The inaugural Outdoor Rendezvous, held Feb. 5 at The Tackle Box in Punkin Center, was a huge success.
Event founders Mark Kile and Dennis Pirch estimated that more than 1,000 outdoor enthusiasts took part in the fishing and hunting exposition.
When planning the event, Pirch was unsure how the public would respond to it.
His qualms were quickly erased by the huge turnout.
Among the highlights of the rendezvous were a series of seven seminars put on by local guides and outfitters.
Most drew overflow crowds.
Former Payson High School counselor Dean Pederson, who is also a renowned hunter, presented a "Mule Deer Hunting in Arizona" seminar, deemed the event of the day everyone enjoyed and profited from.
"Everyone I spoke to said they were having a great time, it was a lot of fun," Pederson said.
Other seminars included:
- "Crappie Fishing at Roosevelt Lake" -- by noted fishing guide Art Chamberlain
- "Care of Big Game After It's On the Ground" -- by Arizona licensed guide Tige Godac
- "Whitetail Deer Hunting" -- by licensed guide Ty Goodman
- "Rod and Reel Maintenance and Repair" -- by long-time bass fisherman and reel repair expert Dan Morgan
- "Lion Hunting" --by Steve Smith, a Tonto Basin rancher and hunter
- "Bass Fishing in Arizona" --y Kile, a three-time Bassmaster Classic Qualifier and Rookie of the Year.
Visitors to the exposition were also able to find plenty of bargains in what was billed as "an outdoor enthusiast's yard sale."
At a rock bottom price, Pederson was able to buy a special crappie fishing pole he's long yearned for.
Tempe Marine turned out with a display of high tech bass boats, new all-terrain vehicles and free bowls of freshly prepared chili and crackers.
With the success of the inaugural event to build upon, Pirch and Kile are laying plans for next year's rendezvous.
"We are already planning on next year to make it better," Pirch said.