Kelly Bostian for Tulsa World
An experience for fishing enthusiasts that is the first of its kind opens at 10 a.m. Friday in the SageNet Center at Expo Square in Tulsa.
With free parking and free admission, the Major League Fishing Outdoor Sports Expo presented by Costa fills the 250,000 square foot site with 130 booths and the Redcrest Tournament underway from Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees via a live broadcast stage in the center with a 36-foot screen and another 25 50-inch screens scattered across the screens.
It offers the unique ability for a fishing enthusiast to stand side-by-side with one of their favorite pros to watch their shared sport on TV.
“This is something new, and we’re not hiding the fact that we’re not doing a weigh-in show,” said Michael Mulone, vice president of strategic business planning for MLF. “We’ve made fishing an observable event like any other sport where competitors and fans know exactly what the score is as it unfolds,” he said.
He likened the new fan experience to those who go to esports conventions to watch others play at the top of their game in video games.
People also read…
“It’s a complete change in the game of how you play and how you look,” he said.
While the visual technology and fan interaction with the pros is important, the family event still boils down to a showcase for top national sponsors like Toyota, Lowrance, Mercury and Berkeley as well as local suppliers, a- he declared.
The Bank of Oklahoma Kids Zone features a range of BB guns sponsored by the National Wild Turkey Federation, an area for a coloring contest, giveaways, and a kids’ fishing pond filled with catfish.
MLF hosts a children’s event for youth from the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Tulsa to kick off the event with over 50 children, ages 5-13, from the Mabee Unit Red Shield and the North Mabee unit among the first to fish the pond between 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
The Expo is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Country music star Blane Howard will give free concerts at 4:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, while Clayton Anderson will headline the free concert series with a performance at 4:30 p.m. Sunday.
Giveaways and prizes at the show include everything from fisherman’s jerseys priced at $100,000 or a new 2022 Toyota Tundra pickup.