This is a slow time of year for most outdoorsmen. I know a lot of us are varmint hunting, cougar hunting, striper fishing, and the list goes on. But as a whole, most seasons have come to a screeching halt. So it's a good time for outdoor shows.
|Here's one of MANY guns at the annual SHOT Show in Las Vegas. This is one of the new Crosman air rifles.
I've got seminars throughout the year but most of my big ones are now. I had seminars at the Dallas Safari Club Convention & Expo the first week of January, then I'll have a couple at the Safari Club International Convention in Vegas on Febuary 8 and then six at the Idaho Sports Show in Boise. But the mother of them all is the SHOT Show (Shooting Hunting Outdoor Trade Show), which took place Jan. 14-17 in Las Vegas.
If you ever get a chance to attend, you need to go. It's not a sports show. It is a trade show so access is limited. All the big name companies are there. Leica, ThermaCELL, Havalon, Winchester, Hornady, Smith's Abrasives, Crosman and the list goes on and on and on.
I'm invited since I'm part of the media, which when you think about it, it makes sense. All the manufacturers want to get the word out on their new products that your local Bass Pro Shops will be carrying.
One cool event that was invented by the Professional Outdoors Media Association (POMA) is Media Day at the Range, which is the Monday before the show starts. The media is invited to test out all of the new guns, ammo, optics and so forth. It's a blast. Duh, who doesn't like to shoot new guns and ammo?
This year I had seminars the Saturday before at Dallas Safari Club Convention, then had to run up to Kansas Monday for a deal so I didn't get to fly into DLas Vegas until Monday night. So I missed the media day at the Range.
But with that said, the SHOT Show this year was another awesome experience for me. I go to see old acquaintances, work new Pro-staff deals, check out new products and get more writing deals.
Here's some examples of the new and improved items I saw. ThermaCELL improved their heated insoles with a removable battery. That way you can pull out the battery for charging or have a second set to extend use throughout the day without removing them from your boots.
Smith's Abrasives had some new and improved stones. They are the most creative knife sharpening company in the world. I'm on Pro-staff with them and even I can't keep up with all of their inventions.
Crosman had some nice airguns. I had just tested out an air rifle for another company and could only get a 1 1/2-inch group at 14 yards. Laura at Crosman told me to stop by and check out what she had. One thing led to another and now I'm on Pro-staff with them and in the process of testing out some of their awesome guns. I can't wait. They'll be great for kids to ground squirrel hunt with in Idaho. (If they can ever get the gun away from dad!)
Leica has some premium optics. I had to stop by and talk to Hamilton Boykin in their booth. What an edge you have when you use good optics.
Then I had to stop by the Havalon's knife booth. They make some very popular knives, and I noticed this year that a lot of knife companies are trying to catch up with them and mimic them. Some people thought the Piranta blade was too flexible so last year they developed the Bolt which is like the Piranta except that the blade is stiffer.
A new addition this year for Havalon is a double bladed fold-up knife. It has the Piranta and the Baracuta blade in it. I predict that it will be popular.
The show covers 635,000 square feet, so I can't even begin to cover every booth. With 67,000 people attending this year, it was packed, but I was still able to get around fine and everyone was cordial.
Intertwined are numerous meetings, luncheons, breakfasts and banquets. I always enjoy attending the Mississippi Breakfast for the media. Then Bushnell has a breakfast and rolls out all of their new products for us to look at. Last year they acquired Primos and recently were acquired by ATV. I can't even begin to tell you all of their products. Suffice it to say, the SHOT Show is great.