Exhibitors Are All In for SHOT Show 2021

The annual SHOT Show is an opportunity like nothing else in the shooting sports industry.

Exhibitors Are All In for SHOT Show 2021

It’s been a strange, strange world thus far in 2020, but at NSSF, we’re on the fast track to make the 2021 SHOT Show happen. We’ve had overwhelming input from our industry members supporting the show taking place, but we wanted you to hear firsthand why this show — pandemics, wildfires, earthquakes, hurricanes and a plague of locusts be darned — is the one thing your colleagues wouldn’t miss.

We enlisted Kevin Tate, Eve Flanigan and Peter Mathiesen to reach out to exhibitors and find out exactly how they feel about heading to Las Vegas in January. Here’s what they had to say. 

Ruger Takes on Caesar’s Forum Expansion

Kevin Tate: Tell me about the growth and expansion you’ve seen the show experience.

Rob Werkmeister: My first year, in 2008, it was so overwhelming and impressive. I had spent my earlier professional years working for Xerox and had been to many trade shows, but I wasn’t prepared for the sheer size of SHOT. I remember walking around in awe of all the aisles of shooting, hunting and outdoor sporting companies.

Over the past 13 years, I have seen more halls open, more areas expand, the outdoor ranges added and, of course, now the much-anticipated expansion into the Caesar’s Forum. I am most excited about that. 

KT: How has the SHOT Show been helpful in growing Ruger’s business?

RW: It is the best, single-location opportunity for us meet with our distributor customers, our retail customers and the industry media. We are able to bring our various internal teams and, over the course of the four days, can really accomplish a lot.

The format of the show allows us to meet with retailers, show them our products and then have them go visit with their distributor right there on the show floor, which is especially key for us because we sell purely through two-step distribution. Lots of business is able to happen for us there. 

KT: Tell me about your plans for the 2021 SHOT Show.

RW: Well, wow, 2021 will be significantly different for us. This will be one of the greatest changes I have been a part of over the past 14 years. We are set to move to the brand-new Caesar’s Forum and will do so with a completely new booth property. The new booth will give us a fresh brand look, will allow for more meeting room space, feature an international display area and also include a media filming section. Additionally, we’ll be using this refresh to address concerns that may still be out there from the pandemic, accommodating more video displays, hand sanitization areas, protective screens and appropriate space at displays and in meeting rooms. We are extremely excited.


Vista Outdoor: “It’s in Our DNA”

Eve Flanigan: What is the significance of SHOT Show to Vista Outdoor?

Michael Kinn, Vista Outdoor Events Director: SHOT Show has been the launching pad for either closing the deal or setting the stage for our biggest deals. Of the 60 shows we attend annually — including overseas — SHOT Show has the largest impact in terms of the sectors we can reach. It covers military, law enforcement and those who are in direct touch with consumers of our products outside of the government. 

EF: What adjustments are you making for virus prevention at your booth?

MK: We’re completely adjusting the displays to reduce multiple people touching an object in succession. Of course, there’ll be hand sanitizer available. We’re looking at ways to make booth ingress and egress decongested. There’ll be cleaning personnel who show up multiple times to disinfect throughout the show day.

Conference and meeting areas are related issues. We may eliminate the small meeting rooms and go with casual seating that accommodates distancing. Just sitting around a table casually, with no special meeting area, is the norm at the European shows, so we already have an idea how that might be.

Most important, we’re staying in touch with NSSF, whose communications with us about this have been regular. It’s a coordinated effort. The more people who sign on and make a concerted effort to keep it healthy, the better it’ll be. And no matter what, this is a long-haul mindset we have to be in. These adjustments could be in place for a long time.

EF: Any final thoughts for NSSF partners and SHOT Show news readers?

MK: The best thing about this business is the camaraderie. I enjoy the anticipation leading up to SHOT Show, knowing I’m going to be immersed in all aspects of our business. The products are important, but the fellowship is critical. And it’s our priority to demonstrate support of NSSF. We never want to waiver in that loyalty, as NSSF is a vital force in support of our industry.

The thing about being at SHOT, for everyone there, is that the outdoor way of life is in our DNA. It’s a shared thing and there’s no event like it for that reason. We wouldn’t miss it.


Davidson’s: “This is the Year to Buy”

Peter Mathiesen: Is SHOT Show 2021 a go for Davidson’s?

Bill Bennett, Davidson’s Director of Marketing: We are committed to attending the show in Las Vegas and have moved our booth space to the new Caesar’s Forum.

PM: You told me the move to the new floor space was, in part, to take advantage of a less-congested booth space area, one with a larger footprint, making it easier to interact with attendees. Do you think this might very well become a critical move if social distancing remains the new normal next year?

BB: The extra square footage is being carefully planned to take advantage of every spare inch, making the workspace safe and comfortable to use, without stressing either our staff or customers. Some very large manufacturers have committed to the SHOT Show expansion to Caesar’s Forum, and we felt the new floor area will be a must-see for all independent retailers. 

PM: How critical will the 2021 SHOT Show be for sales in the coming year?

BB: This is the year that every independent retailer should obtain all the inventory they can. Reach out to your distributor to see what alternative products are available. We are all in a challenging time, with increased demand from longtime customers and first-time buyers. Every effort is being made to keep manufacturers on track producing so that we can supply our industry’s needs and dealers have what consumers are asking for.

It’s a priority for our company to source new vendors that can fill the pipeline this season, and we look forward to introducing new partnerships with a host of quality American manufacturers. Retailers should be on the lookout at the new floor space at Caesar’s Forum for a notable number of new, small companies we’ll be representing and able to display for the first time. We’re looking forward to adding many of these specialty manufacturers as we approach SHOT.

We see the SHOT Show as the best way to communicate and foster relationships with both manufacturers and dealers. A lot will happen for our company during the 2021 SHOT Show, and it will be a critical part of our marketing. We just can’t miss it.


LWRCI Says It’s a Brand-New Game

Kevin Tate: What does a market resource and an opportunity like SHOT Show mean to a company like LWRCI?

David Golladay, Director of Marketing: In terms of a return on investment, we hit pretty much all our key influencers in one spot. Our distributors are there, our dealers are there, the media who cover the industry and our products are there. Also, there’s the opportunity to interact with other members of the industry and see what they’re doing. It is, quite honestly, the best source of intel we could have for marketing, for sales, for product development, for everything.

I’ve been to a lot of different industry trade shows, but the NSSF staff has done a heck of a job building the SHOT Show up to be what it is. I’ve also seen the trade magazines, and SHOT Show is one of the top 10 among all the biggest and best industry trade shows in the world, and it’s because of all the things SHOT Show provides. It’s not just the floor space, it’s the intelligence you get in the seminars and the follow-up NSSF does throughout the year. 

KT: What are you looking forward to most about the 2021 SHOT Show?

DG: Well, definitely the new space over there at Caesar’s Forum. We were one of the first to sign up for exhibitor space there. We were confident in making that move because we truly believe NSSF is going to make it right for us. Quite honestly, I think it’s going to be one of those situations where, in two or three years, companies are going to be clamoring to get spots over on that side of the floor. It’s a new space and it’s got that “new car smell.” We’re going to be able to roll out a whole new look and feel for our brand in a shiny new spot. We’ll even be able to have interactive targets and shooting facilities where we can actually take a dealer out and let them test-fire our products. 

KT: Even for long-term, consecutive SHOT Show attendees, it sounds like it’s going to be a brand-new game.

DG: NSSF’s not just resting on its laurels, which, honestly, is something they could do — just keep doing what they’re doing because demand for space is so great. Instead, it’s transitioning to make this a better and better show, consistently looking at more ways to make it more interactive, more sales-oriented and creating more and improved opportunities for manufacturers like us. The NSSF team is doing a heck of a job.

I think what this show means to us, and what it means to this industry, can’t be overstated. It is critically important to us in terms of our business, of the branding we do and the exposure we receive. The opportunity we have to talk to each of our constituent audiences, whether they be media, dealers, distributors or vendors, is irreplaceable. Too, the competitive environment of our industry at SHOT Show helps keep us on our toes, and that makes being there worth everything we invest in it and more. It’s just a great environment.


Comments on this site are submitted by users and are not endorsed by nor do they reflect the views or opinions of COLE Publishing, Inc. Comments are moderated before being posted.