“The Harrisburg (PA) Show” has long been quite the event, with tens of thousands of hunters, shooters, fishermen, boaters, etc. coming from up and down the East Coast (and across America) to buy stuff, book hunting trips and vacations, gawk at the giant buck mounts, attend seminars, meet celebrities, enjoy cooking displays and just have a jolly good time for a week in early February. I have attended the show as both a seminar speaker and a consumer, and I always enjoyed it.
But things are not so jolly this year, and I won't be going. On the eve of the 2013 show, the event’s organizer, Reed Exhibitions, decided to ban the display and sale of Modern Sporting Rifles and high-capacity magazines. From the show’s website:
As a hunting-focused event, we welcome exhibitors who wish to showcase products and firearms that serve the traditional needs of the sport. Clearly, we strongly support the 2nd Amendment. However, this year we have made the decision not to include certain products that in the current climate may attract negative attention that would distract from the strong focus on hunting and fishing at this family-oriented event and possibly disrupt the broader positive experience of our guests.
A growing number of sportsman and small retailers began to voice their disapproval, and their intent to not attend this year’s show. Then on Saturday Cabela’s posted on Facebook:
Due to recent changes made by Reed Exhibitions regarding the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show, Cabela’s will no longer sponsor this year’s event. After careful consideration regarding Cabela’s business practices, and the feelings of our customers, Cabela’s will, unfortunately, not have a presence at the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show.
Last I checked the Cabela's page, more than 13,000 followers, including me, have “liked” this status. Full disclosure, I am a pro-staff member for Cabela’s and proud of it.
And yesterday, Trijicon decided to withdraw its participation and support of this year’s show. Full disclosure, Trijicon is Big Deer TV’s exclusive riflescope sponsor. Also, many of the top-name TV personalities who were going there to give seminars and hawk stuff are jumping ship.
It will be interesting to see how many other companies/sponsors pull out, and if attendance is significantly down…or if Reed Exhibitions reverses this policy last-minute before the show opens?
What do you think of this mess? Have you ever attended the Harrisburg show? Will you go this year?