What is the first thing that comes to mind after attending the Ducks Unlimited Great Outdoor Festival in Memphis, Tennessee.
"FAMILY" -- That is the bottom line of what this event is all about. Families from every state in the region were enjoying great outdoor activities together. No one event across the United States shows how strong families and the great outdoors are woven together.
With great outdoor activities for every member of the family to see and take part in and in such great quantity it would amazing to hear that anyone person could attend all the events at this great outdoor festival in one day.
To give you a short list of what was at the Great Outdoor Festival this year:
Shooting Sports Village -- Shotgun, Rifle, Pistol, Air Rifle Ranges and Exhibition Shooting area.
Archery Village -- Youth and Adult 3D archery range, and Exhibition Shooting area.
Fishing Village -- Fly Fishing classes, and canoe and kayak areas.
Biking & Camping Village -- Climbing walls, and off road bike track.
Hunting Dog Village -- Handler demonstrations, and Retrieval training classes.
ATV Village -- Fishing pool for kids along with test-drive ATV's for adults and kids.
4x4 Village -- Test-drive and see the latest sport utility vehicles and 4x4 trucks, and some you did not even know they existed.
Conservation Village -- Local, regional, national conservation efforts and agencies and youth activity center.
Exhibitors -- With hundreds of new and favorite companies to show their new and existing products, available to buy and/or see first hand for every type of outdoor activity.
That is the short list of activities that I was able to see and my family was able to participate in at the festival for two days and still did not see and do everything I wanted.
Don't let the Ducks Unlimited throw you off, even with everything for the waterfowl hunter under the sun on hand. This is just not an event for the waterfowl hunter either. At the Great Outdoors Festival they had events, products, activities and organizations for the deer hunter, turkey hunter, or any type of hunter, woods or on the water on hand for you to see or try out first hand.
Why Not! Like I said before, with everything under the sun to do and see.
Well, I was just like you, I had never been to one until last year and that was a last minute plan with just a few friends. But, after that first year I planned for my family to attend. This year both the wife and my son had a great time even with the temperature reaching into the 90's they had areas to cool off and to take break when needed.
Along with the friends from last year brought there families also and even commenting that this event was better than going to Six Flags for a day. It makes for a great 3-day vacation.
Well we got a little later start than we wanted to but that is the way typical family is headed out for a weekend. If you do attend there is a ton of parking but you need to get there early to avoid the main heat of the day and to get a little closer parking spot.
People from across the country had driven in and flew in for this event. Nothing you can imagine can prepare you for a show like this unless you have been before and you and your family will want to go back next year.
WHO DO YOU KNOW AT THE SHOW?
Well I am not going to list every manufacturer, supplier or outdoor personalities at the show that would be impossible, but I will list a several so you get an idea. Bill Jordan's Realtree, Stampede Products, Primos Hunting Calls, Outland Sports, Crockett Creek Beef Jerkey, Suzuki, Chevy, Nissan, Duck Commander, Creative Pet Products, Fortress Safes, CamoClad, CamoMat, Eukanuba, Marshall's Outdoor Products, The Single Action Shooting Society, Insta Tree Stands, Scentleaf, Camoshades, Rhino Linings, Marshall Outdoor Products, Wildrose Kennels, Arctic Shield and Light'n Sights.
For the outdoor personalities, it had to be the place to be of the hunting world for individuals to meet your favorite. Butch Jordan and Scott Hughes with Realtree, Jimmie Primos and Duke Turnage with Primos Hunting Calls, Bill Dance host of Bill Dance Outdoors, Tom Knapp world famous Exhibition Shooter, Phil Robertson -- The Duck Commander, Michael Stewart -- Wildrose Kennel Team, Billy Adams -- Lohman Game Calls part of Outland Sports Gold Staff, and Eli Haydel -- Haydel Game Calls. You can honestly say the pro-staff and manufacture representatives for almost every company was on hand to answer questions.
The No. 1 outdoor personalities that were on hand for this event were the hundreds of Great Outdoors Festivals Volunteers.
By far you could take away the rest of the outdoor personalities on hand at this event and still have a great time.
But the volunteers that work throughout the heat for all three days, there would be no event at all.
They deserve more credit than anyone could ever give them and are the true stars at this event and the reason the outdoors will always be a strong. I would like to thank them all for everything they did.
The only thing I regret when I was leaving the show not attending the show for all three days. The main reason I did not get to talk to everyone or get to see every single new product now out. You just cannot do it in one or even two days. But will take what I can get.
GOING TO MISS IT AGAIN? -- June 4, 5 and 6
With events like this, I will say that the heritage of hunting and the great outdoors may be under attack. But, it is strong in tradition, families, and companies trying to keep it alive! Just in case you want to get a head start for next year.
Go to www.dugof.com and bookmark that page and find out when the next year will come around.
I am glad that I was able to take my family and friends to such an event like this and hope I will again.
Hope to see you in the woods or on the water and even at the Ducks Unlimited Great Outdoor Festival June 4, 5 and 6.