This past weekend was the 7th annual Missouri River Outdoor Expo held at Ponca State Park. I am embarrassed to tell you that this was the first year I was there to see it. My wife and I spent some time seeing all the sights at the Expo yesterday, and I have to tell you I WAS VERY IMPRESSED! This was the “state fair” of outdoor expos.
And you want to know the best part? It was free and there were a ton of hands-on activities for the entire family! There was a great crowd yesterday and everyone had a great time.
Let me show you a few pictures.
My friend Jack McCullough giving a turkey hunting seminar.
Folks milling around the Shooter’s Village.
Some fur harvesters to talk to.
Touch tanks are always a big hit.
What do you want to know about Nebraska turtles? Greg H. will tell you!
“Fish-tamer” Sabrina, using a fishing rod to point and talk about Nebraska fish.
After discovering there were three huge sauger in the fish tank, I was immediately escorted from the area. . . .
By the way, all of those monster sauger were collected from the Missouri River near Ponca State Park; I told you there would be some big surprises show up in the river as the floodwaters started to recede!
The pond was busy.
But still some fish to be caught.
Or slip over and try your hand at bow-fishing.
How about a fish-cleaning demonstration and free fried fish samples?!
That is just a small selection of everything that was happening. There were A LOT more things to see and do.
While we are talking about Ponca State Park. Some of you will remember the access down to the river; here is what it looked like yesterday.
Obviously that area is going to need some tree-cutting and maintenance before it is ready to re-open. We will see what that shoreline looks like as the water continues to drop (I have caught fish right along there before). There were some folks fishing from the boat ramp.
The boat ramp is open, by the way. There was one boat out on the river someplace.
As I finish, let me say a few more words about the Missouri River Outdoor Expo. . . . I have been to and participated in many of the Outdoor Expos that have been held around the state. The Missouri River Outdoor Expo blew me away! It was huge and everything was well done and well run. Obviously the event is located at our Ponca State Park and Game & Parks Commission personnel are heavily involved, but let me tell you that this event would be nothing like it is without A LOT of support from the local population and a HOST of volunteers. My hat is off to the people of Ponca and the surrounding area!!!!! You folks have done an excellent job and your pride in your area, in Nebraska’s great outdoors, was obvious. Well done, and a big THANK YOU to everyone who had a part!
Now, a word or two to those of you who have not been up to the Missouri River Outdoor Expo. . . . There will be another one next fall and you absolutely should plan to attend! I know Ponca is in the northeast corner of Nebraska, but I do not care where you are from you should see that part of the state and take in next year’s Expo. For folks in our population centers of Omaha and Lincoln, you need to get out of town and see all of our great state, and you might as well start with Ponca and the Missouri River Outdoor Expo. Promise yourself that you will do it next fall; you can grab the kids and make a quick drive up I-29 to Sioux City, then west right over to Ponca. It really is not that far and well-worth the trip!