According to organizers, approximately 17,900 people attended this year's 2015 Calgary Boat and Sportsmen's Show in early February at the BMO Centre, Stampede Park in Calgary, Alberta. The event's attendance was down approximately 5.8 percent from the 19,000 reported in 2014.
The dip in attendance is understandable given the drop in oil prices, bringing with it the threat of layoffs in the province's oilsands industry. Another challenge is Canada's comparatively weaker dollar against the US greenback. During the course of the show (February 5 to 8) the Canadian dollar dropped from just a sliver above US $0.80 to US $0.79.
Despite those challenges the Calgary Boat Show's special attractions still brought out consumers in force.
"It was wonderful to see so many families attend this year's show,' said John Baldwin, Alberta Regional Manager. "Hundreds of kids participated in the Kid's Scavenger Hunt and took the time to take in many of the family-friendly exhibits and features including the Tigger X Kid's Fishing Pond, the Alberta Birds of Prey presentations and the Alberta Hunter Education Instructor's Association exhibits. It is encouraging to see that so many are passionate about nature and the outdoors and they are doing what they can to inspire and pass on their love of the outdoors to younger generations.'
The show featured $20 million in boats and marine products on display. Many show goers took the opportunity to shop, compare and order their new watercraft at the show to ensure an early spring delivery.
Some new exhibitors participated in this year's Show including Pheasant Forever, Casting for Life and the Calgary/Chestermere Fire Departments and the Calgary Police Service. They took the opportunity to share with attendees how they are involved, and tie with the outdoor industry community.
The Outdoor Education Stage played host to some of Canada's most renowned outdoorsmen including; TJ Schwanky, Richard Mellon, Wes David, Brad Fenson, Claudio Ongaro, Mariko Izumi, Jim McLennan and Randy Nelson. These experts shared their experiences, insights and their message about conservation with other equally passionate outdoor enthusiasts.
The show wrapped up on February 8, awarding four show goers with prizes. James K. was the grand prize winner of a salmon fishing trip valued at over $5,000, courtesy of BonChovy Fishing Charters; Viktor W is the proud owner of a $3,000 Husqvarna Spring package; Olivia M. won a houseboat trip valued at $2,200 provided by Twin Anchors Houseboat Vacations; and Isabelle N. was the big winner of the first-ever Kid's Scavenger Hunt.