Palmetto Sportsmen's Classic has something for outdoor lovers and their family members


Calling all those who love the outdoors. The Palmetto Sportsmen's Classic is returning to the S.C. State Fairgrounds, 1200 Rosewood Drive, Columbia, from Friday to Sunday, March 22-24.

The S.C. Farm Bureau-sponsored event has something for every family member, including your dog.

If your dog loves to run, jump and swim, this canine aquatic competition is for you. If you don't have a dog, you still don't want to miss seeing these amazing dogs on all three days of the event. The schedule is:

Friday: Onsite registration/practice, noon; Big Air Wave #1, 1 p.m.; Big Air Wave #2, 3:30 p.m.; and Big Air Wave #3 - 6 p.m.

Saturday: Onsite registration/practice, 9 a.m.; Big Air Wave #4, 10 a.m..; Big Air Wave #5, 12:30 p.m.; and Extreme Vertical Competition, 3:30 p.m.

Sunday: Onsite registration/practice, 11 a.m.; Big Air Wave #6, noon; Speed Retrieve Competition, 2:30 p.m.; and Big Air Finals, 5 p.m. (Pro, Semi Pro, Contender and Amateur Finals)

If fishing is your thing, you have several attractions to choose from. On Friday only, visitors will have the chance to meet two world-class anglers, Jimmy Houston and Roland Martin, both renowned in the outdoor TV hosting realm.

Children will love SCDNR's Aquatic Education Pond. Numerous children have caught their first fish at this pond over the years of the Classic. DNR's aquatic education staff, biologists, technicians and volunteers will be on hand to help kids catch a catfish.

Jim Vitaro's Hawg Trough, a mobile 5,000-gallon fish tank that is transported to locations across the country as an attraction at boat shows, sportsman expos, fairs and festivals, will be part of the fun. The tanks are filled with water and stocked with fish. Using the PA system, the fishing expert/tank operator provides periodic seminars and fishing demonstrations for education and entertainment of attendees.

If looking to the sky is more interesting to you, check out the Extreme Raptor Show, the world's largest traveling collection of raptors with stunning birds of prey from diverse habitats. The show includes eagles, hawks, falcons and owls from around the globe. The 30-minute show is exciting, entertaining and educational and has choreographed music and special effects performed by master falconer Jonathan Wood. There will be free-flight demos with a variety of birds and a meet-and-greet photo-op afterward with most birds on display up close and personal. The Raptor Project birds are regularly highlighted on national TV including Animal Planet, The Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel, National Geographic Explorer, The Today Show, Good Morning America, The Early Show, Fox News Channel, CNN, ESPN, PBS, CBN and TBN.

Wood, master falconer and wildlife rehabilitator, has assembled a collection of feathered predators that is unrivaled in scope and size. Operating from two home bases in New York's Catskill Mountains and the Texas Gulf coast enables Wood, wife, Susan, and daughter, Rachel, to tour in a large RV that serves as home, office and traveling bird exhibit.

Besides the numerous exhibitors, there will be vendors of all kinds. Visit to see the list.

Have your antlers scored

at the Classic

Each year at the Palmetto Sportsmen's Classic, SCDNR wildlife biologists and wildlife technicians have an antler scoring station, in the Ellison building at the S.C. State Fairgrounds, where hunters can bring their antlers to have them scored. Depending on the score, the antlers may be ranked on South Carolina's all-time antler records list.

The objectives of the state records list are to recognize outstanding animals and to identify areas that produce quality deer. This information allows biologists to take a closer look at habitat and deer herd conditions in order to make future management recommendations.

Please fill out forms in advance to ensure the line moves as quickly as possible. Waiting times will vary depending on attendance. Drop the mount off at the beginning of the Classic, shop around, and then return to the antler scoring station to pick up your mount on the way out of the Classic. Hunters must provide the necessary documentation, such as the date and county of the kill, and must sign a "fair chase" statement when they bring in a set of antlers for measuring. An accurate weight measurement at the time of the kill is also helpful. To see a score sheet, visit

Antlers in velvet or those that are broken and repaired or antlers separated from the skull plate cannot be officially measured for the state records list. If the lower jawbone of the animal was extracted during taxidermy or otherwise saved, it should be brought to the measuring session so biologists can determine the deer's age. Antlers don't have to be from this year's deer season.

Though the scoring process is free, you must purchase a ticket to the Palmetto Sportsmen's Classic online or at the gate to enter the Classic.

The hours of the March 22-24 Classic are: Friday, noon-8 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. General admission is $10, with children 12 and under admitted for free. Senior citizens, military, veterans and first responders receive a discount at the gate. Fairground parking is $5. To purchase tickets online, visit