Ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.

Friday, January 10, 2014

SHOT Show, the BIGGEST Show on Earth

Like a massive elk herd migrating to its winter grounds, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will join exhibitors from across the country and around the world January 14-17, 2014, in Las Vegas for the 36th annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show, more popularly known as SHOT Show

One word sums up SHOT Show: BIG! How big is it? Hosted by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), it’s the largest trade show of its kind in the world. More than 60,000 industry professionals from all 50 states and more than 100 countries around the globe will attend the trade-only-not-open-to-the-public gathering to check out the latest, greatest gadgets and products from some 1,600 exhibitors used by target shooters, hunters, outdoorsmen and women and law enforcement professionals.

The one tidbit of vital knowledge SHOT Show veterans share with trade show newcomers is simply this: “Make sure you wear the most comfortable pair of shoes you own.” Why? Again, because SHOT Show is BIG! Exhibit space covers more than 63,000 square feet. That’s comparable to about 11 football fields or roughly equivalent in size to the New Orleans Superdome. Yeah, BIG! If you want to wax poetic, the exhibit floor covers “12 and a half miles of aisles.” The floor plan covers two massive levels (five if you count press and meeting rooms, the International Trade Center and educational rooms, and a massive ballroom that hosts the State of the Industry dinner). If you wanted to visit each and every exhibitor over the show’s three days, you’d only have a mere 22 seconds to visit each booth. That’s why you need the shoes. 

As for the overall product selection, it’s BIG! While it’s impossible to list everything, here’s one sentence from a SHOT Show news release: 
Manufacturers and distributors display a wide range of products, including firearms, ammunition, gun safes, safety locks and cases, optics, shooting range equipment, targets, training and safety equipment, hunting accessories, law enforcement equipment, hearing and eye protection, tree stands, scents and lures, cutlery, GPS systems, holsters, apparel, leather goods, game calls and decoys.

"The variety of new and existing products that will be on display at the SHOT Show reflects the tremendous interest in the shooting sports by Americans from all walks of life--across all income levels, including men and women, adults and youth and those from rural communities to urban areas," said NSSF President and CEO Steve Sanetti. "This growing interest demonstrates that despite continued challenges to our industry and our sports, our hunting and recreational shooting traditions are here to stay. And we will do everything possible to protect those freedoms and the way of life that we cherish."

When you talk about the economic impact of SHOT Show and the outdoor industry, you’re talking some BIG, BIG numbers. Firearms and ammo are a $6 billion industry with an economic impact of $38 billion that directly supports more than 245,000 jobs nationwide. SHOT Show itself is the fifth largest trade show in Las Vegas and the 16th largest in the entire United States. In 2013 alone, SHOT Show pumped more than $73.1 million into the Vegas economy. 

And the media turnout? It’s BIG too. Approximately 2,500 media members received credentials. The first day of SHOT Show is Media Day at the Range. NSSF takes over a large outdoor shooting range where media members can handle, test and learn about the new products. Yeah, that would be one rough assignment.

So why does the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation attend? SHOT Show provides RMEF a unique, and dare we say BIG, opportunity to meet ace-to-face with sponsors, supporters, media members and organizations, and other group and company representatives from across the wide geographical spectrum of the outdoor industry in one location. In fact, RMEF staffers basically have non-stop, sit-down meetings beginning Tuesday morning at 7:30 and continuing through mid to late Friday afternoon. If you’re keeping track, and we are, that’s approximately 75 different meetings! And that does not include the many news conferences, receptions, award shows, and breakfast, lunch and dinner dates that stretch from sun-up until sundown. It is a BIG opportunity for RMEF to seek out and solidify relationships with partners who support our mission to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.

The popular saying goes “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” but what RMEF makes happen in Vegas at SHOT Show will have BIG, positive ramifications for elk and elk country for 2014 and beyond.

It’s a good thing we’ll have our comfortable walking shoes with us.

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