Arizona Get Outdoors Expo in Scottsdale big on family fun

Watch as high-flying dogs splash down, let your kids try their hand at mutton busting or learn how to shoot a bow at the first-ever Arizona Get Outdoors Expo.

The event’s 40 vendors will transform WestWorld of Scottdale’s 300,000 square feet of exhibition space into a place where families can get a taste of activities available in Arizona’s great outdoors. Exhibits will include fishing tanks, demonstrations of the newest outdoor equipment, RV and boat exhibits.

The expo emphasizes family, accessibility and affordability. All activities are things you can do in Arizona — you won’t find booths for guided trips in Alaska or Texas or Zimbabwe. Mike Russell, who hosts “Get Outdoors” on KTAR-FM (92.3),  said the event will focus on fun, learning and discovery, not selling and buying equipment.

“If you want to get your kids into the outdoors but it’s been intimidating for you because you want to do it right and teach them properly, this is the event to go to because there are so many professionals here,” he said.

The Ultimate Air Dogs will hold agility events during the weekend. One will judge the distance a dog jumps after running down a dock and launching into a pool. Another will see which dog is faster in a timed swimming race. Competitions cost $25 if you pre-register and $30 at the site. There is a practice session before the competition.

Kids can throw on a helmet and try mutton busting, an event usually held at rodeos

where kids ride or race sheep. Families can also check out RV and boat exhibits, attend survival seminars and learn about conservationThe Arizona Game and Fish Department will have a large presence at the event, said Bill Andres, information branch chief at the department.

“We want to help families get involved in outdoor recreation,” Andres said. “It’s like a crash course in everything there is to do outdoors.”

The department will have booths and experts talking about outdoor survival, new outdoor apps for phones and how to handle different wildlife.

“People can see the many things that can happen in the great outdoors, like archery, shooting, paddle craft and wildlife-watching,” Andres said.

Some people new to exploring outdoors may be hesitant to start because of the price of equipment. Although initial investments can be pricey, Russell said, that cost is ultimately worth it because such activities as fishing and hunting cost little to nothing once you have the gear.

For example, a youth hunting and fishing license runs  $5 a year, and with 25 ponds and lakes in Maricopa County, there are plenty of spots to wet a line with the kids.

And for those concerned about the heat, Russell said it’s easy to get outdoors in the early morning before the temperatures soar, and the upcoming fall months present much cooler conditions that are great for outdoor activities.

“People might discover things that you never knew you could do here in Arizona,” Russell said.

The expo is sponsored by KTAR 92.3, ESPN Phoenix (620 AM), Arizona Sports (98.7 FM) and Chevrolet in association with the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

Arizona Get Outdoors Expo

When: Aug.7-9. 2-8 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday; noon-4 p.m. Sunday.

Where: West World of Scottsdale, 16601 N. Pima Road.

Admission: $6-$12 online in advance, $10-$15 at the door.

Details:arizonagetoutdoors.com.

Article source: http://www.azcentral.com/story/entertainment/events/2015/08/04/arizona-great-outdoors-expo-westworld-scottsdale/30316035/