Waiting on the Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show Statement

Just to put this out there, I’m reducing the number of posts about the Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show to one a day. We’ve covered the apparent collapse of the show pretty thoroughly, but it remains newsworthy to highlight just how our gun culture has really learned to stand up for one another in the last several years.

Last night, Pennsylvania’s Olympic Gold Medalist Jamie Gray – billed as the ESOS’s guest of honor – canceled her appearances at the show. She posted on Facebook:

As an avid outdoors woman who grew in this sport in part due to my experience at ESOS, it’s a decision that doesn’t come easy but I have decided that I will NOT participate. My decision is due to what I feel would be an inability as an Olympic athlete to represent my sport, industry and USA Shooting teammates in the best possible manner given the political climate that will be present as a result of the decisions that have been made.

Perhaps the biggest news that doesn’t seem to be confirmed anywhere through a statement, but the official ESOS website now only lists one sponsor willing to be associated with them – Progressive Insurance. Cabela’s and Outdoor Channel have officially dropped out, but the disappearance of the Comcast logo indicates that maybe they don’t even want to be associated with the fiasco that this has become.

When it comes to the diversity of sportsmen standing with us, it has so far mostly been from hunters and archers. However, today Towne Marine announced that they are pulling their massive 30 boat display out of the ESOS in protest of their decision to ban modern semi-automatic firearms. Based on the map on the website, it appears they were the second largest display in the fishing hall.

The other interesting turn of events surrounds an archery event at the ESOS. It’s a world qualifier event, so it’s not something to just cancel without serious harm to the sport. However, the International Bowhunting Organization clearly felt they needed to something to stand up for gun rights even though they are trying hard not screw competitors who need to compete in this qualification. Here’s the meat of their statement on how they are striking the balance:

The PA-3D Bowhunter’s Challenge and IBO Indoor Nationals will take place as previously advertised, albeit without IBO representation. The local PA-3D Bowhunters organization has opted to host and oversee the shooting event on its own. The logistics involved in administering the competition, along with registered participants’ concerns with travel plans and airline reservations, are contributing factors for the decision to continue these events.

Proceeds received by the IBO in shooter fees, along with the Rinehart Target Fee, will be donated to the National Rifle Association specifically to fight the threats to The Second Amendment currently being faced by law-abiding American firearms owners.

The IBO stands with those who have chosen to boycott the Eastern Sports and Outdoor show and strongly condemns the action taken by Reed Exhibitions. (emphasis added)

Going back to the gun world, surprisingly, it took GunBroker until late this afternoon to pull out of the show. Given their reliance on business from people who absolutely support semi-automatic rifles, I would have assumed they would have pulled themselves out earlier.

While we have focused on many of the smaller vendors who are pulling out, news also comes today that one of the largest vendors that had space in four key sections of the show has joined the boycott.

Sportsmans Liquidations is one of the largest vendors at the show, Locker said. It originally had signed up for a large chunk of space — 130 booths, typically 10- by 10- feet apiece, split up into four different areas at the show.

Speaking of those smaller vendors, Keystone Country Store in Ft. Loudon, PA deserves some attention for their efforts. Not only are they pulling out of the show, but they told the media that they are instead having a celebration for the Second Amendment at their store. Part of the proceeds from their celebration will go to the NRA.

For the non-profits that have pulled their booths from the ESOS, the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs announced that they are currently working with Cabela’s to get special days set up there to promote the organizations that are taking a huge hit by joining the boycott.

Given the size of some of the new boycotters, I think it’s safe to say that upwards of 1/4 of the show will be empty this year. If Comcast really did pull out as a sponsor, then they have lost 3/4 of their sponsors for the year. On Facebook, the boycott page has nearly twice as many followers as the actual ESOS itself. According to media reports, Reed Exhibitions plans to release a statement sometime this week. At this point, you really have to wonder what on earth they plan to say.

74 thoughts on “Waiting on the Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show Statement”

  1. “you really have to wonder what on earth they plan to say.”

    They’re dying words?

  2. Given [Gunbroker.com’s] reliance on business from people who absolutely support semi-automatic rifles, I would have assumed they would have pulled themselves out earlier.

    I think you’re really quibbling over a matter of taking a day more than many others, especially since they’re totally freaking busy and perhaps more concerned about keeping their servers happy than anything else. They also didn’t spend much effort composing their statement:

    GunBroker.com pulls out of Eastern Sports Show

    1/23/2013 12:00:00 PM EST

    GunBroker.com has decided to cancel its participation in the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show in consideration of the show’s “arbitrary and abrupt” decision to prohibit display of modern sporting rifles.

    Bigger fish to fry, lots of guns, magazines and ammo to help find the best homes for.

    1. GunBroker is pro 2nd and does not yoke themselves to communist like this show that would infrindge our God given right to protect ourselves. As a victim of violent crime my life was saved by a semi automatic weapon.

  3. I’m still amazed how many are boycotting the show. I guess I was starting to get cynical, but I’m glad so many are standing together and not tolerating the ‘political correctness’ or whatever they want to call it from Reed.

    1. I’m clearly cynical, but I have from time to time seen the grassroots, with the proper motivators, seem to rise up almost spontaneously and provide the leadership for their erstwhile “leaders.” It is those times that have had legislators running scared, as they always should be, because they can’t control the controllers.

      I have wished I could perceive the ingredients of those motivators, so we could can them, so to speak. Clearly a very clear and present threat is a primary ingredient. But what gets people to take action without checking and cross-checking what their gurus and opinion leaders are saying, has never been clear to me. All I can say is, now and then it happens. I pray for the day when it happens more.

      1. They would have to exclude artillery fungus…too dangerous…might shoot your eye out.
        If you poke a Wolverine with a sharp stick, you’ll get your balls ripped off.

        1. @ dwdude and ebola131…

          Oh… and let’s not include any non-vegan plants. Venus flytrap being the most well known. Pitcher plants are less well known but no less dangerous to their prey. And there are others.

  4. It is nice to see that the message is getting through that the motivator for gun control is the cultural disdain of the elites that push it. Boats (except yachts, of course) , fishing, and archery are subject to the same disdain.

    1. No, the elites are concerned that armed non-elites will not take kindly to their eating of strawberries when the rest of us are forced to eat Soylent Green.

      1. “Eat Recycled Food. For a happier healthier life. Be kind and peaceful to each other, eat Recycled Food. Recycled Food, its good for the environment and o.k. for you.” – Advertising message from the movie “Judge Dredd”.

        1. Good quote but a travesty of a movie. The more recent “Dredd” is far, far better and actually does the character justice. :)

  5. We are seeing something very new, very different, and incredibly dangerous in America. An open axis of alignment between “progressive” led corporations and an openly authoritarian administration. This is how the mob runs Chicago.

    Reed, Dicks Sporting Goods, Time-Warner with virtually all media companies, save Fox, have openly joined the corporate-government axis.

    1. Other members of the Democrat[s hard left corporate-government axis include Google and Bank of America. We need to fight back by boycotting these companies.

    2. Progressive Insurance is reportedly pro-Obama so logic suggests the firm must be anti-Second Amendment (their staying as a psonsor of the show seems to support that). Their commercials are cute but their money goes to the wrong side. They should be boycotted, too.

  6. I’m sure there’s a list of boycotters somewhere, and I hope everyone goes out of their way to support them. Some of them can scarcely afford just watching their show fees evaporate. Not too early to shop for next Christmas.

      1. The reason I have not promoted that list is because they are including people who admitted that they never had a booth to begin with, but they are hoping on the bandwagon to get the publicity.

        1. Yes, perhaps people who had not reserved a booth are included, but they may still be ending a history with the ESOS. Some small vendors don’t commit to buying a booth until close to the end in order to negotiate a lower booth price. This year, the abundance of vacancies gives these vendors a buyer’s market. I know at least one vendor who was there last year on those terms, and he has dropped the ESOS this year. These small businesses aren’t jumping on the bandwagon — they’re jumping off the ESOS venue just as the bigger ones who reserved space early have. I doubt the ESOS could give these vacancies away FREE!

          1. Well, here we will just have to disagree. I don’t consider that vendors who haven’t yet laid out a dime for booth space to be taking the same kind of financial beating as vendors who did pay up according to the reservation deadlines and can’t get that money back. The vendors who were merely suitcasing or who haven’t already lost thousands in deposits just don’t get the same attention from me. I don’t consider them to have taken any serious risk on the show. They are out some lost planning time or maybe they budgeted all of $14 for entry fees. That just doesn’t cut it for me.

            1. Bitter, you’re disagreeing with things I didn’t say. Read what I said again. I did not say vendors who have not yet reserved booth space are taking the same beating. Nor were these small vendors “suitcasing.” Nor did I say they deserve the same credit as those who are losing a bundle. But, they are still dropping the ESOS. I guarantee you that in the last few days the ESOS was getting ZERO inquiries about last minute booth space. So, the absence of the smallest businesses is hurting Reed Expositions just the same. My only point was that many of these small businesses are not trying to benefit from positive publicity. They simply are too small to be able to front the money for the booth space well in advance of collecting money from sales at the show.

  7. Thanks for the tip on Keystone Country Store. I’m sure I’ll find something there as a way of saying thanks, and, I suppose, benefiting myself as well.

  8. This kind of solidarity is just fantastic to see happening. Back in the 70’s when I was in college, I felt like a voice in the wilderness when speaking out for 2nd Amendment rights. It’s so good to see people realizing this right and standing up in support of it, even across sports disciplines. By ostracizing one type of firearm at a time, the gun-ban crowd hopes to divide and conquer. By standing together this tactic will fail, and our rights will survive.

    1. Or it could be a general sort of cultural solidarity. Our current ruling class, especially most of the Democrats at the top, are urban liberal who are quite frank about their desire to “fundamentally transform” our society and to reeducate us. They cannot hide their contempt for smaller businesses/Main Street, that’s what “You didn’t build that” was all about.

      As RKBA types, we’re the ultimate anti-collectivists, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a lot of less hard core fellow travelers who realize they’re in just as much danger, even though they aren’t the major target de jour. That company that pulled their 30 boat exhibit before the “postponement”? Who needs a big, polluting boat to go out and do something as frivolous as fish. You should be using your time and money to help inner city children … and anyways, we’re going to take a lot more of your money in taxes to do that (or so they claim, there are of course better ways to buy votes).

  9. I would expect that the vendors and the exhibitor would have a contract. Celebrities appearances are usually assured by contract. Pulling out isn’t something that all companies can do lightly. I speculate that either the contracts have pre-specified conditions that trigger cancellation (such as other vendors pulling out), or the lawyers said that ESOS’s failures constitute breach of contract).

    1. The vendors have all been pretty open about the fact that they are losing all of their booth money on this because they cannot get refunds. The exhibition company still gets the money to line their pocketbooks, and the vendors have the suffer for the sudden change in show policy that contradicts all of the earlier promises for a “tactical” section.

    2. Reed decided to implement this predictably wrong-headed change. They should have known there would be calls for boycotts and that their number of attendees would plummet. Wasn’t there an implied promise to the exhibitors that the show would be well attended (based on past history)? Hasn’t Reed changed the conditions of the show and therefore breached their contracts? Can’t the exhibitors who already paid sue Reed to get their money back based on plummeting sales expectations?

  10. Actually, since the show promoters have changed the rules after the fact, I would think it possible to force refunds. Except that the cost of doing that in our failed legal system might be significantly more than the recovery.

    But, talk about a tarnished brand….I’d hate to be trying to sell space in the next one.

    1. It all depends on the terms of the contract. For the vendors whose products were directly banned, they probably have a pretty good case to get their money back. For those who are boycotting in solidarity, it’s not so clear. If the exhibition company retained the right to change the rules of display at any time, then they wouldn’t have much of a claim. Fortunately, an attorney who works in the firearms community has made his information available for those vendors that want to explore a possible legal response. I don’t know what the chances of success would be, but it’s out there as an option.

    2. Just need some public spirited sportsman litigators to donate some pro bono time.

  11. I purchased a stack of ammo from Cabelas in support. Normally, I buy from the gun show in bulk, but a few thousand rounds (which were amazing reported to be in stock and shipping) are the least I could do to show support.

  12. What could they possibly say at this point? “we done goofed”?

    The only thing I could possibly think of that would put them even marginally back in good graces with the gun community is “Next year we will be giving out free AR-15 rifles to all attendees and their friends.”

    Even then, I think most of the community would say “too little too late”.

    Although, I would seriously consider forgiving them if the rifle was nice enough….

  13. Reed Exibitions screwed the pooch on this one. Not only have they lost a great deal on this year’s show, but they’ll have a tough time getting anyone to trust them in the future.

  14. “you really have to wonder what on earth they plan to say.”

    “We have met the Zumbo, and it is us!”

  15. I wonder if remaining exhibitors are being offered additional free booth space so that the gaps are not so obvious.

    Suddenly, Fred & Joe’s Guide Service has an entire aisle!

    1. We already know about the ties with Progressive. It’s one reason none of my posts have mentioned anything about targeting them to encourage them to pull out as sponsors. Regardless, they did put out a statement today that while their sponsorship decision has nothing to do with politics, they are now re-evaluating their decision to sponsor in light of the current situation and will release a statement within days if they pull out.

    2. It’s some big lefty, but don’t remember which one. Heard one of their Flo commercials on Midnight Trucker Radio – she calls a guy and says “Is this Gary from Gary Gilmore Trucking?”
      Couldn’t believe it. Progressive Insurance is using the name of a convicted murdering lefty hero in their ads.

  16. I’m still not clear on who owns the rights to this show. Is it NSSF? If so, can they toss Reeds for all their shows, and put someone else in for next year?

    At this point, I would think anyone in the gun world who deals with the British for business reasons, should have their head examined. At the very least, they better have their lawyers modify contracts to financially nuke them for any hint of this sort of political crap.

  17. What really needs to happen is that the manufactures need to stop selling guns and ammo to the NY State or any other state that passes or considers these draconian laws and bans. That’s what Ronny Barrett did to California when they banned 50 cals he refused to sell or service his rifles for the state. These bans cut into the companies bottom lines as well so they should stand up.

    1. This could be hard to pull off. It’s not like Barret can keep units of California government from buying his stuff through distributors, he can only refuse service. He’s small enough that he can get away with this in a way that Glock couldn’t, i.e. they’d face damages based on breaking a contract, plus reputational damage.

      I mean, suppose you’re a right-thinking police department in a Blue state that just might be going anti-gun … say, in Pennsylvania. After such an action, if you were using Glocks you’d think hard about transitioning to another company. It’s not like you have a voice that the state level gun grabbing politicians will listen to.

  18. Boycott Progressive Insurance while you’re at it. They’re a commie company, owned by a massive commie donor. There are better options folks.

    1. Such as what? State Farm? They subrogated Toyota over the bogus SUA thing that was orchestrated by GM-owning feds. I don’t want to deal with the crooks. Geiko? Laffo.

      1. USAA if they’re take you.

        (Active military or a vet, or a parent is or was a member; eyesight kept me out of the first category, but my father served in the Navy during the Cold War and joined back in the ’50s.)

  19. I was glad to see that Towne Marine pulled out…I’m stopping by to thank them on the way home from work since a live right near their store.

    1. See the Gun and Knife Shows organized by Tri-Lakes in Northen Mississippi and Southwest Tennessee. We will be taking a grandson to at least one and spending for some worth-while stuff.

    1. Statement from Reed Exhibitions: “It has become very clear to us after speaking with our customers that the event could not be held because the atmosphere of this year’s show would not be conducive to an event that is designed to provide family enjoyment. It is unfortunate that in the current emotionally charged atmosphere this celebratory event has become overshadowed by a decision that directly affected a small percentage of more than 1,000 exhibits showcasing products and services for those interested in hunting and fishing.”

      In other words: “WE are the ones that reacted emotionally, but YOU are to blame for the ‘current emotionally charged atmosphere'”

  20. I would love to see a sportsman’s show in a friendlier venue later on this year to replace this one, as sort of an “up yours” statement to Reed Exhibitions.

  21. Only one more thing the boycotters need to do to totally put the nail in the coffin. Form their own competing orginization, to do their own show, that allows semi autos. Then to make sure this can never happen again in the new organization (should some leftist cabal take over the board, as probably happened this time), write the bylaws of the organization so no gun display can be banned by the board unless the NRA supports the ban.

    1. What do you mean they should form a “competing organization”? Reed Exhibitions is a corporation. It is a business. Reed is part of a larger company with billion–with a b–to use in terms of marketing, reservations, and the like. I’m not saying that there’s not a market for a true pro-gun sportsmen’s show because there clearly is room for that. What I’m getting as is that it’s not easy to just announce that individual people “should” compete with a multi-billion dollar corporation.

        1. Easier said than done, Gregory. Who do you mean by “you”? Since Reed Exhibitions owns the ESOS, a new show means starting from scratch. Yes, it can be done, but someone needs to become the “you” in your sentence. Should the NRA hire someone to do the show? They already have a show in the area. Should the NSSF hire someone? They are an industry group, not a consumer group. Should the Farm Show Complex hire someone? They are a venue, not a show organizer. To organize a new show and invite all the vendors from around the world is no small task, especially when Reed owns all the data. It could be done, but it’s a big mountain to climb.

          1. Exactly.

            “Hello, I’m the son of the Nigerian Finance Minister, errr, excuse me, I’m someone you’ve never heard of before, working for a company you’ve never heard of before, and we’re replacing the ESOS. Please send us $10,000 in small, unmarked bills for your booth at our new, exciting show!”

            I exaggerate for effect, but there really are serious issues with new companies trying to put on shows. In my home town there’s a somewhat notorious criminal who’s in trouble because he took in lots of money for one or two shows he claimed to be putting on and failed to get them off the ground or refund the money. Any new company is going to face hurdles, and a quick rebuild to the size of the old show is likely to be impossible.

            (Note, the company can be old, established, and well respected in the exhibitions industry, but will the vendors know that?)

            As I keep saying, this is be the best outcome given Reed’s intransigence, but it’s still a lose-lose situation for all concerned, and “Wars are not won by evacuations” (Churchill after Dunkirk).

            1. “Wars are not won by evacuations”

              Wars are also not well judged by the outcomes of individual actions or by squandering your resources for a symbolic, Pyrrhic victory. The retreat from Dunkirk, while not a step toward winning the war, preserved resources that otherwise would have been lost and was a huge moral boost for the Brits. What has happened with ESOS is very similar, a strategic retreat which enables a rebuilding towards a better show in the future without Reed. Nobody has implied that it’s going to rise like a Phoenix from the ashes, it’s going to take some hard work and it may take years to build it back to where it was. There are well-known, trustworthy show management companies other than Reed out there and there is no doubt that they would be interested in the obvious profitability that a show like ESOS at the Farm Show Complex represents. As for vendor “trust” issues, I don’t think Reed’s name exactly engenders feelings of trust at this point from just about anybody. Sure it’s an uphill battle but I think the fatalism is overwrought.

              The biggest hurdle is likely the mayor of Harrisburg and whatever political pull she can exert of the activities at the Complex, not whether the resources can be mustered to build a new show.

              1. How does the mayor of Harrisburg have the authority to overrule the state? The state actually owns the complex, not the city of Harrisburg.

  22. Gunbroker.com has been busy supporting their customers.
    The place has been flooded with new buyers, sellers, and well intentioned folks from around the country.

    Focus your efforts on those who remain on the list not those truly who support 2A.

    1. What do you mean “those who remain on the list” at this point? The show is canceled. No one is exhibiting anymore, and all are getting refunds.

    1. There was no “attack.” I just said that I was surprised it took them as long as they did to pull out given their target market being more impacted than most.

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