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The 1992 Shot Show: it doesn't just happen.

Every January since 1979 the shooting sports industry has come together for a common purpose: To participate in the SHOT Show, the world-renowned forum and marketplace for the shooting and hunting industries. Also known as the Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show, it is the world's largest marketplace of its kind, strictly dedicated to those who serve the needs of shooting and hunting enthusiasts.

This four-day event will take place January 9 through the 12 at the New Orleans Convention Center.

A full 12 months of behind-the-scenes planning goes into making these four days a successful experience for all exhibitors, buyers, industry press representatives, and a large contingent of offshore participants.

The SHOT Show is sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and is produced by Cahners Exposition Group (CEG). This arrangement, formalized by the SHOT Show committee, has served to guide the Show through changing legislative concerns, public opinion swings, and increasingly sophisticated industry developments. The Show Committee reviews each policy change or suggestion and evaluates each implementation. All of these factors, and most importantly the voices of exhibitors and attendees, have been reviewed and evaluated over the years as the Show has grown and changed.

Plans for the 1992 SHOT Show actually began over eight years ago when the final dates were reserved at the New Orleans Convention Center. Having selected a venue, a floor plan and application were sent to all active exhibitors before their arrival in Dallas for the 1991 SHOT Show.

Prior to the 1991 Show, a day-long meeting took place in which all exhibitors were invited to select and reserve space for the '92 show. At this annual "Space Draw," 82 percent of the existing companies reserved 106 percent of the space occupied in last year's show.

Meanwhile, the Show itself is setting up for "open day." This process takes the better part of three full days, during which 1,200 manufacturers construct their displays on the Show floor. Over 2.2 million pounds of freight are delivered to the SHOT Show. When the Show s fully set and decorated, there will be over 16 miles of carpeted aisles covering more than 17 acres. The labor used to assist in the set-up process is estimated at 6,000 man-hours.

The doors open on the first day of the SHOT Show at 9 a.m. Thursday morning. By that time between 5,000 and 6,000 attendees will be waiting to enter. The majority of these attendees will have received their admission credentials by mail as part of the discount pre-registration program. Anyone still needing to register can do so beginning at 8 a.m., and the registration counter will remain open until the close of the Show.

During the four days of the convention over 15,000 attendees will visit the Show floor and 7,500 professionals will man the booths. The average visiting buyer spends 3.2 days on the Show floor. Over the course of the Show, these 23,000 people consume 11,410 gallons of coffee, 41,691 cans of soda, and 7,545 hot dogs.

Inside the SHOT Show, attendees will find exhibits from every major manufacturer in the shooting sports in-dustry. A full conference program is scheduled to address topics of current interest to retailers. Also, a New Product Center highlights over 500 products entering the market at the SHOT Show. Meetings and press conferences run continuously, and through it all, in the aisles, booths, meeting rooms, and restaurants, acquaintances and friendships are made and renewed -- and business is transacted.

The Industry's Largest Showplace

It is important to note that the SHOT Show floor is not divided according to product lines. This allows manufacturers to position their booths as they choose -- with competitors side by side or greatly distanced. For the 1992 Show, small and mid-sized exhibitors were given reserved front-door locations along with larger exhibitors. Show features are strategically placed to draw traffic throughout the entire hall.

After four very full days of SHOT Show activities, this year's event will come to an end -- a signal for the teardown crews to move in. For the next two days many of those who helped set up the Show will pack it up and move it out.

During the Show, at the Rivergate Convention Center just across the street, several SHOT Show exhibitors and a host of companies from the sportfishing industry will be busy installing their exhibits at CATCH 92, a new trade show specifically designed to serve the needs of fishing tackle retailers. CATCH 92 opens Sunday, January 12 and continues for two days beyond the SHOT Show. CATCH 92 doubles the value of a trip to New Orleans for that large number of buyers who carry fishing tackle in their retail establishments.

When CATCH is concluded the work of the 1993 SHOT Show begins in earnest. Within 30 days all reservations for the following year are confirmed with the exhibiting companies. This is also a time for change. For four to five months, companies will call with requests for more space or different locations as they expand their lines or seek to strategically position themselves. The sale of additional exhibit space also begins as new companies are given information on SHOT.

Late spring and early summer are busy times for SHOT Show Management. Travel and hotel discount programs are negotiated and then communicated to exhibitors. This is also when work begins on the Show Directory and exhibitors are contacted for listing information.

In late summer and early fall the attendee promotion efforts begin. Brochures are developed and mailed, advertisements are placed in trade magazines, and Tickets of Invitation are sent to exhibitors for their convenience in inviting their customers to the next SHOT Show.

In the fall and early winter everyone -- exhibitors and attendees -- makes their final plans to arrive at SHOT in January. Soon it will be time for the SHOT Show magic to begin all over again ...

It's said that when you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. For many years the SHOT Show plan, with its thousands of tiny details, has worked successfully.

The SHOT Show has listened to the needs, hopes, and ambitions of this industry for the past 14 years. The Show has gone from 290 exhibiting companies to over 1,200. The exhibit floor has expanded from 56,000 square feet to 350,000 square feet. For the past three years the SHOT Show has been a four-day event, up from the original three.

The SHOT Show is still listening and enhancing its value as an industry forum and marketplace. Each year a new idea, a new service, a new feature, or a new conference will be unveiled as SHOT responds. Today's SHOT Show is, as it has always been, a show that belongs, not to one company or group, but to the entire industry.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Publishers' Development Corporation
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:1992 Shot Show Extravaganza
Author:Fagan, Tom
Publication:Shooting Industry
Date:Dec 1, 1991
Previous Article:Taking in New Orleans: a tour of the Crescent City.
Next Article:What they don't know can hurt you: dealing with the press at the Shot Show.

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