May 26 • 04:06 AM

Celebrate our outdoor heritage with us

August 27, 2008
I remember our first Woods-N-Water News Outdoor Weekend as if it were just yesterday. Maybe 2,000 people attended the very first show. It overwhelmed me and our small staff at the time. To us it felt like a crowd of 20,000 visited. We walked away knowing we had stumbled onto something with potential.

The first show was 22 years ago, and we are still putting together plans for yet another "Outdoor Weekend" at the same location, (the Eastern Michigan Fair-grounds, Imlay City) and like always the first weekend after Labor Day, September 5-7.

My, how time flies!

And even though our staff is still relatively small, we have learned to cope with the ever-growing crowds we draw, over 15,000 show-goers last year. I'm pretty proud of what we have been able to accomplish and thanks of course to everyone in our office and the community of Imlay City. What started out as a promotional idea for our fledgling outdoor publication has now grown to a respectable size.

Another area we are proud of is being able to keep the price to attend low, it remains $7 per adult and 12 and under free. It is also free to park.

We expect to improve this year's show, as we have tried to do each and every year. We promise to have timely and informative seminar speakers, quality outdoor merchandise to purchase, entertainment and lots of hands on things to see and do. Like the past few shows we expect all available space to be sold out, well over 175 exhibitors.

One of the new features this year is that someone who attends the show will walk away with a brand new Arctic Cat ATV! Simply by filling out a registration form we will draw a winner randomly. The registration forms will be available at the Woods-N-Water News "Welcome Tent" just inside the ticket booths at the fairgrounds. Then take a short walk down to the Arctic Cat display on the east end of the fairgrounds and place it in the large tumbler for the drawing on Sunday, (September 7th) at 3 p.m.. You must be 18 years old, there is no purchase required, and you need not be present to win. If the winner is not present we will call the person on the spot to see if they want the ATV, if not, we'll draw again.

The Ultimate Air Dog Games is also returning and has become a very popular event. Former Detroit Tiger pitcher, Milt Wilcox, will crown a new champion for what has become a respected national competition, with competitors from all over the country. If you have a dog that loves to jump, there is a chance he/she could find their way into the finals, by qualifying on Friday night.

It's hard to come to the Outdoor Weekend without a walk through the "Puppy Tent" loaded with hunting breed dogs for sale. Arkat Nutrition will also be on hand with free food samples once you've purchased your new pal. Oh, and don't be mad at us if the kids find a pup too cute not to take home.

Bill Yoder has Forest, his 7 1/2 year old buck ready to put on a great show at the Outdoor Weekend September 5-7.

There is a lot for everyone in the entire family to enjoy, great carnival type food, as well as traditional buffalo burgers, turkey drumsticks, jerky and venison stick samples. It's also a great opportunity for the kids of all ages to see live whitetail deer, and other exotic animals. This is a favorite attraction and one you won't want to miss or visit one more time to see world class trophy whitetail bucks.

Of course, much of the credit to the success we have enjoyed has to be given to Tom Campbell, my business partner and Woods-N-Water News editor. Tom makes every effort to put together the kind of show you have become accustomed to enjoying. He is dedicated to keeping the exhibitor space and the gate costs low.

Hand-in-hand with Tom's efforts, is the list of loyal sponsors, Arctic Cat (Thief Rivers, Minnesota), Lumberjack Shack (Imlay City), Exmark, (Beatrice, Nebraska), Ray C's Sports Center, (Lapeer), Freeway Sports Center, (Fenton), Chapman's Sports (Lapeer), Arkat Nutrition, (Arkansas), and there are a few more we hope to add to our list of sponsors this year.

The Eastern Michigan Fairgrounds Board of Management has always been cooperative, as has the City of Imlay City and the police and fire departments. Plus the contribution our staff makes to the show is also a key contributing factor to our success.

There have been some changes in the layout this year. The fairgrounds has gone through another round of improvements and some of those have forced us to move some attractions to the east end of the fairgrounds. The frontier encampment and civil war encampment area has been moved, but we think you will appreciate the new area. Not only has the primitive skills area been enlarged it has been improved with new attractions.

Most of the plans are in place for this year's Outdoor Weekend, but as always, there are still many loose ends to tie up. We are appreciative of our exhibitors, sponsors and show-goers, so mark your calendars for September, 5th, 6th and 7th. The Outdoor Weekend opens on Friday, Sept. 5 at 5 p.m. and closes at 9 p.m. On Saturday the show hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

All of us here at the Woods-N-Water News look forward to seeing you all again, same place, same time and same price.

(Editor's Note: For more information visit our website at: or

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