Advertisements

I was honored by Outdoor Retailer Celebrating 35 years of the Community that Show has Created

I was honored by @OutdoorRetailer in their publication Celebrating  Thirty-Five Years of the People and Passions that Turned an Industry into a Community.

My fellow community members included such luminaries as Peter Kray, Larry Harrison, Yvon Chouinard, Steve Barker, Carson Stanwood, Chad Gallwitz, Sally McCoy, Casey Sheahan, Chris Goddard, Bill Gamber, Peter Metcalf, Conrad Anker, Jen Taylor, James Edward Mills, my good friend Marcus Woolf, and many others. I was truly honored to be included in such a community of people, industry heavy hitters and just plain famous people.

There may not be any real reason to go to the semi annual show you might think, but the feeling of not going, of missing those friends you only see once or twice a year will always bring you back to the show. Where else are you going to get started, get that first interest from a retailer or the media about your idea. Most importantly where else are you going to become part of the outdoor industry.

I remember in 1999 after the tornado had turned the show tents into a field of liter, I worried about what was going to happen to the show. I had worked on several people in the aftermath, including the man who died. I was worried the show would not go on, and I would leave Salt Lake and have no support for my feelings or issues.

I was able to talk to Dr. Eric Weiss, of Adventure Medical Kits who assured me that I had done everything I could to save the people I worked on. I was interviewed by Fred Knapp (Sharp End Publishing) for an article about the tornado, and he asked me one question. I just started talking until I was worn out. It was Outdoor Retailer therapy in a booth. Both would have been difficult if not impossible at home and nowhere could I be in a group of people that understood. I felt safe at a trade show; such a crazy statement. Yet no other industry would even come close to being able to support that statement or feeling of safety. Yet it is the basis for the success of Outdoor Retailer. Because the outdoor industry is a community.

From the thumping of the people, waiting to get on the show floor before the doors opened in Reno and the founding and growth of ORCA (now OIA) to the trying to find a cab and a drink in the first couple of years in Salt Lake, the show has continuously provided an environment to meet, learn, greet and love the people in the outdoor industry community.

It might be the lack of suits. It might be because most of the items on the show floor are for fun. It might be walking the aisles is an Easter egg hunt, looking for that next great idea or invention. It might be because you can have a beer with your friends. I think the biggest reason for the community is smiles. You walk down the aisles of the show floor and you see smiles. Big grins as old friends or just semi annual friends are seeing each other again.

Now it is moving to Denver; If I miss a show, it will only because I’m being recycled in a corn field.

Thank Doug Schnitzspahn (the hardest working man in outdoor media) for finding me on the show floor. Thank you Emerald Expositions and Outdoor Retailer for your help, support and smiles.

Advertisements