The great outdoors comes home to Bakersfield for three days of camping, fishing, racing and riding at the Kern County Fairgrounds. The Central Valley Sportsmen Boat, RV and Outdoor Living Show kicks of Friday, giving outdoors enthusiasts a one-stop shop for the toys and tools that can make their summer great.
Promoter Mike Hatcher said the show will feature a variety of events and seminars, including a racing competition called "Fastest on the Planet Bako Sand Drags." The all-terrain vehicles used in the races are reminiscent of small dragsters and powered by motorcycle engines. But don't let their size fool you.
"This is very exciting. They are running 300 feet in about 3.3 seconds and reaching speeds over 100 miles per hour. We have riders coming in from as far away as Puerto Rico to compete, as well as Oregon, Nevada, Utah and Arizona."
While drag-racing may not seem like a natural fit for a sportsmen and outdoor show, Hatcher knows his Kern County crowd will be chomping at the bit to see the sand fly.
"Bakersfield is such a racing community and we will have Famoso Raceway out here with us and the new Kern River Raceway is going to be out here too. So it fits right in."
Right alongside the racing will be the traditional outdoor activities with vendors displaying hundreds of ATVs, recreational vehicles and boats. While many folks like to take their toys out on their own adventures, if you are the type looking for a less hands-on approach, Hatcher said there are options for that as well.
"We have a lot of outdoor destinations at the show. Lodges in Alaska, numerous vacations and hunting guides. There is something for everybody."
When Hatcher says everybody he means it. Even the youngest sports enthusiasts will be catered to as over 1,000 pounds of live trout are ready to take up residence in the fishing pond. The Taft Sportsman's Club will be on hand with rods and reel to make sure every child has a chance to cast a line.
"I love seeing the smiles on the kids' faces at the trout pond," Hatcher said. "It's really all about them. Terry Greenwaldt, the Oddball Angler, will be there too and it's also all about children when it comes to him. The Oddball Angler is all about communicating with kids."
From the fish in the water to the four-legged creatures on land, many animals will be represented at the event. After a five-year hiatus, Eastman's Trophy Deer Display will be back to the delight of hunting fans. Hunting dogs will be taking some of the spotlight as field training and agility trials will be featured throughout the weekend.
But one of the biggest animal features at the show will be three days of rodeo competition, organized by the Tehachapi Junior Rodeo Association. Attendees will be treated to barrel racing on Friday, team roping on Saturday and a Junior Rodeo on Sunday.
Live music, food vendors, crafts for kids and refreshments will be available in addition to the 17th Annual Super Cruise Car Show, an open-registration competition that features vehicles from classic hot rods to PT Cruisers and everything in between.
If it sounds like this event has a lot going on, Hatcher would say you are right. But he's quick to point out that it's easy to juggle this many features when you have a good support system to stand on.
"We have good people working for us. Lots of good people and they are all good friends."