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The show floor is crowded during last year’s Illinois Deer & Turkey Expo. Photo by Chris Young.

One weekend; two big outdoor shows

February 13, 2014 at 01:39 PM

The State Journal-Register

Outdoors enthusiasts can come inside next weekend, and not feel the least bit guilty.

Two large outdoors sports shows will take place simultaneously in Springfield.

The 2014 Field & Stream Deer & Turkey Expo will be held at the Prairie Capital Convention Center, Ninth and Adams streets, on Feb. 21-23. Meanwhile, The Boat Show in Springfield will be held at the Orr Building at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.

Jeff Smith, organizer of The Boat Show, said having the events on the same weekend should be mutually beneficial.

“It will bring people into town because there is more going on,” he said. “They are three-day events, so people will have time to go to both.”

Field & Stream Deer & Turkey Expo

The Expo is making its return trip to Springfield. An estimated 12,000 people attended the 2013 show, its first appearance in Springfield since the late 1990s.

This year, organizers plan to take full advantage of extra space created by a multi-million dollar expansion project at the PCCC.

“The new lobby will be a great benefit — particularly in cold weather — because we can put people inside so they don’t have to stand outside and wait to buy tickets,” said the show’s executive director Glenn Helgeland.

He said additional exhibit space and new bathrooms on the main floor all are big improvements, and that other changes are designed to improve traffic flow and help visitors find exhibits on both floors.

“We’re doing everything we can to make people understand there are two floors to this Expo,” Helgeland said.

To help direct traffic, Helgeland said some deer mounts will be strategically located near the base of the ramps between floors.

“If we put deer heads on display, hunters will find them,” he said. “We will do everything we can to encourage flow between floors.”

About 250 trophy deer mounts were entered in the show last year, and about the same number are expected this time.

The Boat Show in Springfield

Once again, promoter Jeff Smith will shoehorn every boat he can into the Orr Building at the fairgrounds.

“It is packed and I’ve people calling still,” he said. “I hate to turn anybody away, but it is sold out. But that’s perfect because it gives people a lot of boats to look at.”

Of special interest this year are towboats built for competitive water skiing, wake boarding and the relatively new sport of wake surfing. Smith said the Springfield market should get to see a lot more boats in this category this year. There also are clinics coming up geared to teaching the various sports.

Smith said fishing boats, pontoon boats and runabouts will be on display.

This year, dealers represented range from a new business in Taylorville to a family-owned business in Raymond that is marking 50 years in the industry. Hank’s Sales & Service, Inc. in Raymond started selling boats and motors in 1964.

Smith said it will be a weekend of plenty to do for outdoors enthusiasts.

“It’s an all outdoors crowd,” he said. “It’s all hunters, fishermen, boaters and others. I think the shows will complement each other.”

Deer & Turkey Expo highlights

Ask the Experts Tech Information Center

Bring your questions for experts on firearms, archery, slug guns and muzzleloaders and optics.

Trick archer Byron Ferguson

Ferguson will give two performances on both Saturday and Sunday.

Locked antlers display

Twenty-nine sets of locked antlers will be on display.

Flint knapping

Mark McDaniel of Metamore will demonstrate the process of chipping arrowheads, knives and spear points.

Shooting ranges

Archery, airgun and laser shooting ranges are primarily for kids, but are open to anyone. The shooting distance is 30 feet. Safety gear is provided and qualified instructors will staff the range.

Photo contests

An outdoor photo contest and trail camera photo contest are open to amateur photographers. A general-admission ticket allows entry into the contest.

Pictures can be brought to the show from 2 p.m. Friday until 11 a.m. Saturday.

Illinois State Turkey Calling & Owl Hooting Championship

The competition will be held Feb. 22. Callers must be National Wild Turkey Federation members to participate.

Register from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the NWTF booth.

For more information, e-mail Gary Eichenberger at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Show hours and prices:

2014 Illinois Deer & Turkey Expo

Feb. 21-23

Prairie Capital Convention Center
1 Convention Center Plaza

Adult single day: $14, $11 with coupon
Adult two-day: $22
Military single day: $13
Hunter education graduate: $10 with proof of course
Hunter Education instructor: free
First year hunter: free
Youth: 6-11 $4, free on Friday night
Youth five and under free
Trophy contest: $20 includes admission

Feb. 21: 2-9 p.m.
Feb. 22: 9 a.m.-7 p.m.
Feb. 23: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
For more information, visit

The Boat Show in Springfield

Feb. 21-23
Orr Building
Illinois State Fairgrounds

$5 at the door
Children 12 and under are free
Parking is free.

Feb. 21: 2-9 p.m.
Feb. 22: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Feb. 23: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

For more information, call 341-1730 or e-mail: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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