Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Rick's Roadshow: The Sportsman's Show

As I mentioned yesterday, last week Rick's Roadshow was a business trip in Seattle. The primary purpose of the trip was to attend a Sportsman’s show (fishing, hunting, camping, etc). Before I go any further, I should state that a) I hate fishing; and find it incredibly boring beyond belief, b) I have little-to-no desire for hunting. (I actually do know how to fire a shotgun, but even the idea of standing around shooting clay pigeons seems strange.) And: c) Camping seems like torture. My idea of camping is spending a night at The Ritz-Carlton or The Four Seasons, not in an RV camper (just a personal preference there, don't anyone get offended).
Did Someone Say Camping?

above: Where would you rather camp out for the night?
Dressing the Part
Since this was my first Sportsman's show, I decided to immerse myself into the goings-on and learn as much as possible. I had carefully planned what to wear: a classic casual winter look from Brooks Brothers seemed just the right approach, I thought. Rich amber-colored corduroy pants, a burgundy plaid shirt and a navy blue cable knit sweater. I completed the look with a new pair of glasses with Brooks Brothers frames. I looked as though I was spending a weekend at Balmoral Castle in Scotland to watch a fox hunt with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip. As I approached the entrance to the show grounds, I immediately realized I had grossly miscalculated the crowd and was a tad bit overdressed. In fact it was a sea of blue jeans, timberland boots, and hunting gear or hats emblazoned with logos. Now don't misunderstand me, I am not insinuating anything about the crowd-I met some nice folks who were very interesting. But let's just say I stuck out like a sore thumb. Luckily, I found a navy blue windbreaker to throw on whcih made me feel more comfortable. Ever the diplomat, I managed to assimilate as much as possible and adopted a folksy manner of speech which deflected unspoken questions about me. At least twice I was asked if I were a Democrat or Republican, which I thought was an interesting opening question from a stranger.

Going Hog Wild...What a Boar!
Once inside, I made my way through the expedition hall visiting the booths with every imaginable item you would need to hunt, fish or camp. I’ve never been one for blood sports, but I personally don’t have a problem with hunting as a sport, as long as it is regulated. While at first it was a little unsettling seeing all the animal heads mounted in the taxidermy booths, they really didn’t bother me at all. I am a happy carnivore, but as far as I know, meat comes from those nice little plastic trays in the grocery store. I did see some photos and a video of what hunters do after the hunt is finished. And that was gross. I was strangely fascinated yet repulsed at the same time. I decided to compartmentalize those images neatly in a little box back in my mind and swore never to subject myself to seeing it again.

The business purpose for me attending was related to all the dogs at the show. There are many “working” dog breeds whose instinct tells them how to assist their master in a variety of sporting activities. And with this comes dog training, supplies and specialized foods to boost a dog’s performance while “working”. That was where I fit in.
Dog Training Seminar

above: Famous dog trainer Dan Mar conducts a seminar at the Sportsman's show on obedience and hunting dog training. He is the only trainer to ever place three dogs four times at the Vizsla Club of America National Championship (2005). His appearance was sponsored by Natural Balance Pet Foods, one of my vendors. His training philosophy is centered around positive reinforcement and showing love to the dog.
A Good Time Was Had By All
The show was an eye-opener for me, but I have to admit that I enjoyed myself immensely and learned a lot. But don’t expect me to buy a camper or a gun anytime soon. I’ll stick with the Ritz-Carlton and dinner procured and prepared by a chef.
-Rick Rockhill

18 comments:

lime said...

i'm giggling here because our family (except the middle child who declared herself a vegetarian on ethical grounds) is a hunting family. and yes, that includes my older girl who has hunted since she was 13. oh, yeah we have the 2 buckheads on the wall to prove it too. i don't hunt but i do target shoot. anyway, i'm giggling because i'd feel every bit the fish out of water at one of your swanky affairs, like you felt at the sportsman show. and here we are in the blogosphere, 2 people with very different backgrounds visiting each other's cyberworld on a regular basis. how cool is that?

Jeni said...

If that is you in the photo (with the animal)(Navy jacket, sweater, plaid shirt, right?) then I don't think you look overdressed for the occasion. Look very good, as a matter of fact and after all, it was a "working" event for you anyway, wasn't it? Therefore, you probably made a better impression then with the kind of dressy-casual-sporty look. I'd take camping of either variety you mentioned -hotel with chef-prepared foods or a nice RV at a great campground. Heck, I'd even take a tent for that matter -provided it was in the summertime.

Biddie said...

I don't agree with hunting as a sport. Hunting to eat is one thing, but just for sport?
I am not a camping fan either, but I would be ok in an RV. I would be MUCH better in a nice, swanky hotel.
It looks like you had a good tiome, though. BTW, I think that you looked wonderful.

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

rick i think you were perfectly dressed my friend! love this post!!! come visit me in podunk some summer! ha ha ha

smiles, bee

TWISI said...

dead animal heads make me so nervous.

Tod said...

I'm right with you on the camping thing, yukarama! Give me room service and a bathroom to die for any day of the week.

I don't like animals being killed for sport either, so if I was at a royal event I think I'd be taking pot shots at the Queen instead. Just enough to see her run for the woods in her headscarf you understand! ;)

Mags said...

I'm amazed right now that I can even be here at work, and that I'm commenting...however, I can't see the pictures-which I think might be the best part of this post!!!

Grr...I'll come back when I get home fur sure!

whimsicalnbrainpan said...

Yeah, somehow I just can't picture you in a camper.

Naomi said...

Give me a nice hotel over a tent anytime Rick. The Ritz Carlton is a good choice! I've never agreed with hunting. The show sounded interesting though.

Seraphine said...

I can't imagine many worse jobs than taxidermy. The smell of dead animals is totally gross.

Mags said...

Yup...just as I suspected: Cute as ever!!

Olivia said...

But corduroys?

Rick old chap, did you forget you were not amongst East Coast old money?

Not to worry, I am pretty preppy myself which is why when I return to the US, I want to hang out in NY for a while so I don't have to get rid of my own corduroys and cable sweaters...I mean how wrong would they look in Houston or SoCa?

As for the RV versus Ritz-Carlton, I'd find it fun camping out in an RV, that's why it's called camping but then I'd be criticised for bypassing the tent on a muddy field anyway - now THAT'S camping and I've never done it. Give me the Ritz-Carlton the rest of the time...

Cheryl said...

Loved this. Loved your carefully planned outfit, and the ensuing cover-up. And the pics! You are my man!

Lewis said...

OOOhhhh....the PSP Savant going out with the big dogs.....YIKES! You look perfect.

CRUSTYBEEF said...

very very classy of you...regardless of where you're at...you messhhhh like a mensch...
happy Humpday! Great glasses, I'm after my husband to get a pair, and he has perfect vision..
hA!
Sincerely,
Elizabeth

Sheila said...

Rick, we live in an area of the country big on all of those activities you aren't so keen on. In fact, Bass Pro's headquarters is here in Springfield and is itself a tourist destination. I can see, however, that dogs figure big especially with hunting and where there are dogs, there is Petco. Thanks for relating your "fish out of water" experience.

Odat said...

LOL @ you picking an outfit to wear.....and it sounds like a nice one at that...I'm sorry you stuck out like a sore thumb tho....that's the funny part..sorry...
I like the outdoors...not necessarily hunting...but it gives me peace and fishing actually relaxes me.
Peace

Diane J Standiford said...

My uncle raised "coon dogs." He is in his late 90s and hunted until he lost his other eye. (A cow's tail took out his one eye years ago) I would rather sleep in a coon shed than a trailer. (coons are racoons btw) My style just doesn't DO trailers, or RVs...btw, you have the best job in the world! Love of pets combined with travel, a dash of celebrities, topped by Palm Springs. (With a Dr. Wang chaser) Ooo la-la

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