With Friday’s announcement from the National Shooting Sports Foundation that SHOT 2021 was officially cancelled, the initial reactions from many in the industry seemed pretty ho-hum. After all, virtually every industry event of substance before and immediately after SHOT had already been cancelled. For many, it was already a foregone conclusion they weren’t going to be in Las Vegas in January.
That didn’t mean the disappointment wasn’t palatable for some.
In a brief conversation with Chris Dolnack, NSSF’s Senior VP charged with running SHOT, he summed it up pretty succinctly: “it’s a bitter pill, but there really isn’t any alternative. It’s the right decision.”
He had just finished a video call with his staff breaking the news to them that the board had decided cancellation was the only rational decision. They were simply out of time to wait any longer.
After Nevada officials decided not to revise the guidelines for gatherings in Las Vegas, there simply was no other answer. With COVID-19 cases trending upward in Nevada, the Dakotas and across the west, there was no way the governor was going to relent on relaxing the restrictions.
In our conversation, Dolnack expressed his concerns for the workers in Las Vegas he’s come to know from his role with NSSF/SHOT.
As he pointed out, Las Vegas is suffering more than most places. With so many workers unemployed because of the unprecedented curtailment of operations, Dolnack admitted he’d hoped SHOT would help reverse a tough trend. Unfortunately, for Dolnack, his staff, and the workers in Las Vegas, SHOT won’t be the first major event to return in 2021.
Later in the day, SIG SAUER became the first company to step up in support of the NSSF, pledging a major donation to support the NSSF’s ongoing work.
“It’s disappointing that we will not be able to gather as an industry in 2021 at SHOT Show,” said Tom Taylor, Chief Marketing Officer and Executive VP of Commercial Sales for SIG.
“All of us at SIG SAUER are thankful for their continued efforts…SIG is pleased to announce a $500,000 donation to support the NSSF’s ongoing work in education, safety initiatives, compliance and security resources, import/export guidance, consumer activation initiatives, governmental relations and operational needs for 2021.”
Hopefully, other companies will recognize the gap in funding caused by the cancellation of SHOT Show 2021 and step up. For many, “stepping up” won’t mean anything more than simply becoming an NSSF member. In the crazy year that has been 2020, the NSSF has stepped into the gap left by other pro-gun groups with their own share of “issues.”
The Archery Trade Association’s moving forward with plans for their ATA Show Online.
Meanwhile, the Archery Trade Association’s moving forward on plans for their ATA Online 2021 event. It’s scheduled to take place January 11-15, 2021. And, no, it’s not a typo.
ATA has moved the dates by a week. The ability to move dates so easily is certainly one plus for a virtual event.
ATA promises they’ll have an event that offers “commerce, innovation, and opportunities to connect” despite the inability to “touch new products and meet in-person.”
The virtual event will be open to all ATA members No registration necessary. Access, we’re told, will come via the member’s dashboard at MyATA. We’re told that members should log in in advance to make certain their dues are current, and their dashboard correctly configured.
Once the show begins, they’ll able to look at digital content from “exhibitors.” Their content will include online profiles that include product showcases, videos, press releases, and those all-important 2021 ATA Show specials.
There will be a number of free education sessions, in addition to a virtual Archery Industry Masterclass. It’s a $79 educational opportunity covering four tracks: business, coaching, marketing and archery tech.
While I’m one of those firm believers in the value of trade events, I’m also one of those people who’s intrigued at the prospects of being able to “attend” training sessions after an event ends. With SHOT, there simply aren’t enough hours to get to everything associated with the actual show. With virtual events, the educational opportunities are there after the event ends.
That may be a virtual benefit with tangible results. We’re all learning how this works, and as we progress, as always, we’ll keep you posted.
Editor’s Note: Read NSSF President & CEO Joe Bartozzi’s full statement regarding the SHOT Show 2021 cancellation here.