With a Grown Man's Allowance

Guys are so into gadgets and, I hate to say, unconventional stuff. Women are more practical buyers, and men go out and buy motorcycles and stuff," says Heather Cook, account executive at Spear/Hall Advertising and Public Relations, the agency behind San Diego's first Big Boy Toys Show. The event takes place this weekend at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Shelly Hall, who started Spear/Hall in San Diego 25 years ago, and Ernie Hahn, whose family owns the Sports Arena, co-founded the Big Boy Toys Show. "We've been friends for years," says Hall of Hahn. "Years ago we had started another show called the Golf Fest Show." Hall was aware of similar "big boy toy" shows, the largest of which he says is in New Zealand. "Fifty-two thousand people through in three days."

Hall and Hahn attempted to incorporate everything the "typical" male might be interested in. Jamie Zimron will be demonstrating KiAi Golf, which combines "ancient Eastern wisdom with leading Western psycho-physiological methods for mastery." The process uses Japanese swordsmanship to teach kata, the Japanese word for "form." Zimron, a professional golf instructor with a black belt in aikido, sells instructional videos to teach golfers how to "play golf like a black belt."

"I've always wanted to try one of those things," says Hall of the Segway Human Transporter, one of the products that people can try out at the show. Many companies offer customers the chance to try out their products. Sport Court, a company that makes half-court basketball courts that people can build in their back yards, will be hosting open play on one of their courts throughout the weekend.

Attendees will receive a free race pass for the Miramar Speed Circuit. "It's not like the old go-carts where you go 25 miles per hour and race against the clock," says Hall. "Here you're going 35, 40 miles per hour, passing people up, spinning around the corners, and crashing."

Health and fitness freaks can visit Frank Zane, a former bodybuilder who won the title of Mr. Olympia three years in a row in the late 1970s. "He created this machine for older men who are trying to stay active. It's basically a squat machine that takes the pressure off your knees," Cook says of the Zane Leg Blaster, which goes for $399 on Zane's website.

"The fun thing going on throughout the weekend is the poker tournament," says Cook. "Tom Gallagher is so good at playing poker that he's not allowed in Vegas casinos. He teaches a Learning Annex course. He'll have his table set up and running a contest [all weekend]." The winner of the poker contest will receive the custom poker table on which the tournament is played. The table is worth $540.

What kind of show for big boys would be complete without beautiful, hard-to-get girls? Model Denise Page will be signing autographs, Gulls Girls will be performing dance routines, and Hooters Girls will circulate while selling raffle tickets.

"If you look at shows around the country, I guess, you see [the answer to the question]: 'What do guys like?'" explains Hall. "We're trying to do it in a way that's tasteful. In Vegas it's a little bit different."

Perhaps one of the strangest exhibits is hosted by TASER International. "People will actually allow themselves to get TASERed," says Hall. "They just love doing it. They love trying it out and seeing what it feels like." -- Barbarella

The Big Boy Toys Show Friday, November 4, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, November 5, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, November 6, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Del Mar Fairgrounds, O'Brien Hall 2260 Jimmy Durante Boulevard Del Mar Cost: $10; children under 10 free Info: 858-586-1202 or bigboytoysshow.com

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