Manufacturers of male blue jeans with rear end rhinestones are going to see a big dip in sales this year since the Archery Trade Association (ATA) and Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT) conventions have been canceled for 2021.
All jokes aside about the large number of grown men dressing up like teenage pop stars, this is a disappointment for the industry. These two shows annually bring together many different components of the hunting and shooting industry to conduct business and build camaraderie in many segments of the industry.
A National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) press release announcing the cancellation of the 2021 SHOT Show stated, “NSSF has remained in constant communication with Nevada officials throughout the year in our planning for the 2021 show. While there has been a concerted effort to expand the allowable levels for large gatherings by the county and state, with positivity rates peaking during our key planning period we have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2021 show. Sadly, these spikes are currently transpiring worldwide. Given the sheer complexities, diminishing timeline and immense logistical planning required to conduct a trade show as large as SHOT, NSSF simply could not move forward at this point with so many unknowns and variables.”
Las Vegas, where the SHOT is held, is suffering from the cancellation of many conventions, but so are other cities across the country, like Indianapolis, where the ATA has been a regular occurrence. Bars, restaurants, hotels and more businesses are losing a significant source of economic stimulus from these conventions.
ATA board member Mark Copeland, of Jay’s Sporting Goods, said, “This was a very difficult decision to make, but as a father and a small business owner, we need to look out for the health and safety of our members’ staff and their families. At some point, you have to ask yourself, ‘What’s the long-term impact of a Show with less than 50 percent attendees and vendors?’ It’s the Board of Directors responsibility to look out for the industry, and as painful as this decision was to make, I believe it’s the right one.”
ATA has already said they will be offering a virtual show of some sorts, which will include education opportunities, show specials and Impact Awards.
James McGovern, co-chair of the ATA board of directors and owner of Rinehart Targets, said: “When I look to 2022, I know that we can continue to host an event that the industry is proud of. For me, that is what drove this decision. It came down to the continued viability of the ATA to serve the industry. I know that the ATA leadership team can navigate the organization to 2022 and I believe that we can host as great an event as you have come to expect. What I didn’t know was what would the ATA show look like in 2022 if we hosted an event in 2021 that did not live up to the standards our industry has come to know and appreciate. Canceling the show was difficult, but knowing that this was the right decision is not.”
The loss of these conventions is a major financial setback for these organizations and their efforts to support the shooting and hunting industry. We can only hope the loss of the 2021 conventions will drive increased excitement for the 2022 conventions. Hopefully, these will be exceptional successes based on a pent-up excitement for reuniting as an industry and once again seeing long-term friends in person.
See you down the trail.
Brandon Butler is an outdoors columnist for the News Tribune. Contact him at [email protected]