Monday, January 30, 2012

R&R - After All The Trade Shows

January is a big, chaotic month in our industry. With the ATA, SHOT, SCI and the distributor shows, I am on the road for the better part of the month. By the end of January, I am in serious need of recharging my batteries. One thing I look forward to is my annual “de-briefing” duck hunt.

I love living in the pacific flyway, not to mention, living 15 minutes away from a prime waterfowl hunting honey-hole. Sunday was the last day of the season. I met up with the usual suspects before sunup. We motored out to a modest blind and set up for the day. In the distance, you could hear the birds start to stir. About 10 minutes from shooting light, I could hear the teals starting to whiz by.

I was excited for the day’s potential, but more importantly, I felt myself relaxing from the month-long trade show tour. My heart would race as we called in birds. At this point, these birds have seen decoy spreads, heard every call in the book and shot at all season. Many circled high, leery to come in.

When birds finally committed, we let them have it. A friend, Randy Hynes, describes it best:

“The whistling of wings at the first light, the landing gear down when they come into sight. The smell of the powder and getting your limit, you wouldn't understand...unless you just did it.”

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A PR Rookie's Perspective on SHOT Show

Well, I’m just now starting to get back into my normal routine after my first SHOT Show. In other words, the energy drinks have finally worn off and my feet don’t hurt anymore. Overall, the show was bigger, more crowded, and infinitely more exhausting than I could have ever imagined.

I split most of my time between Winchester Ammunition and Nikon Sport Optics. I helped send out press releases, facilitate media tours and keep press materials stocked in the booths. It was an awesome experience working with such respected companies and I was so immersed, I think I fell asleep each night still mumbling about M-223 Riflescopes and Blind Side Ammunition.

It became a routine for me each morning to get ready and then go straight to the press room to fill up on some of that strong coffee (an ample amount of caffeine was necessary before going to actual show).

The show floor was crazy. Once, while attempting to systematically walk the entire lower level, I walked by the same booth three times.

Never in my life have I met and been introduced to more people in a short time frame. The overwhelming friendliness of everyone I met is a testament to the shooting industry. I had communicated with some people via email already and as they say, this was just a great opportunity to “put a face to the name.”

Media Day at the range is a perfect way to start off SHOT. Nothing puts one in the mood to look at shooting products more than SHOOTING!!! I spent the entire time in the Winchester bay, mostly talking to writers and refilling magazines. After the media had finished up, I stepped in and fired my share of Winchester PDX1.

The evenings in Vegas were a great time. I particularly enjoyed getting to know my co-workers better. On Tuesday night, I was fortunate enough to go out to dinner with the Chevalier creative team – a collection of some of the best graphic artists in the business. Although we work in the same office, I really haven’t gotten to know them all that well until now and it was a lot of fun to hang out. Aside from that, I attended the award ceremonies on Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday night I watched an Aaron Lewis concert from backstage. Unbelievable!

The funniest moment at SHOT was seeing my colleague, Michael Turbyfill, vacuum the Winchester Booth one evening after the show. We truly are a full-service agency!

The only thing that perhaps should have stayed in Vegas is the new nickname I seem to hear floating around behind my back lately….RED BULL.