Virtual reality hits the sports show market

02/06/2014 5:54 PM

02/06/2014 5:54 PM

Now you can attend a major sports show without leaving the comfort of your den.

The North American Sportshow is a virtual reality event. Click a few keys on your computer and you can buy a ticket and walk through the doors of a large convention center, complete with the booths, boats, seminars and features of any other sports show.

All that’s missing are the hot dogs and popcorn.

“It seemed like a logical progression to try and develop a show that would be held in the world’s largest gathering place and convention center — the Internet,” said David Gray, the show director, who lives in Lee’s Summit. “It’s a new concept, but we’re getting a lot of positive feedback.”

The North American Sportshow features a lobby, a plaza hall, an exhibition hall, a networking lounge and an auditorium. Click on the auditorium, for example, and you can hear seminars by fishing experts such as Denny Brauer and Kevin VanDam. Go to the exhibition hall and you’ll be able to visit almost 100 booths. Click on a specific booth and you will be greeted by a video on the product, brochures, catalogs and even the email addresses of company representatives.

To attend the North American Sportshow, go to the website

and purchase a ticket. The show will be open through April 7.

A more-traditional outdoors show set to open

If you’d rather experience an outdoors show in person, head for Topeka this weekend.

The Topeka Boat and Outdoor Show will open today and run through Sunday at the Kansas Expocentre.

One of the highlights of the show will be an appearance by Gator Queen Liz, one of the stars of the “Swamp People” television show. She will be signing autographs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday.

There also will be booths displaying the latest in the fishing, hunting and boating world, an appearance of the Women of KU Calendar Girls, a display of trophy antlers, including the world’s largest 10-point typical shed rack; and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s mobile aquarium.

Show hours are 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. today; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

What’s living in your back yard?

Cue the spooky music.

Do you really know what lurks out the back door?

Danny Conner of Reptile Adventures will answer that question when he presents programs at the Metropolitan Lawn and Garden Show this weekend at the American Royal Center.

During the show, which will open today and run through Sunday, he will discuss what reptiles might live in your back yard if you live in the Kansas City area. Then, he will go into how those creatures would differ if you lived in other parts of the world.

Show hours will be 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

A cure for cabin fever

Even when your favorite fishing spot is covered with ice, and temperatures are below freezing, you don’t have to sit inside.

You can always go ice fishing.

The Missouri Department of Conservation will offer a free clinic on the icy side of fishing from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at Mozingo Lake, east of Maryville, Mo.

Fisheries workers will present the basics of the sport and will even drill the holes for the participants. Bait and tackle will be provided as long as supplies last.

Participants must pre-register for the workshop by calling 816-271-3100. The workshop will be held at the main boat ramp at Mozingo, which is located about four miles east of Maryville off U.S. 136.

Billy, the security guard

Big Mouth Billy Bass must be quite a watchdog.

That’s what the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Department in Rochester, Minn., has concluded anyway, according to an article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Someone broke into the Hooked On Fishing Shop, but left without taking anything.

Police theorize that the would-be burglar was scared off by Big Mouth Billy — a plastic mount that starts singing whenever anybody enters the shop. The replica was on the ground, near where the door was broken into. No word if Billy was still singing “Take Me to the River.”


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