National Sports Center acquires Minnesota Deer Classic

The National Sports Center (NSC) has reached an agreement to acquire the Minnesota Deer Classic, one of the Upper Midwest’s largest hunting shows.

Hugh Price started the Minnesota Deer Classic in 1982. Earlier this year, he indicated a desire to sell the popular show and retire.

Barclay Kruse, the NSC’s chief communications officer, confirmed last week that Price and the NSC had been discussing an event sale for several months.

The iconic 30-year-old event will leave its longtime home at the State Fair Coliseum and move to the NSC campus in Blaine.

The relocated Deer Classic is tentatively scheduled for Friday through Sunday, March 1-3, 2013.

The event it is projected to draw 6,000 to 10,000 attendees at its new venue.

According to Classic Director Greg Savino, the NSC will be able to offer new activities not feasible at the State Fairgrounds.

By utilizing all the space at Schwan Center, including the new Sport Expo Center, the NSC will be able to accommodate about 170 booths, Savino said.

Other available space at the NSC might be used for events that would attract a hunting audience, he said.

“You might see an archery 3D competition, an antler hunting event or other creative enhancements we’re working on. You might even see outdoor events,” Savino said.

The Deer Classic will have a strong commitment to education, with seminars and workshops scheduled throughout the weekend.

“We’re proud to be able to step in and continue the tradition of the Minnesota Deer Classic,” Savino said.

Price will stay involved with the Deer Classic as a consultant. He will also retain ownership of the Minnesota Record Book, the Deer Classic’s signature publication, in which hunters come to the Deer Classic to register noteworthy antlers, as measured on the Boone-and-Crockett and Pope-and-Young systems.

There will be a public announcement of the transfer of ownership on Wednesday, Sept. 5 at 5 p.m. at the NSC Sport Expo Center.

Price and NSC officials will be available to answer questions. Tours of the 21,000 square-foot Sport Expo Center will be available. Refreshments will be served. The public is invited to attend.

The Deer Classic joins the NSC’s growing stable of outdoor sports shows, which include the inaugural Hard Water Ice Fishing Expo, Nov. 16-18, the Minnesota Anglers Expo, Feb. 8-10, 2013 and the Great Waters Fly Fishing Expo, March 22-24, 2013.

Tim Hennagir is at [email protected]