PASCO -- The hardest thing about the first day of the 19th Annual Tri-Cities Sportsmen Show -- a cornucopia of outdoors-themed exhibits and booths that opened Friday night at TRAC in Pasco -- was getting there.
The freezing rain coming down showed drivers just how tough it can be outdoors.
That didn't stop people from showing up at the event, said the show's promoter, Merle Shuyler.
"Today, the attendance was average," Shuyler said. "(TRAC general manager) Troy (Woody) just told me I was gonna be happy, that the numbers were up."
In other words, bad weather can't stop outdoors enthusiasts.
This weekend's show -- hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. today, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday -- has something for everyone, from the newbie wanted to try something for the first time, to the grizzled veteran hunter or fisherman.
As a quick primer, here are 10 things you and your family should see or do at the show this weekend:
1. A fly-tying theater.
There are still 11 demonstrations left this weekend. Obviously, this is for the serious fly-tying fishermen, but it's interesting to watch. A big-screen TV shows exactly what the seminar leader is doing.
But it's not big enough that people can't ask questions.
2. CeeDub Welch and his Dutch-oven cooking.
Welch used to have a show on PBS, so he's pretty popular.
He and his wife are in the process of moving from Texas to Boise, where they plan to teach kids and their parents how to cook.
But he would never miss this show.
"This was the first show I ever did," he said. "Now, this is the 12th year of doing this show. It's like an old homecoming."
His favorite thing to make during the seminars?
"What takes the crowd's breath away is when I pull out a tray full of hot dinner rolls out of the Dutch oven," Welch said. "We have never had a leftover."
Which brings us to another point: His seminars today are at noon, 3 and 5 p.m.; and noon and 3 p.m. Sunday.
Get there before the end of one of the seminars and there's a good chance you'll get to eat some of the food.
3. Dog-retrieving demonstrations.
At 2 p.m. today and 1 p.m. Sunday, hunters will have their retrievers run through demonstrations.
I like dogs.
4. Eat some jerky.
There are a couple of different booths that make jerky from game. It's pretty good.
5. Indoor 3D archery range.
The Colyak Bowhunters have put together an impressive shooting range, with many animal targets, that fills up half the arena.
You have to bring your own equipment, and it'll cost you a little scratch to shoot. But I don't think I've seen a better playing field than this one for archery.
If you don't have equipment, you can still shoot at a balloon range in the arena.
6. Join a club.
There are plenty of clubs in the Mid-Columbia represented at the show. The Richland Rod and Gun Club, the Columbia Basin Bass Club, Rattlesnake Ridge Riders and the Tri-Cities Shooting Association are among the clubs always looking for new members to join their group.
Some, like the TCSA, offer one-day free passes.
7. Lunker Lake.
Shuyler says this exhibit is the show's most popular, and it's easy to see why.
It's a big experience for the kids," said Richland Rod & Gun Club member Richard Sharp, who estimates 30 percent of the kids who come have never fished in their lives. "The more kids you get involved in fishing, the less problems they may have in life."
Watch a young kid cast a pole for the first time in his or her life, into a massive swimming pool filled with 1,800 trout -- 167 of those fish are tagged for prizes. When they catch one, the look on their face is priceless.
My daughter is 25 years old now, but I can still see her as a 12-year-old catching a fish in that pool.
We wrapped it up, took it back to the Herald, where former outdoors writer Ken Hoopengarner cleaned it for us. The next morning, my wife pan-fried the trout, and I watched in amazement as my daughter gleefully devoured it for breakfast.
I never thought I'd see that in my life. But she seemed so excited about it because she caught it.
It's a familiar story the Richland Rod & Gun Club members have heard over the years.
8. Plan your outdoors year.
Maybe you're not a joiner. But you can still do something in the outdoors this year.
There are numerous guided fishing tours offered from various booths; whitewater rafting trips from Idaho; or guided jet boat tours on the Columbia River.
The latter booth offers an 80-mile round-trip into the Hanford Reach, in which plenty of wildlife viewing opportunities exist during the 4- to 5-hour journey.
9. Shoot an air rifle.
This is just for the kids, but the Friends of the NRA are hosting an air rifle range for the youngsters to get to handle a firearm, albeit an air rifle.
10. Hunting and fishing seminars.
Again, mostly for the serious enthusiasts, but Shuyler has assembled an all-star lineup of experts to give one-hour discussions on either hunting or fishing.
There are still 14 one-hour seminars remaining.
Regardles of weather today and Sunday, Shuyler expects a large turnout this weekend.
Bad winter weather tends to make some people look forward to their upcoming outdoors experiences.
And Shuyler likes to see the younger kids get hooked when they catch their first fish or shoot that first air rifle. It could be their first step on the road to a lifetime of outdoors experiences.
"That," said Shuyler, "is the plan."
Tickets cost $8 for adults, $4 for children ages 6-12, and children under the age of 6 are admitted free.
A one-time daily admission allows you to get into the show both days.