TC Sportsmen’s Show canceled for the first time ever

KENNEWICK, Wash — This weekend would’ve marked the 28th annual Tri-Cities Sportsmen’s Show, an event that brings thousands to the area. But organizers with the show said that due to COVID-19, they’ve been forced to wait until next year.

Merle and Bev Shuyler normally produce two shows — one in the Tri-Cities at the HAPO Center and one in Yakima at the SunDome.

According to their website, outdoor enthusiasts come from all over to shop for “hunting gear, fishing tackle, fly fishing equipment, outdoor clothing, hunting and fishing boats, motors and accessories, guide services, lodges, and much more!”

The Shuyler’s said they had hoped to hold the event but the cancellation was “pretty much expected.”

“It’s been kind of sad the way things have been going,” Merle Shuyler said. “We’re one business of many that’s had to sacrifice through all of this.”

Now, with the show paused, the Shuyler’s are feeling the devastating financial hit.

“It’s mainly just my wife and I. We’re losing a year’s wages between not having our shows at all.”” Shuyler said. “The only two shows we do now, in Yakima and the Tri-Cities, those two months is where we make our twelve month income.”

The show is currently set to resume in Jan. and Feb. of 2022 but in the meantime, the Shuyler’s said they will be ready and waiting.

This didn’t stop them from drafting a presentation about how they would adhere to COVID-19 safety guidelines to the local health district in December of 2020, trying to rebrand as a “retail event” but to no avail.

Included in that presentation was a safety plan, complete with extra row width for social distancing, someone at the door counting the number of people going in and out for capacity guidelines, cashless payments, Plexiglass fronts and/or curtains to protect exhibitors and consumers and sanitization stations.

Tom French, the HAPO Center’s general manager, told KAPP KVEW, “there is nothing for me to report right now. The show was canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions.”

“We’re sitting here twiddling our thumbs and wondering what could’ve been,” Shuyler said.

Other popular events in the Tri-Cities however, have currently not been canceled.

The Benton Franklin Fair, Water Follies Air Show and Pendleton Round-Up are scheduled for later this year.