Weekend's Third Annual Outdoor Rendezvous Best Yet

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The third annual Outdoors Rendezvous turned into an overwhelming success, drawing thousands of spectators from around the state, including the Valley.

"We feel it was our best ever," organizer Dennis Pirch said. "We know the Phoenix people showed up -- some just out of curiosity."

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The third annual Outdoor Rendezvous attracted quite a crowd. In the foreground, Steve Smith, who gave a talk about mountain lions earlier in the day, visits with a fellow outdoors enthusiast.

Although official attendance records are not kept, Pirch guessed the crowd size exceeded that of last year when the event drew more than 2,000.

The Rendezvous, which Pirch likes to call an "extravaganza," was held Feb. 3 at The Tackle Box in Tonto Basin. The day featured a series of 11 seminars hosted by some of the most acclaimed hunters, anglers and outdoorsmen in the state.

Tonto Basin rancher Steve Smith drew large crowds for his lion-hunting seminar, as did local angling guru Art Chamberlin for "Crappie Fishing at Roosevelt."

Pirch said the expertise of the seminar presenters rendered the day a worthwhile one for all outdoorsmen and women who attended.

Another popular attraction was the sidewalk sale where hundreds of dollars' worth of outdoor equipment was bought, sold and bartered.

"It was a great place for bargains and to sell things no longer needed," Pirch said.

A chili cookoff was won by Cozette Ridge, who brewed her best batch of the hot stuff. Lorraine Cline was second in a very close decision by the judges.

The success of the event has Pirch and other organizers already laying plans for next year's Outdoor Rendezvous.

"Our goal is for it to get better and better each year," Pirch said.

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