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#06-45 February 20, 2006

Alligator educator headlines Palmetto Sportsmen’s Classic

The Swampmaster Gator Show, featuring Jeff Quattrochi of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., is in “center pool” three times daily at the Palmetto Sportsmen’s Classic, teaching visitors about the alligator using demonstrations, humor and entertainment.

The free program allows visitors to touch a young alligator and learn more about its natural history. Quattrochi, with more than 10 years of experience, will skillfully handle an 8-foot, 200-pound alligator during his demonstrations.

The 22nd Annual Palmetto Sportsmen’s Classic will be held at the State Fairgrounds in Columbia March 24-26. Doors will be open from noon to 8 p.m. Friday, March 24; from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Call the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) office at (803) 734-4008 in Columbia or visit the Palmetto Sportsmen’s Classic Web site at http://www.psclassic.com for more information on the Classic or any of the programs. Visit http://www.capitolint.com/Fairs/swampmaster/swamp.htm for more information on the Swampmaster Gator Show.

“We’re excited to again feature this exciting, educational event this year,” said Mary Pugh, organizer of the annual Palmetto Sportsmen’s Classic for DNR. “The Swampmaster was one of our most popular attractions in 2003 and 2004. Unlike other events that charge additional fees for such attractions, we’re happy to provide the Swampmaster at no extra charge to our visitors.”

More than 300 exhibitors will be on site with the latest fishing, hunting and outdoor equipment for show and sale. Several other free events at this year's Palmetto Sportsmen’s Classic include: Twiggy, the Water Skiing Squirrel, Okefenokee Joe, Roark Ferguson’s Reptile Safari, DNR's Take One Make One trailer-based air rifle and D.A.R.T. shooting ranges; some of the world's best archers shooting bow-to-bow in a national Buckmasters indoor archery competition or bring your own bow and compete in the archery contest sponsored by Lake Marion Archery Club & the Palmetto Archery Federation; and a team duck calling contest sponsored by Duck’s Unlimited.

Admission to the 2006 Palmetto Sportsmen’s Classic is $6, and parking is $1. Seniors 60 and over get in for $5 while children 10 and under are admitted free. Visitors bringing five canned food items for Harvest Hope Food Bank receive $1 off admission. Hours are noon to 8 p.m. Friday, March 24; from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

The Palmetto Sportsmen's Classic is sponsored by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, Harry Hampton Memorial Wildlife Fund, WCOS-FM Radio, WIS-TV, and South Carolina Wildlife magazine, The Hampton Fund uses proceeds for natural resources conservation projects in South Carolina, such as Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs; Operation Game Thief Project WILD and Becoming an Outdoors-Woman.            

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