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Thousands of outdoor enthusiasts attend this year's recreation event in Redmond this past weekend



HOLLY SCHOLZ/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Chuck Haring, of Haring Camp, displayed his large outdoor long-handled skillets during the Central Oregon Sportsmen's Show last weekend in Redmond. Haring makes three sizes of frying pans that he says are good for campfires and backyard kitchens.

Needing a giant campfire skillet, a healthy light-weight snack, or a guided trip to hunt waterfowl? How about boater safety information or floor mats for a hunting rig?

You would have found it at the Central Oregon Sportsmen’s Show and Boat/RV Sale last weekend.

Thousands of outdoor enthusiasts visited the annual show last Thursday through Sunday at the Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center in Redmond. Several Crook County businesses and agencies shared their wares and services along with more than 300 other exhibitors.

This is the second time Chuck Haring has had a booth at the Sportsmen’s Show.

Haring and his three sons, Nick, Matt and Mike, are “moonlighting” their Haring Camp business.

“I still build them in my little shop,” the Prineville man said, adding that this is their third year in business, but they all maintain full-time jobs as well.

They specialize in outdoor long handled skillets that come in three sizes — 14-inch, 17-inch and 20-inch — and range in price from $99 to $125.

“They’re made of steel — not cast iron,” Haring said. “Made with the finest cold-rolled 12-guage steel.”

Haring coordinates with a guy in Sandy who spins — not stamps — the metal on a lathe, which is an old technique.

“We developed the dies that fit the size of the inside,” Haring explained.

“He bends them, then I bring them back down here, and I paint them, drill the holes in them, and I build the handles.”

The red oak detachable handle is 27 inches long on the 20-inch frying pan, making it easy to use over a campfire or even a backyard fire pit or barbecue.

Haring made his first skillet about three years ago, and so far, they’ve made nearly 150 skillets.

“They’ve evolved a little bit in those three years,” he said.

They plan to expand their business to include other camp cooking supplies. Skillet lids are in development as well as portable grating and fire box systems.

“We’re going to address the cooking surface problem,” Haring said.

The Harings have worked as guides and also enjoy hunting and recreational camping.

“We have some background, knowing what tools are needed out there,” Haring said. “I’ve used them all my life, so it comes very easy.”

Ben Belknap, of Medford, specializes in cutlery and just began selling his knives, forks, spatulas and tongs through Haring Camp. They also sell North Camp Supply fire grates that work well with their long-handled skillets.

Upstairs at the event center's main facility, Andy Johnsen, a volunteer with the Crook County Sheriff Search and Rescue, was on hand to provide information on disaster preparedness and some of their programs.

Project Lifesaver is designed to provide a safety net for the most vulnerable citizens in the community, including those with Alzheimer’s and autism. Clients wear a small electronic bracelet that emits a unique radio signal. When a client wanders, the Search and Rescue team monitors the transmitter signal and can locate the client.

Johnsen was also selling raffle tickets for a barbecue and a rifle, with proceeds benefitting Search and Rescue.

In the neighboring booth, Rob Hartley, with the Crook County Sheriff Marine Patrol, shared information with boaters and interested public.

The marine patrol oversees five water bodies in Crook County: Walton Lake, Crooked River, and Antelope, Ochoco and Prineville reservoirs. Hartley said their season will begin just before Memorial Day and will continue through Labor Day weekend.

“I’ve been doing this for 10 years, and this is the busiest Thursday I’ve seen,” Hartley said of the Sportsmen’s Show.

Back downstairs, Baxter Auto Parts Prineville Store Manager Roger Casey said they offered 10 percent off coupons to Sportsmen’s Show visitors who shop one of their Central Oregon stores through March 13.

They displayed some of their hunting-type products, including winches, straps and floor mats, and were pleased with the number of visitors they had in their booth.

A few spaces down, Alex Sackerson, the owner of Predawn Adventures in Prineville, was one of many guiding services represented at the show.

He provides waterfowl guide services in Central and Eastern Oregon and was offering a special package for those who scheduled a guiding trip while at the show.

Lee and Karen Romine, of Prineville, sold Thrive Life products at their booth. They specialize in freeze-dried foods but also offer food storage racks and a few survival, camping and backpacking items.

The Romines have been Thrive Life representatives for almost four years from their home but often travel to exhibitions such as the Sportsmen’s Show.

She said their freeze-dried foods are nutritious, contain no additives and are lightweight.

“It’s really healthy good-for-you food,” she said. “It’s great for backpacking, camping, hiking, fishing, snowmobiling, and it’s also great for everyday use.”

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