Ladson: VIP Pass to the Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show

Earlier this month, I went to the Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show and had a chance to meet some of my favorite hunting celebrities. If you don't know what the Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show is, let me tell you a bit about it.

Every February for one week, the biggest outdoor event in the country comes to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In one spot, you can see all of the hunters and fisherman who you see on TV, plus you can meet outfitters from all around the world and representatives from the best outdoor companies such as Real Tree and Mathews.

I attended the show the first day it opened, but my trip almost didn't happen. The day before the show was scheduled to open the entire East Coast got pounded with a snow storm. In my neighborhood we got close to 15 inches of snow, but Harrisburg where the got 27 inches.

I arrived about an hour early in order to obtain my press pass. As soon as I walked through the doors, it was chaos. Because of the weather, no one knew if the show was even going to happen and many of the celebrities hadn't arrived yet due to canceled flights. But after an hour-long wait, the show finally got started, and I couldn't wait to interview my favorite TV stars--at least, the ones who were able to beat the weather.

I got to meet Lee and Tiffany Lakosky (above), Michael Waddell, Travis "T-Bone" Turner, Ralph and Vicki Cianciarulo, Stan Potts, and Chuck Adams. I got to spend the most time with Ralph and Vicki, and they couldn't have been nicer. Really down-to-earth people. They told me that they got started in the outdoor industry by writing--just like me. I even got to pick their brains about some of the biggest deer they've hunted, which was pretty cool.

I also bought some new gear while I was there. I picked up a few new turkey calls for the spring and a couple of deer calls for the fall. I can't wait to try them out. After six hours at the show (and after my wallet was empty), I was ready to go. I had a great time. I'm already looking forward to next year's show. --Tommy Ladson