There was word this week that two major expositions had been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
First, there was the National Association of Sporting Good Wholesalers (NASGW) Expo that was scheduled for October in Grapevine, Texas. This is an annual gathering of wholesalers, manufacturers, media, and sales reps in the hunting, fishing, and firearms industries where new products are brought out and displayed. What the SHOT Show is for dealers, the NASGW Expo is for the wholesale industry.
Laurie Aronson, chairwoman of NASGW and CEO of Lipsey’s, had this to say about the cancellation:
As the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to impact every aspect of our lives, we have all been forced to make difficult decisions. On Monday, the NASGW Board of Directors voted unanimously to cancel this year’s Expo. This was a decision that none of us wanted to make, but it was the right decision. With mounting cases in the state of Texas and increased travel restrictions in numerous states, particularly in the northeast, we could not leave things to chance in hopes that cases would subside or that states would ease restrictions. We’re not blaming Texas. The biggest reason this decision had to be made was for the health and safety of our members, our colleagues, our employees, and the entire shooting sports industry.
They are working out the logistics on how to present the new products and awards virtually.
The other big show announcing its cancellation was the Consumer Electronics Show or CES. That show was to take place the week before the SHOT Show in Las Vegas. They have said they plan to offer the show “all digitally”. CES is the largest show and convention to take place in Las Vegas with upwards of 180,000 attendees.
With the growing global health concerns about the spread of COVID-19, it is not possible to safely convene tens of thousands of people in Las Vegas in early January 2021 to meet and do business in person.
An all-digital CES 2021 will allow the entire tech community to safely share ideas and introduce the products that will shape our future. You’ll be able to participate in all the awe-inspiring moments of CES wherever you are in the world. We are designing a unique experience for the tech industry.
Given that the 2021 SHOT Show is scheduled for January 19th through 22nd, one has to wonder what will happen with it. This is to be an expanded show with the new Caesars Forum opening additional exposition space. It is connected to the Sands Expo Center by a skybridge.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation is still saying it is a go but they do have this posted on the SHOT Show website. They have also adopted a set of social distancing and safety guidelines.
The NSSF looks forward to hosting the 2021 SHOT Show in Las Vegas this coming January at both the Sands Expo Center and Caesars Forum, and we plan to proceed as scheduled. We are actively monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, as the health, safety and well-being of our industry and the local community is a priority for us. We will continue to monitor the situation and share show updates in a timely manner.
Jim Shepherd in The Outdoor Wire this morning said what he is hearing is that it will go on. Nonetheless, companies are coming up on cancellation dates and will need to decide on their participation regardless on NSSF’s ultimate decision.
I had planned to go and I even have a voucher that would probably cover my airfare. That said, despite the expansion, how much new stuff will firearms manufacturers release given they are selling everything as quickly as they can make it? And do I really want to be in a crowd of people anymore?
Decisions, decisions. For me and for the NSSF.
UPDATE: I have updated this post with a comment on Twitter from Chris Dolnack. He is the Senior VP of NSSF who is in charge of organizing and running the SHOT Show.
Chris also posted a comment on the SHOT Show Insider page regarding the cancellation of CES and what they means for SHOT.
SHOT Show All Systems Go; Silver Lining in CES Cancellation
CES, the nation’s largest trade show, announced this week that it is canceling its in-person show in Las Vegas this January. With many of its major exhibitors—and its attendees—based in Asia and other parts of the world, the show was confronting increasing uncertainty involving global travel to and from the United States. If there’s a silver lining to the CES announcement, it’s that CES was to be held the week before the SHOT Show—and while we are disappointed that CES won’t be taking place, its cancellation will allow more local resources than ever before to be devoted to the SHOT Show. And both the Sands Expo Center and Caesars Forum will be primed and ready to welcome us to Las Vegas. We’ve received a number of inquiries this week about the status of the SHOT Show due to CES’s announcement, and also regarding the cancellation of the NASGW Expo in October. Rest assured, we are all systems go and we are working around the clock (our sleep patterns these days) in planning to ensure our customers’ and employees’ health and safety are at the forefront throughout our time in Las Vegas. With six months until the show, we are fortunate that we will be able to learn a lot from other shows taking place in other countries before ours. And, with six months to go, both the Sands Expo and Caesars Forum are nearly sold out for SHOT, making it our largest floorplan ever. We are well-positioned to make this the best SHOT Show we’ve ever held, and we are very much looking forward to reuniting as an industry in Las Vegas in January. — Chris Dolnack, NSSF