Sitting back and recapping the Shot Show last week a few things stuck in my mind. Besides the 12 miles of floor space of great products and companies, every year seems to have an overall theme. This year represented the vibe, the women, the beards and the plethora of new AR makers. Shot 2013 unfortunately was the year of gloom following the Sandy Hook shooting. There was the buying frenzy of every rifle, magazine and cartridge available. Many vendors did not show up even after paying thousands of dollars for their booths. They were busy trying to fulfill orders back at the office. Shot Show 2014 provided a complete turnaround. Last year was an uphill battle for the Gun Rights advocates. We fought hard and have won many battles against the Bloomberg big money campaigns. It appears that except for some popular gun powders and 22LR most products are available again without too much of a back order. With the highest attendance on record this year, Shot Show 2014 was a success. With this success brings up the standout characteristics.
Let us hear it for the women. If you attended Shot you had to notice the larger than life images of many talented and influential ladies of the industry. Natalie Burkholder of Girl’s Guide To Guns was 20 feet tall in the NRA booth. Jessie Duff the first woman to receive the Grand Master rating had several large banners. Julie Golob represented Smith & Wesson. Not to mention many women hunters on billboards throughout the show. I don’t mean to be catty but finally the “real” women shooters outnumbered “booth babes”. Women are the largest growing population of gun owners currently and it is making a positive impact on the world outside of our industry. Let’s hear it for the NRA for updating their image with young and talented people.
Shot provided no shortage of AR manufacturers. I thought many of the new pop up companies from 2013 would not have made it through the year. I was wrong. Not only were there over a hundred paid booths of AR companies there were another 100 walking around with lowers in their brief cases. I do not envy them the pressure of having to create an image that stands out from the crowd. Billet uppers and lowers, special finishes and built in pop out levels name a few noticeable features. I must say there was a lot of AR eye candy. I will have more detailed articles on specific products that I liked at the Show in the coming days. There were several highlights of the week to cherish.
One of my favorite people in the industry is Lars Dalseide a writer for the NRA Blog. He scooped me up at Camp Perry a few years ago and helped me get my name out there. Since, he has been a good friend and has all the connections in the gun world. I ran in to him again at the NRA booth and he pointed over to Ronnie and Donna Barrett and asked if I wanted to meet them. Are you kidding? No need to twist my arm. A charming and shall I say successful couple. They showed me recent photos of a hunting trip and then a new rifle design that Ronnie designed. In the booth also was Susan LaPierre, NRA co-chair of the Women’s Leadership Forum and of course wife of Wayne LaPierre, executive VP of the NRA. Susan and I have corresponded through email but this was our first in person meeting. I hope to be more involved with the NRA as a voice representing competitive women shooters. There were dozens of sightings of American heroes such as Marcus Luttrell. The ones who had the longest sniper shot and most kills were present. I was honored to represent Froglube in their booth for a morning. I had an amazing time with my Accu-Grip crew in the booth and dinner. I met Scott Mcree in person and his team of shooters. Now that I am wearing his and H&H Precision on my jersey I hope to shoot with them at upcoming matches. Back to the year of the woman, I participated in the 2nd annual Women’s Outdoor and Shooting Industry dinner. Britney Starr of Starr and Bodill African Safaris and Jacquelyn Kelly of Armed in Heels organized 200 plus ladies to dress up and mingle at the V-Bar in Vegas. (Be nice) Probably not the most appropriate bar name for this event. Believe me we did nickname it as well. How can I ever forget the door prize I
won? I won a PARA 9mm donated by Remington Arms! A Laser by LaserMax, a holster from Galco and a pistol light from Inforce! I could not believe it! GunUp, NRA Women’s Network, Outdoor Channel, 2 Vets Arms and Louka Tactical were other great sponsors. I hope this invite only event will get even bigger next year. I know we could easily fit 400 industry women.
The most memorable personality of Shot Shot 2014 was not any one person. It was a thing. And it was fuzzy. This was the year of the Tacti-Beard. I remember when I met my husband Charles 10 years ago he had a goatee. The year 2003 came along and the fashion industry declared the goatee to be the mullet of the new millennium. Charles could not shave it off fast enough. Well it seems to have made a come back. But mostly the full bearded look. Or just any form of facial hair really. It is not the beard itself I noticed. It was how many of them there were. It was just the talk of the town.
Thank you to my current sponsors for an enjoyable time hanging out with you and I look forward to revealing new ones and new opportunities coming my way. Things are not yet sealed but I will keep you posted! Thank you Shot Show 2014 and I look forward to another great year ahead.