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April decision expected on 2014 Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show

By , - Last modified: March 28, 2013 at 12:23 PM

While the promoter of a Carlisle outdoors show said his show surpassed ticket sales goals, the state said it could decide in April on a promoter for 2014's Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show in Harrisburg.

"Paid admission was 135 percent of our goal, and we ended up having over 3,500 people walk through the show," said Richard Cooper, the promoter of last weekend's American Outdoorsman Sport Show in Carlisle. He declined to provide sales totals.

Cooper, the president of Millersburg-based UPOD Radio Inc. that operates radio station WQLV 98.9 FM, also submitted a proposal to be the promoter for the reincarnated Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show in Harrisburg next February.

Patrick Kerwin, executive director of the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center, said it is interviewing potential organizers for next year's event.

The state Department of Agriculture, which oversees the complex, is evaluating proposals submitted March 11 and expects to make a decision on the next promoter by mid-April, spokeswoman Samantha Krepps said.

Former promoter Reed Exhibitions' contract was null and void when this year's show was canceled, and the company said they had no interest in a 2014 show, Krepps said.

The Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show was canceled in January due to an exhibitor boycott. Reed Exhibitions had banned so-called "modern sporting rifles," semi-automatic rifles also called "assault weapons," after the December Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Conn., that killed 20 elementary students and six staff.

The show's cancellation had an estimated total loss to the local economy of $80 million.

The Carlisle show did well considering the smaller venue at the Carlisle Expo Center and short lead-up in organizing, Cooper said.

"Our exhibitors had a wonderful weekend. They felt blessed by the quality of visitors," he said in an email. "I heard several success stories from vendors, including one participant that said they did more business this past weekend than at any other show this season."

The Carlisle show attracted more than 90 exhibitors, demonstrations and seminars scheduled for last weekend, Cooper said. He was forced to turn some exhibitors away due to space limitations.

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