehicle and boating recreation."

Exhibition shooter "Evil Roy" demonstrates cowboy action shooting for the crowd.Expo activities were concentrated in four different locations throughout the Ben Avery range and included the chance to try out firearms from different manufacturers, shoot a bow and arrow, view live wildlife, test-drive off-highway vehicles, do activities on an outdoor education nature trail, learn about boating safety, attend outdoor workshops, and catch a fish at the kids' catch-and-release fish tank. Nearly 1,300 children, accompanied by about 2,000 parents and adult chaperones, tried out the fishing tank over the weekend.

Visitors also had a chance to visit with more than 150 exhibitors, including conservation organizations, government agencies, and commercial vendors of outdoor products and services.

Expo attendees were able to visit with more than 150 exhibitors.In addition to the weekend Expo, the department held its first pre-Expo "Youth Day" on Friday, March 28. About 600 pre-registered children and 200 teachers, chaperones and parents attended the event, which focused on wildlife and conservation education.

"As our population becomes increasingly urbanized, and as competition arises for leisure time in the digital age, there's a risk that people, especially kids, will lose their connection with the outdoors. This event helps reconnect people so they'll have an interest in enjoying and conserving Arizona's outdoor heritage," said Gray.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department held its first Outdoor Expo in 2004, with about 1,000 people attending. This past weekend's Expo was the fourth year the department has hosted this free event for the public.

Young rock climbers test their skills on the climbing wall.Gold sponsors of the 2008 Arizona Game and Fish Department Outdoor Expo were Sportsman's Warehouse, the Weatherby Foundation, and the American Red Cross, Grand Canyon Chapter. Silver sponsors were Bass Pro Shops, Cabela's, Lincoln Property Company and Sundt.

Next year's Outdoor Expo will be held March 28-29, 2009, at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility. Organizations wishing to be sponsors or vendors can call Event Coordinator Tristanna Bickford at (623) 236-7241.

To view photos of the 2008 Outdoor Expo, visit www.azgfd.gov/expo and click on the "Expo Photos" button.

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The Arizona Game and Fish Department prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, or disability in its programs and activities. If anyone believes that they have been discriminated against in any of the AGFD's programs or activities, including employment practices, they may file a complaint with the Deputy Director, 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix, AZ 85086-5000, (602) 942-3000, or with the Fish and Wildlife Service, 4040 N. Fairfax Dr. Ste. 130, Arlington, VA 22203. Persons with a disability may request a reasonable accommodation or this document in an alternative format by contacting the Deputy Director as listed above.


Media Contact:
Tom Cadden (623) 236-7392
 


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