This year’s Wichita Sport Show will be absent one waterskiing squirrel. But to replace Twiggy, the event will feature about 2,000 trout.
Event organizers have dug a roughly 40-by-90-foot pond in the Kansas Pavilions, stocked with trout just waiting to be caught by an expert angler or a 5-year-old first-timer, said Jeff Pritchard, the show’s director.
“If you catch a fish and you want to keep it, they’ll clean it for you and send it home with you,” Pritchard said. “The way it looks, we’ve got room for 2,000 fishermen.”
The event begins Thursday and runs through Sunday at the Kansas Pavilions, 1279 E. 85th St. North in Park City.
Kansas State University and Wichita State University’s fishing teams will bring pontoon boats to float on the lake, from which people can fish. People can visit the sponsor booths located throughout the venue to get a free ticket to fish on the boats. Rods will be provided.
The show – which for about the past 40 years was called the Kansas Sports, Boat and Travel Show – is looking to make a fresh start, Pritchard said. It has a new owner, and this year, all of the vendors joined to form the Wichita Outdoor Sports Marketing Association, which is organizing the event, he said.
“It’s neat that they’re competitors, but they come together for the good of the association,” he said.
The spokeswoman for this year’s show is Theresa Vail, who received national attention after placing in the Top 10 at the Miss America 2014 pageant.
Vail, who has served in a Kansas Army National Guard medical detachment, is an avid archer and outdoorswoman. Her television show on the Outdoors Channel, “Limitless With Theresa Vail,” is scheduled to debut in July.
In addition to the trout fishing, there will be cooking demonstrations by Eagle outdoors writer Michael Pearce; scuba diving lessons; music; and myriad boats, RVs, tractors, motorcycles and other outdoor equipment from area dealers.
If you go
What: Wichita Sport Show
When: 5-9 p.m. Thursday, noon-9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday
Where: Kansas Pavilions, 1279 E. 85th St. North, Park City
How much: $10 for ages 16 and older; $5 for ages 9-15, and free for ages 8 and younger. A 50 percent discount is available for members of the military, police departments, fire departments and emergency medical services. Discounts are also offered to workers in the aircraft industry and in Wichita public schools. Tickets may be purchased at the door or online at www.wichitasportshow.com.
▪ Cooking with Wichita Eagle outdoors writer Michael Pearce. Demonstrations at 7 p.m. Thursday; 2, 5 and 7 p.m. Friday; noon, 4 and 7 p.m. Saturday; and 1 p.m. Sunday. Copies of “Michael Pearce’s Taste of Kansas Outdoors Cookbook” will be available.
▪ Pickin’ at the Teepee, acoustic concerts by members of the Kansas Bluegrass Association, at 7 p.m. Friday; 1, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday.
For more information and a complete schedule of events, visit www.wichitasportshow.com.