HARRISBURG -- Gov. Tom Corbett viewed horned owls, shopped for fishing lures and petted puppies, but the real spectacle at the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show was Mr. Corbett himself.
"I have to shake his hand. He might be famous someday," one sportsman said as Mr. Corbett passed surrounded by a throng of reporters and television news photographers.
So new is his administration that some show attendees mistook him for his predecessor Ed Rendell, and one exhibitor, when told the man passing by was the governor, asked, "of what state?"
That was to be expected at an event that draws exhibitors from throughout the country and even from other continents.
Organizers claim the show is the largest of its kind in the country, although they would not release attendance figures.
Mr. Corbett --- as other attendees this morning -- wandered among 1,200 booths exhibiting hunting bows, guns, camouflage gear, fishing lures, knives and taxidermy supplies. He was stopped several times along the way by acquaintances and strangers who wished him good luck.
"Thanks. We're going to need it," Mr. Corbett responded to one.
Michael Peters of Wayne County reached out for a handshake saying, "Mr. Corbett, I've just got to say hello and welcome you aboard. It's about time we got a Republican governor."
Mr. Corbett was most interested in Pennsylvania exhibits, said Indiana County native Chris O'Hara, who manages the show and led this morning's one-hour tour.
What stopped the governor in his tracks, though, was a small pen of Labrador puppies.
Daisy, the Corbett family's Airedale, died during campaign season and the governor and First Lady Sue Corbett are looking to get another dog or two, spokeswoman Kirsten Page said.
The governor left the show without a dog but, he said, with a greater appreciation for the state's natural resources.
"This is a wonderful show," he said. "It really shows one of the great points of what we have here in Pennsylvania: the great outdoors."
The show runs through Sunday at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex. For tickets and information, visit www.easternsportshow.com.
Capitol Bureau Chief Tracie Mauriello: email@example.com or 717-787-2141.