Author: Cassie Gasaway
Seven hundred and twenty-seven days passed from the last day of the 2020 ATA Trade Show to the first day of the 2022 Show, which was Jan. 7-9 in Louisville, Kentucky. The gap in gatherings was apparent as attendees and exhibitors hugged, shook hands, laughed, talked business and shared stories from the past two years. The in-person event invigorated spirits, helped companies plan for the year, and brought a sense of normalcy to the archery and bowhunting industry.
Maria Lewis, ATA’s senior director of Trade Show and membership, wasn’t sure how weather and COVID would affect Show attendance, but she was impressed by the commitment level demonstrated by buyers and exhibitors.
“It’s obvious members at the Show came to focus on the success of the industry,” she said. “Our members know how important business relationships are and that the ATA Show provides those opportunities to connect. I’m glad they were willing to work through disruptions and challenges to come together for the betterment of the industry. We’re stronger together, and the Show was an indication of their dedication to customers.”
Overall, the Show drew 4302 individuals. Each member category had good representation. Buyers from 548 retail accounts took to the Show floor to interact with over 450 exhibitors. Several ATA partners, nonprofit groups and media members also attended.
ATA’s New President & CEO: Jeff Poole
All Show attendees had the opportunity to meet the new ATA president & CEO Jeff Poole, who was announced on Thursday, Jan. 6. Poole was formerly with the National Rifle Association and enjoyed interacting with members and learning about ATA programs and initiatives.
“It was great to be back on the Trade Show floor where we could all meet face-to-face for the first time in two years,” he said. “I’m happy to be a part of this great industry and look forward to working with the members I met on the Show floor to continue to develop new ideas that propel archery forward.”
Poole will officially start with the ATA on Jan. 24. Read the full press release here.
Members were excited to attend the 2022 ATA Trade Show and see new products. Photo Credit: ATA
Bill First, director of sales for Limbsaver, was pleased and surprised by the 2022 Show.
“The crowds are less than normal, but everyone that is here wants to buy,” he said. “The good thing is that there is no wait to get in to talk to people or look at products and pricing. Sales are better than we expected considering all the COVID and weather problems in the country.”
Limbsaver expects to fill all the orders it receives. First said buyers are placing ASAP orders, meaning they want them right away. He said the company had several supply chain issues in 2021, but they’re all hands on deck and have kept inventory in stock.
First-time retail attendees Jeff and Ashley Bussell from Brush Mountain Outfitters in Texas said they had a great Show. They’ve been in business for 19 years and were glad they finally made the bucket-list trip to the ATA Show.
“We had a lot of fun,” Jeff said. “We saw a lot of the people I’ve talked to for years and have great relationships with. It was good to see our reps and the people we’ve emailed over the past two years because of COVID. Other retailers said the Show was a little slow, but from our perspective, it was great.”
The Bussells said they didn’t have a baseline to go off of since it was their first ATA Show, but compared to other industry Shows, “it was fantastic.” They picked up three new product lines and saw a lot of products but didn’t attend any education events because they wanted to focus on the Show floor. They were satisfied with #ATA2022 and plan to attend in future years.
Prairie Archery won 10K of the the 20K Giveaway. Photo Credit: ATA
All ATA-member retailers who registered for the Show by Dec. 17 and attended the Show on Day 1 were automatically entered to win a cash prize. John and Susan Lammie, owners of Prairie Archery in Minnesota, won the $10,000 cash prize and were in disbelief after hearing they won. They plan to use the money to buy big-ticket items, like blinds, that are expensive and costly to ship. Ten other retailers won a $1,000 cash prize, so the ATA gave away $20,000 split between 11 retailers. All the winners were announced at Connections: An ATA Happy Hour presented by Outdoor Sportsman Group. Congratulations to all our lucky winners.
Many attendees took advantage of the buy one, get one Bowhunters United membership deal at the ATA Store in Booth 701. BU unifies, supports, empowers and recruits bowhunters. Its mission is to unite bowhunters and promote and preserve the sport of archery. The organization celebrates the lifestyle, focuses on conservation efforts, promotes a positive image of bowhunters and advocates on behalf of bowhunters nationwide.
Everyone who signed up to become a member at the Show or online before Jan. 9 is eligible to win epic hunts and exclusive gear through the year-long membership sweepstakes. The first drawing is Jan. 18. After that, people who sign up to become BU members throughout the year will be entered in later drawings. Click here to learn more or sign up.
The week included seminars like the one presented by Darrel Barnette (above), certifications, Masterclass sessions and Coffee Talks. Photo Credit: ATA
Unfortunately, a few seminar presenters were unable to attend the Show last minute. Although some educational offerings got cut, the ATA was still able to offer a robust lineup of education topics and offerings, including seminars, Coffee Talks, certification classes and the Archery Industry Masterclass.
Many members converged for Troy Fowler’s “Long-Range Bowhunting: Arrow Speed/KE/Momentum at 60 Yards” Coffee Talk and Korbin Williams’ “Act Right! How Behaviors Affect the Customer Experience” presentation. Kurt Smith, ATA’s director of industry relations, said many of the seminars and Coffee Talks were recorded and will be posted on the MyATA Learning Center post-Show. Participants in the certification and Masterclass courses were grateful for the discounted learning opportunities.
Bryce Hinegardner is a bow technician at Cleland’s Outdoor World in Ohio who took the Level 1 certification on Friday and Level 2 certification on Sunday. The ATA changed the certification course layout for the 2022 Show and required participants to complete an online class component before attending the Show to finish an in-person portion. The hybrid offering gave attendees more time on the Show floor and a chance to absorb the information before arriving in Louisville.
“Because of the format, you were able to learn the information, reflect on it, revisit it and apply it during the practical portion of the certification,” he said. “It wasn’t a memorize and regurgitate it thing. I got to go back to the information and cement the knowledge in my head before the class.”
Hinegardner also attended the Masterclass and found a lot of value in the content. His favorite sessions were “Coaching to Build Your Customer Base,” “Foundations – Skills to Make a Great Archer,” and “Buying the Best Deal for Your Store.” He said the things he learned in the Masterclass course and certification sessions will help him host classes, clubs and programs at the shop.
“There’s no more valuable investment than one in yourself, so being able to come (to the Show) and learn was the best part,” he said.
Impact Award and Best in Show Awards Program Winners
ATA staff announced winners for its third annual Best in Show awards program at the Connections event on Friday night. Two individuals and three organizations won an ATA Impact Award, including Rob Kaufhold, Tim Thomas, Whitetails Unlimited, Straight 6 Archery, and Hunter Safety System. Read ATA’s article “ATA Announces 2022 Impact Award Winners” for recipient reactions and information about the winners.
Meanwhile, three products in the Featured Product Showcase received an award after attendee votes were tallied at the end of Day 1. The JAKT Tag, a Game & Fish Smart Tag by JAKT Gear, won gold; the Digital React 1 Pin by Trophy Ridge won silver, and the Epsilon Arrow Rest by Hamskea Archery Solutions, LLC, won bronze.
Additionally, six companies and products took home accolades and an award for product innovation in the New Product Launch Showcase. Industry judges evaluated over 102 entries split between two categories. Winners in the “products released at the Show” category were Carbon Fiber Saddle Hunting Platform by Tethrd (gold), the Stock Arrow by Swhacker Broadheads (silver), and the JAKT Tag – Game & Fish Smart Tags by JAKT Gear (bronze). Winners in the “products released after Oct. 1, 2021” category were the Executive Release by T.R.U. Ball Archery (gold), the Redi EDC by Havalon Knives (silver), and New XKG Draft Pant & Elevation Hoodie in XK7 by King’s Camo (bronze). Click here for more information on the ATA’s Best in Award program.
The ATA thanks everyone who attended #ATA2022. Please mark your calendar for the 2023 ATA Trade Show in Indianapolis on Jan 11-13, 2023.
If you have questions about the Show or regarding your ATA-member benefits, please contact the ATA business, membership and Trade Show office at (507) 233-8130.