As soon as the the inaugural Sacramento Sports Collectors Show opened on Saturday, May 14, 2016, many eager sports fans were waiting to get autographs from the professional athletes confirmed to be in attendance and to buy those great sports items missing from their personal collections.
There was definitely room to roam in the cavernous main floor of the McClellan Conference Center in Sacramento, California, with dozens of dealers selling items; a few professional athletes such as four-time National Football League Pro Bowl running back Roger Craig sitting at tables and talking to fans; and representatives from local sports teams like the Sacramento Kings and Sac City Rollers (roller derby) giving away swag to attendees.
Most dealers sold trading cards and collectibles like signed helmets and photographs. A few sold comic books and pop-culture items. A traveling wrestling ring was set up so attendees could watch live wrestling from stars (such as Austin St. John) of the local staple Supreme Pro Wrestling. The matches did not last long, and unfortunately, the ring was disassembled around 1pm, but it was nice to see some live action.
With many people milling around at that time, it was obvious most were waiting for Major League Baseball’s all-time hits leader Pete Rose to arrive, which was probably the main reason so few people went to see Q&A sessions with two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and former Sacramento Monarchs guard Ruthie Bolton and three-time Super Bowl champion and former San Francisco 49er Bubba Paris.
Bolton discussed being recruited by Auburn, playing in the Olympics, staying in Sacramento after her Monarchs career, coaching boys’ basketball, and a possible resurrection of the Monarchs in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). She also spoke about being the subject of an upcoming ESPN documentary, Mighty Ruthie, about her life, career and surviving domestic violence.
Paris spoke about his career, his decision to play for the University of Michigan over Purdue, being drafted by Bill Walsh for the San Francisco 49ers, and his current gig as a motivational speaker. He also gave a boy in the audience a personal tip on exuding confidence and swagger.
Aside from attending the panels, playing some video games in a nearby room, browsing trading card binders and boxes, and waiting in line to take photos and get autographs, there was not much to do at the show. Schedules permitting, the live wrestling matches should have been staggered throughout the day instead of all in the morning. The all-female roller derby team, the Sac City Rollers, should have held an exhibition. And there could have been more sports programming to keep attendees busy and interested for the entire day. That being said, I think the first Sac Sports Collectors Show was a success, with many smiling attendees.