Western Colorado Outdoor & Sportsman’s Expo celebrates all that’s great about the state’s great outdoors | SummitDaily.com

Western Colorado Outdoor & Sportsman’s Expo celebrates all that’s great about the state’s great outdoors

A U.S.Forest Service pack string ventures into the wilderness. Glen Ryan, a mule packer with 27 years of experience and stories will be one of the featured guest at the Western Colorado Outdoor & Sportsman Expo Saturday and Sunday, April 6 and 7, at the Eagle River Center at the Eagle County Fairgrounds.

EAGLE — Enjoying the outdoors is a quintessential part of the Colorado mountain lifestyle.

So, it only stands to reason that the central mountains region is a prime location to celebrate everything that’s spectacular about the state’s outdoor opportunities. That’s what the Western Colorado Outdoor & Sportsman Expo is all about.

The two-day event, planned Saturday and Sunday, April 7 and 8, at the Eagle River Center at the Eagle County Fairgrounds, will feature everything from big-game hunting to mushroom foraging to stand-up paddleboarding. The expo will showcase a plethora of play options, with expert advice, engaging demonstrations and giveaways as part of the schedule.

The expo is the brainchild of Holli Snyder, events manager for Colorado Mountain News Media. After successfully launching events including the Western Slope Home Show, Free Family Fun Fair, Winter Market and Holiday Fair and the popular Pink Colorado and Boots on Broadway public art displays, Snyder decided this spring was time to finally bring an outdoor expo to town. The event schedule for the inaugural expo won’t disappoint.

“So many people have told me they have always wanted to go elk hunting or they would like to try fly-fishing, but they don’t know where to start. This event will give people the place to start,” Snyder said.

Simplicity Stand Up Paddleboards will be on hand for the Western Colorado Outdoor & Sportsman's Expo. The company has donated two long boards as door prizes for the event.

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What’s more, for the first time in many years, central Colorado residents can participate in popular outdoor expo offerings without trekking all the way to Denver or Salt Lake City.

A U.S.Forest Service pack string ventures into the wilderness. Glen Ryan, a mule packer with 27 years of experience and stories will be one of the featured guest at the Western Colorado Outdoor & Sportsman Expo Saturday and Sunday, April 6 and 7, at the Eagle River Center at the Eagle County Fairgrounds.[/caption]

Prime participants

The Western Colorado Outdoor & Sportsman Expo has attracted some marquee participants for the inaugural event.

Glen Ryan, lead packer with the U.S. Forest Service specialty pack string, is one example. Ryan has compiled a 27-year career as a government mule packer.

“His demonstrations are full of useful packing tips and colorful stories of a lifetime working with horses and mules,” Snyder said.

Rick Takahasi is an author, artist and renowned fly-fisherman. He displays his skills at local and regional venues such as the Denver Fly Show, West Denver Trout Unlimited Fly Tying Clinic, International Sportsmen Exhibition, Federation of Fly Fisherman Conclave and at various regional fly shops near Denver.

ookside Gun Dogs is a family-owned training and boarding company that has been in business for 30 years. Their demonstrations feature the process and drills that they use to train a retriever to follow whistles and hand signals to do a blind retrieve. When Brookside has finished its work, retrievers can recover downed birds that they never saw fall.

Kelli Jackson formed her company, called AnglHer, because she wanted to fill the void of fishing apparel designed and cut for women.

“She then extended the business model to include hosted fly-fishing trips and education classes, with hopes of building a community of women who wanted to learn, travel and fish in a comfortable environment,” Snyder said.

Colorado is home to mushroom bounty prized by chefs and connoisseurs. Trent and Kristen Blizzard, founders of http://www.modern-forager.com, will share pictures, advice and tips to help prospective foragers find baskets of success.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Great American Elk Tour Display, the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife shooting trailer, the Classic Air Medical helicopter, various Humphrey’s RV models and even Smokey Bear also will be on site.

“This expo is different from anything that we have ever seen in this region,” Snyder said. “It will be a celebration of our outdoor heritage and a great time to gear up for the summer so everyone can take advantage of all the Colorado backcountry has to offer.”

Tickets

Attendees can save on their admission price and help a local nonprofit by purchasing tickets in advance. Through Friday, April 6, tickets are $5, and 100 percent of the proceeds from advance sales will go to one of seven organizations:

• Casting for Recovery

• Force Fly Fishing

• Eagle Valley Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

• Roaring Fork Conservancy

• Trout Unlimited

• Wilderness Workshop

• Eagle River Watershed Council

Tickets are $8 at the door on Saturday and Sunday. While the various vendor booths and most activities will be held inside the Eagle River Center, some expo events will happen outside. Please dress accordingly.

To learn more about the Western Colorado Outdoor & Sportsman’s Expo, visit the event website at westcoexpo.com.