Great Rockies Sport Show Helena, Montana January 5-7, 2018
I want to start off this post by saying Happy New Year and wishing everyone all the best in 2018!
We left our home town of Lloydminster, SK on January 1...a day early, but it was so cold at -35, there was really no better choice but to escape a day ahead of schedule. Crossed the border in the darkness and stayed at Great Falls the first night into 2018. We were full of ambition and continued our journey into Helena, early the following morning. Drove around Helena, checking the city out and getting our bearings. Spur of the moment decision, which is how Matt and I roll, we continued south into Montana taking in the scenery and an abundance of wildlife to a beautiful set of hot springs known as Chico. Montanans all know of Chico and everyone we talked to were envious yet excited to hear of our adventures there. It is AMAZING...a quaint, rustic centennial hotel...immaculately maintained. 2 hot spring pools, one is hot and the other is hotter, which was so thereapeutic for these 2 weary travellers. The attached bar provided poolside drinks and down to earth service. The weather was mild at Chico Hot Springs and there was at least 18" of snow, which had fallen just before we arrived in Montana. It was perfect for Matt and I to set out into the back country with our snowshoes...other activities at Chico include: Dog sled excursions, trail rides, sledding and day spa essentials. All of this in a laid-back atmosphere while being surrounded by authentically rustic, antique western decor. Every meal was fabulously prepared with great attention to detail...a foodies dream! Try the mussels in the fine dining room...delicious! After 2 nights at Chico Hot Springs, a short day trip to Yellowstone and Gardiner, and a last early morning snowshoe, we set out back to Helena.
Back at Helena we stayed at the Marriott Residence Inn....wow! If you come accross this chain and style of Marriott...stay! We had our own little apartment because we wanted to be able to cook for ourselves, which was great after indulging so much at Chico.
We were able to shop....and shop....and shop! We blew the budget to say the least! Lots of outdoor and sportman stores....but our favorite was a place called Murdoch's. I bet we were in there at least 4 times!
Great Rockies Sport Show January 5-7
We were nervous for sure....I just envisioned hearing crickets and sitting there for 3 days with nothing. Boy was I wrong! Montanas are engaging and interactive to no end! Lots of people through the venue and past our booth as we were located in the main corrior directly accross from the door prize draw...so we saw everyone and nearly everyone stopped to talk and figure out where we were from and where the "sausage place" was because we were in their previous spot...lmao!
Day 1 saw light traffic, but some very good interest. We met a teacher who was very excited to visit us but had already planned a trip to Alaska in 2018, but I feel he was genuine when he said he would come up in 2019. Really neat guy for sure, he was familiar with Canadian legends Bob & Doug McKenzie and asked for clarification on what a "twofour" was which I instantly responded was a flat of beer! We also met a young pilot from the National Guard who has his own Cessna 172. He is eager to fly up to see us in 2018 and took a list of our open dates so he could coordinate with his friend.
Day 2 saw extremely heavy foot traffic and lots of people to our booth. Skijoring (which is awesome by the way) was taking place on the Lewis & Clark Fairgrounds, so this brought in extra people. Lots of solid interest established...970 miles from Montana to Davin Lake Lodge is not a big deal for any Montana resident to drive...which is good for us. Met a gentleman and his wife...lovely people...who were so interested, we must have talked with them for about 30 minutes, I talked his ear off!
Day 3 had some lighter traffic but was still busy...lots of people to interact with! Had a couple people return to the venue from days previous to talk with us again and get some clarification and check out our open dates...apparently that is very rare!
All in all this was a great first experience....I feel like we are ready to do another show, which is good because the Lloydminster Gun & Outdoor Sportman Show is January 20 & 21!
I can't write and finish this blog without a huge shout out to a few noteable industry professionals from our great province of Saskatchewan. Dan from Plaisted Camps and Ron from Adventure Destinations...thank-you for the guidance, the advice and the good times!