With dozens of vendors, multiple sponsors, and tons of activities in the works, organizers of the Southwest Colorado Outdoor Expo are hopeful that their first annual event, set for May 30 and 31 at the Sky Ute Fairgrounds, will be a success.
"We are really, really excited," said Cathy Calderwood, a member of the Ignacio Chamber of Commerce board of directors and one of the organizers of the event. "We want to highlight everything outdoors in Southwest Colorado."
The expo will include sales from vendors, of course, but also demonstrations and events.
On tap are a skeet shoot, chainsaw carving, fly fishing, terrain climbs by members of the Creepers Jeepers Jeep Club, gold panning, a tack and horse sale, an archery shoot, and a carnival.
"It's amazing the number of activities out there and how diverse they are," said Emily Meisner, a co-organizer and owner of The Patio restaurant in Ignacio.
We have everything for the outdoors," she said. "Cars, pickups, ATVs, boats and dirt bikes."
The idea for the expo came about in large part because the chamber wanted to host a family-friendly event now that it has sold the Four Corners Motorcycle Rally. Looking at sales data in La Plata County, organizers found that more than $60 million in spent in the county on outdoor pursuits, and there is no expo in the county highlighting local events and gear.
"We need to sell what we have," Calderwood said.
So the two are hoping the event will raise some funds for the chamber while helping other non-profits in the area raise some money, too. SUCAP will hold a raffle at the event, and the Durango Wheel Club will demonstrate cycles. A local Boy Scout troop will demonstrate Dutch oven cooking, and concessions will be provided by Pine River Community Learning Center, where Calderwood is the director.
Like boating? Navajo State Park is promoting its rentals, and Rich's Performance Marine will have boats on site. Four Corners River Sports will have wind-surfing equipment, as well.
A horse sale it set to take place at 2 p.m., Saturday with a tack sale at noon and previews starting at 10 a.m.
Southwest Ag will have its Kubota tractors, all-terrain vehicles, and its new pedal cars, which have been a hit at other events, on display.
Need a new vehicle or four-wheeler or a big boy toy? The expo's presenting sponsor is Morehart Murphy Regional Auto Center, which will have trucks and cars on site, as well.
First National Bank of Durango, one of the sponsors, will have a booth and financing available at the event.
San Juan College in Farmington, which rents outdoor equipment, will have gear on display and bicycles to rent.
There's also a tent-pitching contest, and the person who can it up the fastest wins the tent.
Other sponsors include Budweiser, which will host a beer tent, and Sky Ute Casino.
The vendor deadline is Monday, with vendor fees starting at $200. More information is at swcolooutdoorexpo.com.