Michigan’s Longest-Running Sport Show Returns to DeVos Place in Grand Rapids March 19-22

Recognized as the longest-running show of its kind in Michigan, the 75th Annual Ultimate Sport Show (along with the Grand Rapids Boat Show) started in 1946 as the West Michigan Sportland Boat Show. That first year, the show encompassed less than 25,000 square feet of space in the Welsh Auditorium.

Today, the 75th annual event has expanded to more than 200,000 square feet of pillarless display space throughout the three main Exhibition Halls and Grand Gallery at DeVos Place, running March 19-22.

Hunting and fishing are huge economic drivers in Michigan, according to a first-of-its-kind study released in 2019 by the Michigan United Conservation Clubs in partnership with the Michigan State University Eli Broad College of Business. The report shows Michigan ranks first among the Great Lakes states for jobs created from hunting- and fishing-related purchases – and generates more than $11.2 billion annually. The data also show 171,000 jobs are created and supported annually across Michigan by hunting and fishing, putting those related activities in the top 10 percent of the state’s job-creation industries.

With over four acres of fishing and hunting gear, fishing boats, travel destinations, displays, features and seminars, the Ultimate Sport Show is a hotbed of activity for outdoor and sport enthusiasts.

Highlights include:

  • “Lake Ultimate” – a 110,000-gallon indoor lake!
  • Timberworks Lumberjack Show (axe throwing, chopping, log rolling, cross-cut sawing, hot sawing and chainsaw carving)
  • Hawg Trough (a mobile 5,000-gallon fish tank with guest fishing experts on hand every day providing seminars and fishing demonstrations)
  • World Class Taxidermy (the Michigan’s Taxidermist Association display with upwards of 250 mounts are entered)
  • Trout Pond (operated by Northern Little League as a fundraiser, you and your kids are invited to come and try your hand for just $5 to give it a try)
  • Woodcarvers (an impressive display of the Woodland Woodcarvers)
  • Fish Cleaning Demonstrations (presented by the Grand Rapids Steelheaders)
  • Fishing Simulator (presented by the Michigan Charter Boat Association)
  • Grand Rapids Open Turkey Calling Competition (hosted by the Grand Valley Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Saturday from 2pm – 6pm)
  • Rock Wall (climb this 25-foot wall utilizing the state-of-the-art hydraulic billet system, brought to the Show by Cran Hill Ranch for a small fee benefitting the Child Mentoring Services at DA Blodgett – St Johns)
  • Antique Lures (Terry McBurney, award winning Woods-n-Water News writer, will be on hand all four days of the Show exhibiting some of his “Made in Michigan” fishing tackle collection. He is a member of the National Fishing Lure Collectors Club and the Old Reel Collectors Association and is well versed in a wide variety of lures, reels, rods and accessories. Terry will be answering questions and offering FREE appraisals. Ultimate Sport Show visitors are invited to bring in their old fishing tackle tucked away in the barn, basement or garage. There might be some valuable surprises)

Plus…nearly 100 fishing and hunting seminars on 5 stages including:

  • Ultimate Walleye Clinic
  • Ultimate Bass Clinic
  • Ultimate Salmon & Steelhead Clinic
  • ORV Certification Class
  • Turkey Hunting Workshop

A West Michigan tradition, the 75th Annual Ultimate Sport Show – Grand Rapids (March 19-22) is Michigan’s longest running show of its kind spread out over four (4) acres inside DeVos Place. It is one of 14 consumer expositions produced by ShowSpan Inc., in Grand Rapids. Founded in 1945, ShowSpan – a Studio C Company – is the largest producer of consumer shows in the Midwest.