In the three years since the inception of the Outdoor Rendezvous, it has grown to become one of the most eagerly anticipated events on the small-town Arizona recreational calendar.
The annual get-together attracts anglers, hunters, hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts eager to enjoy a day of old-fashioned camaraderie.
Last year, more than 2,000 people showed up for the festivities. That mark represented an increase of 800 more than the number that turned out for the inaugural event.
This year, Outdoor Rendezvous sponsors are anticipating the festivities could set a new unofficial attendance record.
Longtime Rim Country outdoorsman Dean Pederson, also an Outdoor Rendezvous seminar presenter, said the events are popular because they are a great way to make new friends, share secrets of success and wile away a leisurely weekend day.
Some who have attended previous rendezvous compare the event to spending a comfy evening around a warming campfire spinning yarns, telling tales and bemoaning the "big one" that barely got away.
This year's festivities begin at 7:30 a.m. Feb. 3 at The Tackle Box, located 1 mile south of Punkin Center on Highway 188 in Tonto Basin.
Event co-founder and organizer Dennis Pirch also attributes the success of the Rendezvous, which he calls an "extravaganzas," to the dedication of the more than 10 seminar presenters who eagerly volunteer to share the expertise they've gained in years of hunting, fishing scouting, guiding, hiking and exploring.
"Some of these guys have knowledge and skills you might not be able to learn any place other than by listening and talking to them," he said.
"They have a wealth of experience and have grown up in the outdoors."
The presentations include:
8:30 a.m. "Whitetail hunting: Glassing big bucks" by Ty Goodman.
9 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. "Crappie fishing at Roosevelt" by Art Chamberlin, Arizona licensed crappie fishing guide.
9:30 a.m. "Archery hunting and improving shooting skills" by three-time Arizona state archery champion, Tom Gonzalez.
10 a.m. "How to catch big trout" by Pat Haynes.
10:30 a.m. "Deep water structure bass fishing" by Frank Powell.
11:15 a.m. "Lion hunting" by Steve Smith.
11:45 a.m. "Selecting the right rod" by Jim Goughnour.
12:15 p.m. "Mule deer hunting in Arizona" by Dean Pederson.
12:45 p.m. "Hunter ethics in the outdoors" by Preston Mercer.
1:15 p.m. "Field judging the trophy animal before the shot is made" by Tige Godac.
1:45 p.m. "Bass Fishing Arizona lakes" by Mark Kile, 2003 Citgo Bassmaster Rookie of the Year.
Raffle prizes will be given out following each seminar.
Admission to all seminars is free of charge.
Also on the Rendezvous agenda will be a display of Skeeter bass boats and ATVs, sponsored by Tempe Marine.
A chili cook-off will be held and awards for first, second and third place will be given.
"Bring your best pot of chili," Pirch said.
The judging is set for 11:30 a.m.
A sidewalk sale is on the agenda for those who have hunting, fishing, camping and other outdoor equipment they wish to sell, buy or trade.
"Bring your used outdoor equipment and a table to set up in the parking lot," Pirch said. "Some very fine equipment can be found at reasonable prices."
For more information, call The Tackle Box at (928) 479-2108.