NSSF’s Trade Show Set Records, Despite Anti-Industry Attacks.
NSSF held its 35th annual SHOT Show in Las Vegas in January, setting attendance records and drawing high praise from exhibitors and attendees — all in the midst of intense anti-gun/anti-industry scrutiny.
The show attracted a record 62,371 attendees from all 50 states and 100 countries, while also setting a record for the number of buyers. In addition, more than 2,000 media representatives from around the word covered the event.
Attendees converged on more than 1,600 exhibitors, whose booths covered 630,000 square feet of the Sands Expo and Convention Center, making SHOT Show the largest trade event of its kind in the world, and the fifth largest trade show in Las Vegas.
The annual gathering is important to business success, according to exhibitors.
“For the 24 years we’ve been going, the SHOT Show is the most important show we do each year. It is the largest venue globally and the most important. Every important customer comes to the show for that reason,” said John Anthon, GATCO Sharpeners/Timberline Knives president.
“The SHOT Show is the springboard for every new product we introduce each year. It gives industry the opportunity to see our new products, and allows us to get feedback from them to know we are heading in the right direction,” said Frank Devlin, Otis Technology commercial channel manager.
“It’s a powerhouse show; the place where you can talk to writers, dealers and industry VIPs,” said Dwight Van Brunt, Kimber vice president of marketing and sales.
“We get to talk to our biggest customers and show them what we have. We’ve been here all 35 years of the show, so two important benefits are seeing old friends and building key relationships,” said Ernie Callandrelli, Quaker Boy Inc. director of public relations and advertising.
Beyond Selling, Buying
Given the seemingly endless gun-control dialogue in the media during the show, exhibitors and attendees were mindful of the important role the show plays, beyond the business conducted on the show floor. Revenues from the show support NSSF’s many programs to “promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports.”
“What this show generates for our cause is absolutely critical,” said Tom Taylor, O.F. Mossberg & Sons vice president of sales and marketing.
“We need to communicate more to our members that the funds from this show are going to build the entire future of our industry,” said Steve Lamboy, Micheli-Lamboy Marketing president.
At the SHOT Show’s State of the Industry dinner, held the first evening of the show, Steve Sanetti, NSSF president and CEO, addressed more than 1,800 industry leaders. Referring to the barrage of anti-gun/anti-industry rhetoric following the tragic mid-December shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Sanetti began his address, saying, “The state of our industry is, in a word, misunderstood.”
“Who among us has not been moved by the unspeakable tragedy that was inflicted by a deranged man upon the children of Newtown, Conn., our very home at the NSSF? … We all must recognize that those who don’t agree with us share in our desire to rid the world of such monstrous acts, and they must recognize that we are not the evildoers,” Sanetti said.
“Ours is a responsible industry that makes and sells lawful products to law-abiding citizens. Citizens who exercise their constitutional right to own, use and enjoy firearms safely and responsibly for all lawful purposes. We are part of the fabric of American life, and we treasure our children, our heritage and our traditions.”
Sanetti outlined the many safety and education programs NSSF and the industry have begun and championed for years, including Project ChildSafe and Don’t Lie for the Other Guy, and supporting the NICS Improvement Amendments Act.
“I don’t think many of those who disagree with what we do appreciate the many things we’ve done to advocate personal responsibility with firearms,” Sanetti said.
Sanetti said the industry is ready to take part in “any constructive dialogue regarding the safe and lawful manufacture, distribution, sale, ownership and use of firearms by law-abiding American citizens.”
“But a prerequisite to such dialogue is an honest recognition of the legitimacy of what we do and the important part of the national culture, which we represent. Hunting and the recreational shooting sports are here to stay. And so are we,” Sanetti said.
Support The Industry
During the State of the Industry dinner, NSSF presented FMG Publications with its Ken Sedlecky Achievement Award for FMG’s longstanding support of NSSF’s First Shots program through funds raised (nearly $150,000) at its Shooting Industry Masters events.
Retired NSSF President Doug Painter was honored with the Professional Outdoor Media Association-NSSF Grits Gresham Shooting Sports Communicator Award for extraordinary achievements in communications in support of hunting’s heritage and firearms freedoms.
The 2013 SHOT Show auction on GunBroker.com raised a history-making $165,604, led by record-high bid of $136,024 for a specially built Turnbull TAR-10 .308 rifle. Administered by the Hunting Heritage Trust, the auction supports America’s hunting and shooting sports heritage.
“We did our best to make this a very special rifle. We had hopes of beating the all-time record of $83,025, but we never imagined the bidding would surpass $100,000 and then soar to more than $136,000,” said Doug Turnbull, company president.
The SHOT Show Birdies for the Brave golf event, held the weekend before the show, raised more than $100,000 for eight military home-front groups, including Green Beret Foundation, Navy Seal Foundation and Operation Homefront.
More than 1,200 members of the media attended the 2013 SHOT Show Media Day at the Range. Over 140 manufacturers provided the media a hands-on opportunity to shoot and test 2013 new products.
Save The Date
The SHOT Show will return to the Sands Expo & Convention Center Jan. 14-17, 2014. Visit www.shotshow.org.
SHOT Show Media Day at the Range will be held Jan. 13, 2014. Visit www.media-day.com.
By Russ Thurman
Photos By Jade Molde
>> Click Here << To View More SHOT Show 2013 Photos
>> Click Here << To Read The Shooting Industry April 2013 Issue