Published Sunday February 22, 2009
Sportsmen are an economic force
But big bucks know no season to outdoor retailers — and hunters and anglers have plenty of opportunities to create lots of bang at winter and spring trade shows and banquets.
Upcoming events include the 62nd Omaha Boat Sports and Travel Show at Qwest Center Omaha and Bass Pro Shops Spring Fishing Classic in Council Bluffs this week.
The Omaha show opens Thursday and runs through Sunday. It attracts tens of thousands of people who troll past displays of fishing tackle, North American hunting and fishing destinations, resorts, lodges and camps, camping equipment, hunting gear and boats and marine equipment.
The Bass Pro Shops event begins Friday and continues through March 15. Visitors will find new fishing products, live demonstrations, boat shows and events for kids and families. About 150,000 people are expected to attend the 17-day event at Bass Pro Shops, said Jim Goff, store manager.
“Some of these same people will spend money at other area merchants for hotels, gas, restaurants and other retailers — all part of the ripple effect sportsmen help bring to an area,” he said.
The Congressional Sportsman’s Foundation says that if the $76 billion sportsmen spend nationally on hunting and fishing were the gross domestic product of a country, sportsmen would rank 57th out of 181 countries.
In many states, sportsmen spend more money, support more jobs and pay more taxes than most industries and attractions in the state, the report said.
In Iowa, annual spending by 518,000 hunters and anglers ($661 million) is more than the cash receipts from dairy products and hay — two of the state’s top agricultural commodities ($645 million). Sportsmen support more jobs (12,000) in Iowa than Principal Life Insurance (10,000), one of the state’s largest employers.
In Nebraska, annual spending by 234,000 hunters and anglers ($470 million) is more than the cash receipts from wheat and dairy products ($405 million), the foundation said. There are nearly as many Nebraska sportsmen as residents of Lincoln, estimated population 241,000.
Clearly, the economic impact of sportsmen is a force to be reckoned with, Goff said.