Sunday, January 31, 2010

SHOT SHOW and other things

Just returned from the Shooting, Hunting, & Outdoor Trade Show, or SHOT Show. This is the one with all the debut patterns for the knife industry in the coming year.

For Knives Illustrated this is the largest article we will do all year (25 plus pages), so the work on pulling four days worth of interviews, press kits, photos, CD's, flash drives, and observation is consuming a lot of time.

The SHOT show began when the gun and knife boys at the old National Sporting Goods Association show (NSGA) were crowded out of the prime locations with the takeover of the show (in space, and prime locations) by the expanding athletic shoe market. Through the 70's our people found us shoved off to the lesser locations by the dollars of the shoe boys. With four years of bad weather th e breaking point came and the gun industry and those related to it formed the SHOT show.

It is interesting to note how history seems to be beginning to repeat itself. The SHOT show sectioned itself off a few years ago, with sections for firearms, clothing and fabric (camouflage), and law enforcement (which had been limited at one point and only as a adjunct room in recent years). But the core, the essence of the SHOT show remained: guns, knives, and outdoor gear.

As George Satayana said, "Those who do not remember history are condemned to repeat it".

Or as my old mentor Jim Parker said, "Always dance with the girl you came in with."

At this year's SHOT show, the guns were behind huge booths like Mossy Oak camouflage fabric and clothing. The law enforcement/tactical things, once severely restricted by SHOT, were now on the main floor.

And the knives? All the companies that have been a core of the SHOT show? Down in the basement, with a low ceiling that caused at least one exhibitor to not attend as he could not erect his 2 story booth.

One could count on one hand the number of knife exhibitors on the main floor. Everyone else had been crowded out by the newcomer camouflage clothing and law enforcement/tactical.

I didn't stop to see if some of the camo manufacturers and law enforcement/tactical booths offered their own versions of footwear.