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Clint Walker - Carp in the Park

A blistering weekend of sunshine blessed the crowds at the annual Carp in the Park show at Billing Aquadrome in Northamptonshire, and I was lucky enough to enjoy the whole weekend working on the RAD Angling stand! I mean lucky too, it’s always a privilege to be asked to help showcase such top quality carbon bankware, and as part of a fine team of consultants, we always look forward to getting together to discuss all things fishing whilst checking out the latest production prototypes and launching new kit into the market. It’s always fun, (if tiring) and this show is unusual because everyone bivvies up, enjoys a few beers and a barbeque together, whilst listening to some live music! How can it not be enjoyable?

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I drove down on Saturday morning, bright and early, to find the stand (a purpose built trailer) ready to go, the kettle on, and the bacon grilling, as the team started to get ready for the forthcoming day. The RAD trailer is the envy of many within the ‘paddock’ and allows us to get set up within minutes, and pack away even faster, whilst others struggle with building gazebo type stands which are in no way as sturdy as the trailer. Once opened, our carbon fibre products can be set up on the front stage, the television set to loop the promotional video, and that’s about it; simple, visually effective, and easy to use. Even before the gates officially opened, we had visitors from other companies as they came to check out what was on offer before the rush, and also to cast a shady eye over our trailer; I don’t think it will be long before similar others start to appear!

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By 10am, the sun was already high in the sky, and as the gates opened, the paying public started the quick first loop of the assembled trade stands before deciding where to spend their hard-earned cash. It’s something that you get used to at the shows, the initial rush, a quieter period, then mid-morning, the action starts to hot up as decisions are made and customers return to the trailer. I love it! The products are so good, that no ‘hard sell’ is required, but it’s always good fun bantering with customers as each option is explained before cash changes hands and the buyer departs happy with their purchase.

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Throughout the day, a number of talks and demonstrations took place on the ‘stage’ with big name anglers spilling the beans to show their secrets, edges and tips, and a bankside cookery showcase saw volunteers learn new skills under the tutelage of top chef Simon Bishop who then presented them with a bag full of goodies too! There was huge a beer tent, casting instruction, rig and bait demos, and all sorts of other things which kept the crowds entertained. The first day went well, lots of carbon fibre bankware went home with happy customers, and when it was time to shut down for the day, we simply dropped the trailer door; brilliant! I didn’t realise how tiring it had been though. Fully intent on bivvying up, I didn’t bother, instead unfolding my bed in the shadow of the trailer, unfurling my duvet, and that’s the last I remember until the boss woke me an hour later with a bottle of beer in hand!

The evening was spent listening to the live band, sharing a few cold beers, and eating platefuls of steak, sausages, chicken and burgers as the sun went down…perfect! I slipped back under the duvet and awoke 8 hours later as the sun rose over the trees, my Minions duvet cover adorned with a thin sheen of early morning dew, before going for a freezing cold shower ready to start day two. Sunday followed in much the same way as the previous day, a plateful of bacon sandwiches getting things off to a super start, before mugs of tea washed it all down and the trailer was opened up. Again, enthusiastic punters lined up ready to buy new carbon, and before long, we were forced to take orders as so much stock had been sold! The sun still shone, the weather was superb, and every single person I spoke to had thoroughly enjoyed it and couldn’t wait for the next one… the mark of a good show.

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Carp in the Park turned out to be a fantastic way for the angling trade to engage directly with customers, answer queries, and sell product. More importantly, the whole event was fun, with something for all, and I noted far fewer bored looking partners as the angler in their life browsed the kit on offer…not like many of the other shows where it ALL about fishing! Overall, it was a fun way to spend a weekend, I can hardly call it ‘work’, and it was great to meet so many anglers with whom I’ve only conversed via email or social media who popped in to see us. Thank you, it was very much appreciated, and I hope I’ll see you at the next one!

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