The biggest hunting and fishing exposition ever to be held in the Rio Grande Valley is set for this coming weekend, July 20, 21 and 22 at the new McAllen Civic Center. This is the only show of its kind south of San Antonio and north of Monterrey Mexico. "We are really excited about this year, because this is our first year to be in the new Civic Center," said Chris Curl, who with his brother Justin is co-director of the expo. "We have been doing this for 16 years, and this 17th annual show will double in size."
Chris and Justin are carrying on a family tradition that began with their father when he organized the first show in 1991. "Our father Jerry started the show after he attended a hunting expo in Houston, and he decided it would be great to bring an expo to the Valley," said Chris.
The Curls, who are from McAllen, have been organizing the show ever since, and each year the expo seems to get bigger and better. Their dad passed away seven years ago, and his sons are sure he would be thrilled to see how the show has grown. "I really think he would be really, really proud of us and what we have done," Chris said. "This is something he started, and it went from the small building to the big building at the old center. Next it took both buildings and then we started going to the parking lot. Now, we have changed venues and doubled in size filling up every spot and still have phone calls coming in, but we don't have any more room."
This year's extravaganza will feature more than 225 exhibits spanning the entire range of hunting and fishing outfitters from local to exotic with all the latest equipment available from lures to boats and from guns to four wheel drive vehicles.
The trade show features guides and outfitters from across the United States, Canada, Mexico and Africa, booking hunts for trophy whitetail deer, big game, exotics, bear, nilgai, quail, dove, waterfowl, trophy bass fishing and more. Manufactures and dealers will be on hand offering hunting blinds, feeders, custom knives, boats, rods, reels and all the clothing and accessories needed for your outdoor adventure.
"The main idea in bringing a show to the Valley is to bring different companies with different items you can't find anywhere else under one roof and with special discount prices. There is no middle man. You are getting it straight from the manufacturer or outfitter, and you are getting a bottom line price for a top quality product."
That first expo in 1991 drew some 7,000 people and this years three day event is expected to attract more than 20,000. "One of the things we are doing this year that we haven't done in the past is the admission price is good for all weekend. L&F Distributors has sponsored the wrist bands so you pay one time and get in all weekend free. This will give you the chance to come back as many times as you want. This will give you the chance to see the show again, and I guarantee you will see something you missed the first time around."
There will also be plenty of free food and many, many door prizes. Just by attending the expo you could win the trip of a lifetime. "We are going to five away a lot more prizes this year. They will range in value from $10 to $3,000. The expo has teamed up with The Adventure Sporting Group to give away white wing and bass fishing trips to Mexico. There will be several fishing trips to Mexico, Port Mansfield, and the Island. We will be giving away several shotguns and all sorts of fishing gear from custom rods and reels to lures."
Thanks to the folks at L&F there will also plenty of free food to sample as you stroll the exhibits. "We are going to have free wild game cooking, pan de campo and cabrito roasting compliments of L&F."
The expo has always been geared toward the entire family, and many exhibits will interest the ladies and children. "We have a ladies camouflage company coming from out of state, and there will also be a large selection of jewelry and ladies bags," Chris said. Artwork will be available from several different artists including the Valley's own Don Breeden from Brownsville who has an extraordinary portfolio of wildlife art. African artwork will also be on display along with a variety of antler furniture.
"We are also going to have for the fist time in the Valley Joe Martin's live rattlesnake pit. He is going to have 200 rattlesnakes in the pit. This is a new guy who does shows across the country. Now, since we have a bigger arena, he's coming down with his crew, and this is something the Valley has never seen. He is very informative and knowledgeable about snakes. He will talk to the children and answer questions. It's not what we call a daredevil show, but more of an informative show."
Another exciting attraction will feature master dog trainer Paul Cordova of Harlingen who runs La Paloma Retrievers. Paul is an exceptional dog trainer, and his retrievers have garnered numerous national awards. He will have a variety of hunting dogs performing for the public's enjoyment. "Paul is an experienced, first class trainer, and if you are a bird shooter, you could not have anyone better train your dog," said Chris.
Anyone interested in a boat or off road vehicle will have plenty to choose from. Dargel boats of Donna will have a huge display of boats for sale at special show prices. "If you are looking for a Land Rover, then Los Ramirez Boys will have them on hand. Spikes Ford and Toyota will be there, and if you want a Hummer then Bert Ogden will have them.
Amazon Tours will be at the expo for the first time, and if you have ever wanted to see the wild and beautiful Amazon basin and catch huge peacock bass then this is your chance to book a trip with the best. I have fished with them and highly recommend an expedition with Amazon Tours. The tropical scenery is breathtaking, the fishing fabulous and the food and lodging fantastic.
"One of the most amazing things to me is to see a guy come to the show, and when he leaves the show he's got something in his hand that he bought that he couldn't buy anywhere else in the Valley. He's happy, and I feel like we did our job when I see that," said Chris.
The dates for the Texas Hunters and Sportsman's Expo being held at the McAllen Civic Center are July 20, 21 and 22. The Civic Center is located at the corner of Expressway 83 and Ware Rd. If you would like more information about the Expo the number to call is 664-2884 or visit the website at www.texashunterassociation.com
Copyright 2007 Richard Moore