``Racheting excitement’’ for new outdoor show

SHARE ``Racheting excitement’’ for new outdoor show

Bob Shirley is an old hand at this, putting on fishing-oriented shows for ordinary fishermen.

And he has a new one, the Chicago Fishing and Outdoor Expo.

In the 1990s, Bob and crew put on what most of us called “The Shirley Show,” then he headed the Arlington Sportfishing Expo in the northwest suburbs from 1998-2003.

Bob may have been the best at putting on a show for Chicago fisherman.

“It will be the real deal,” he told me Friday. “We are putting in as much of what used to work.”

Will his methods still work?

I suspect they may with some new wrinkles and the good-will Bob has in the industry and among regular fishermen. He already has an impressive batch of the manufacturers lined up.

“I’m trying to offer value to everybody,” he said.

That includes lower prices for booth space, and a $5 ticket for show-goers with free parking at Ho-Chunk Sports and Expo Center in Lynwood Feb. 27-March 1, 2009.

Bob has lined up most of his faithful presenters, expected are Babe Winkelman, Ron Lindner, Dan Gapen, Jimmy Houston, Ted Takasaki, Gary Roach, Bob Mehsikomer, Dave Csanda and Dan Gapen.

There will be others with local resumes such as Matt Mullady and Dave Mull. And he has some new wrinkles: Bob is getting “Mr. Sound Effects” Wes Harrison, and is near signing Ish Monroe, the ground-breaking African-American fisherman.

“Maybe we can rachet up the excitement,” Bob said.

For information, go to www.chicagofishingexpo.com.

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