sportsmanasc0353.032218 bf

'Maddie' goes after the throw tossed by Laurie Welch at the Splash Dogs pool during the 39th Annual Louisiana Sportsman Show and Festival, Louisiana's largest outdoor show and boat show, at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center on March 16, 2018, in Gonzales.

It happens every spring, and it once called the Mercedes-Benz Superdome home, but, this week, the 40th annual Louisiana Sportsman Show settles, once again, into its friendly confines of the Lamar Dixon Expo Center off La. 30 in Gonzales.

And, if this show gets any bigger, Lamar Dixon will have to open another of its buildings to add to this massive, all-in-one-place hunting and fishing extravaganza.

Show hours are noon-7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.

When the show first moved to Lamar Dixon after the tragic rampage of Hurricane Katrina, paid parking was the norm.

Not now: it’s free parking with $12 daily admission for adults, $6 for children 12 and younger and free to youngsters 5 and younger. Kids get in free Sunday.

Of course there are boats, even duck-hunting boats, and outboards and trolling motors and trailers — it’s the biggest boat show in the state (and if you include Mississippi, Arkansas and Alabama, then it’s four states) and more fishing tackle and hunting stuff than you can find in any big-box outdoors retailer.

Need an ATV, a tractor and outdoor power equipment? It’s there, too, along with family-friendly exhibits and activities. Show highlights include:

  • The Louisiana Sportsman Big Buck Contest with a display of the state’s largest racks taken during the past season by state hunters. It’s also a chance to get your prized buck’s antlers measured by certified Boone & Crockett and Pope & Young scorers, but remember, to be official, the rack must have dried for at least 60 days;
  • The always popular “Splash Dogs” Contest. Bring your retriever for a chance to chase a training dummy from a dock overlooking a pool;
  • Fishing and hunting outfitters from across the country ready to take one of those trips off your bucket list.

For more info, go to the show’s website: louisianasportsmanshow.com.

Joe Macaluso