The Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show is OFF

The President of Reed’s American division released a statement that says they have decided to postpone the Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show. Interestingly, they indicated that they haven’t actually scheduled any other dates.

Reed Exhibitions has decided to postpone, for now, the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show given the controversy surrounding its decision to limit the sale or display of modern sporting rifles (also called ARs) at the event. The show was scheduled to take place February 2-10 in Harrisburg, PA.

“Our original decision not to include certain products in the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show this year was made in order to preserve the event’s historical focus on the hunting and fishing traditions enjoyed by American families,” said Chet Burchett, Reed Exhibitions President for the Americas. “In the current climate, we felt that the presence of MSRs would distract from the theme of hunting and fishing, disrupting the broader experience of our guests. This was intended simply as a product decision, of the type event organizers need to make every day.”

“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.”

“ESS has long been proud to participate in the preservation and promotion of hunting and fishing traditions, and we hope that as the national debate clarifies, we will have an opportunity to consider rescheduling the event when the time is right to focus on the themes it celebrates.”

What’s interesting about this decision is the refusal to give any kind of timeline to vendors or possible attendees for future dates. That sounds more like a cancellation than a true effort to simply postpone the event. It makes me wonder if they are calling it a decision to postpone in order to keep exhibitor money instead of giving refunds. (See update below for new information from a vendor.) The fact is that they have already spent a large part – if not all – of that money. It cost them around $500,000 to rent the Farm Show Complex, plus untold sums in advertising and staffing to organize it up to this point. (Not to mention, their Public Relations contractor has probably substantially increased her fee for this mess. She would be right to do so since she didn’t sign on for fighting the entire sportsmen’s community.)

I will take a detailed look at the contract for vendors that a reader sent me to see what the policy is on the issue of refunds for the event being postponed instead of canceled and will update this post as more details come out.

In the meantime, I would ask that everyone who is celebrating the community standing together against anti-gun attitudes spend today contacting their US Senators & Congressmen. We need to fight the gun control proposals being launched today. Anti-gun senators are about to start a big press conference to announce draconian limits on the firearms and accessories we use. The Vice President is starting a new media “conversation” to tell us again how much he wants gun control bills sent to the White House, and the President is about to launch a campaign-style series of rallies to generate support for more gun control.

UPDATE: A vendor comments that Reed has just now decided to let them know about the decision (after making it public), and they are now finally promising them refunds.

NSSF has also said that they are now reconsidering their business with Reed for running SHOT Show. Funny about that since NSSF originally begged vendors & attendees to continue giving money to Reed by attending the ESOS. I’m going to assume that whatever conversations happened earlier this week really blew up spectacularly for such an extreme change in position.

UPDATE: PFSC releases a statement on the so-called postponement of the ESOS, and here are the highlights:

It is sad to read the statement from Reed and the reason they chose to use for their position. Had it truly been their concern (the family hunting/fishing experience), they should have been eager to engage with various stakeholders in a discussion on the issue and any related impacts. Instead, they chose to stand their ground and refused to negotiate. …

From the feedback that we are receiving, we are not sure that their term “postponement” is the appropriate word to describe the future of a show hosted by Reed. Their unwillingness to even discuss their decision to not allow the displaying or advertising of certain types of legal firearms and accessories solely based on emotion and misinformation of those types of firearms does not sit well with sportsmen and women who believe the decision was nothing more than an attack on our 2nd Amendment Rights. Firearm sales typically don’t even take place during the show itself. Background checks and required federal and state requirements are strictly adhered to and Reed Exhibition is fully aware of this.

Given this statement, it really does seem that Reed basically told the gun community to go do perverse things to itself in “conversations.” It also indicates that Reed may not ever come back to this community. I guess that means if some enterprising company wants to take on the massive effort of hosting a Harrisburg Sportsmen’s Show, there may be quite the opportunity now.

40 Responses to “The Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show is OFF”

  1. Exurbankevin says:

    Breaking news: The Eastern Sports And Outdoors Show has announced they are withdrawing from this year’s Eastern Sports And Outdoors Show.

  2. Dave says:

    I work with a vendor who cancelled his booth two days ago. Reed gave them a full refund.

    • Bitter says:

      That’s a big change in their policy. Most vendors reported in various places online that Reed staff refused to call them back, respond to emails, or even acknowledge their existence after this started blowing up. Several told media that when they could get a response, they were informed there would be no refunds if they pulled out.

      Of course, by two days ago–as opposed to when vendors started to drop out–there was a lawyer offering services to go after Reed on behalf of exhibitors screwed over. :)

      • Dave says:

        I can only go with what my buddy told me about them dropping out. Now, getting hotel refunds is proving to be more of a challenge. Of course, his staff that was flying here from South Africa is SOL on airfare(I guess you can figure out what business they’re in).

        • Bitter says:

          Hotel refunds shouldn’t be an issue since those are usually able to be changed/canceled up to about 48-24 hours out without penalty. Obviously, if it was set up as a pre-paid with no refunds, that’s different. But, most reservations are flexible this far out.

  3. Harold says:

    How tightly booked is the Farm Show Complex, or any other venue Reed Exhibitions could use in the future to put on a show of this scale?

    I.e. do they have a realistic prospect of even putting one on until next year?

  4. SLC says:

    Wow, what a load of crap! Instead of admitting they screwed up and apologizing they push all of the blame onto the MSR vendors/owners for “ruining the family atmosphere”. Bunch of arrogant asshats!

    • jbiros says:

      My thought exactly…They placed blame on gun owners again, making it seem like these black rifle enthusiast ruined it for all the hunters and fisherman.

      I have never checked to see who puts on events I attend . I will start now, and if Reed is involved in any way ,I won’t spend my money there.

  5. beatbox says:

    This is a lesson for politicians. Gun owners stick together. I don’t even own any “evil black rifles” but I oppose ESOS’s decision as well as the new AWB restrictions. Don’t think the fact that your are “only banning some guns” will play.

    • Henry Bowman says:

      What should be even more scary to the gummint is that it’s not only the “gun” culture. Archery companies voluntarily bailed on this show. WATERCRAFT companies voluntarily bailed on this show. This isn’t just a petulant spasm of some special interest group, it’s broad-based resistance from a healthy swath of the American demographic.

      • Harold says:

        I think the implications of this thesis are a bit complicated.

        I.e. I believe that for whatever reasons, Obama/Team Obama are entirely comfortable with this. Heck, he even used the word “resistance” in the context of our reaction to his gun grabbing, did he not?

        He’s gone out of his way to provoke wide swaths of Americans who aren’t part of his coalition’s deep but narrow demographic. E.g. how much do you want to bet that Towne Marine, the dealer that pulled their 30 boat display from the show, is just the sort of Main Street small business that Obama very personally attacked with his “You didn’t build that” speech?

  6. Robert says:

    Shorter version of their statement:

    “Pfffbbbt! It’s all your fault you big meanies!”.

  7. Matthew Carberry says:

    “Look what you made us do.”

    Snivelling cowards.

    • Bitter says:

      That was very similar to Sebastian’s response when I read the statement to him. He noted that it was very much like a middle school kid whining about another kid being a bully when the whiner actually picked the fight and forced the other kid to defend himself.

      I will say this, I don’t think the decision, the immediate response, the treatment of the media (even those hostile to our rights that would side with Reed normally), or this response speaks well to professionalism of Reed & their related contractors.

  8. Geodkyt says:

    Yeah, they are trying to dump the blame on the people who actually support the rights teh exhibition was trying to cash in on.

    “Damn you, boycotters, vendors, and sponsors, for ruining the show because you stood up for a minority we were tossing out at the last minute because we don;t like them!”

    First they came for the MSRs, but I said nothing, for I don’t sell MSRs.

    Then they came for the beef jerky, but I said nothing, for I don’t sell beef jerky.

    Then they came for pink camoflage tank tops, but I said nothing, for I don’t sell pink camoflage.

    Then I noticed that everyone in my buying demographic supports pink camoflage, beef jerkey, and/or MSRs, and they expected me to follow suit, so I pulled the loud handle on my participation in the show, for I am a big meanie who wants to ruin the family atmosphere.

  9. Other Steve says:

    When is the British will finally realize Americans won’t roll over?

    • Andy B. says:

      When we stop rolling over, and pretending it’s OK if the right organizations or gurus tell us it’s OK?

  10. Drifter says:

    “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.”

    No, you imbecile. It affects ALL of us, regardless of who might own a homeland defense rifle. And how in the Sam Hill does AR-15 = non-family friendly? Go back to England and kowtow to your queen.

  11. Rydak says:

    “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.”

    I read that to say : “It’s unfortunate that your upset that we banned black people from the show, they are only a small subset of the larger family”

    Seriously, whats the difference?

    • Pablo says:

      Clearly, that decision affected more than a small percentage of exhibits. But yes, the event was overshadowed by a decision; Reed’s asinine decision.

  12. Harold says:

    NSSF has also said that they are now reconsidering their business with Reed for running SHOT Show. Funny about that since NSSF originally begged vendors & attendees to continue giving money to Reed by attending the ESOS. I’m going to assume that whatever conversations happened earlier this week really blew up spectacularly for such an extreme change in position.

    Why is this funny? We assume that until Monday the NSSF was negotiating in good faith with Reed Exhibitions, which no doubt had more than a little to do with their strange announcement before then, they were still trying to salvage things.

    Now that’s over and obviously Reed is toxic, if for no other reason the NSSF is going to be cutting lose from them as soon as possible.

    • Bitter says:

      As I said in my original post, NSSF’s first statement on the situation went off the rails when they actually encouraged people to keep giving Reed money before airing their opinions about the gun ban. There’s a difference between not actively supporting the boycott and encouraging people to line Reed’s pockets instead.

    • Zach says:

      I think that the NSSF has shown all of us a path forward. There are other businesses associated with Reed, and maybe we can put pressure on them too. I would just sigh with happiness if Reed were to lose enough business that they needed to lay off the man who made the dumb decision in the first place.

      If they closed their doors altogether, that would just be gravy.

  13. Lucky Forward says:

    Millions of people are learning about this, as it’s currently above the masthead on Drudge:

    …which linksto…

    • old surfer says:

      Too bad the NRA is getting blamed by the media for the organizer’s prejudice and stupidity.

      • Matthew Carberry says:

        On the flip side of that, the people who care will get the truth and those who don’t will at least realize the NRA still has some teeth and isn’t irrelevent.

  14. Harold says:

    Note that this is a lose-lose situation; it’s the best outcome possible given Reed Exhibitions’ intransigence, but aside from the yet to be determined value of the wide solidarity it generated (and we shouldn’t discount that, it could be very big), it’s not a “victory”.

    An overblown but otherwise good analogy would be Dunkirk, specifically in Churchill’s quote that “Wars are not won by evacuations.” Because an evacuation from something that has been very valuable to the region’s gun culture is exactly what has happened.

    • Bitter says:

      That’s a very good point. I agree with it, but I’ll also note that there are quite a few smaller – but still large – shows around then Northeast & Mid-Atlantic this time of year that will likely see bigger crowds as people drop the ESOS from their plans now. Many of those were questioned about their policies and made clear that they were still going to allow these firearms where legal.

      Clearly, there’s a market for a big sportsmen’s show in Pennsylvania. If another company wants to come together to put something else together to compete with Reed or effectively take over the show that was often nicknamed “The Harrisburg Show,” then I think there’s ample evidence to do so. Even better, there’s a widely publicized list of potential vendors to approach!

    • Andy B. says:

      I’ll confess that perhaps I just don’t understand your analogy, but — I don’t.

      We identified a traitor in our midst and gave it a good drubbing. Sounds like a victory to me. The next thing we need to do is destroy it completely.

      I’ll admit that mere entertainments no longer hold any holy qualities for me, so, that a sports show will not be held in Harrisburg does not seem like a tragedy or some kind of retreat to me. Of course, I am extremely sorry for the vendors who have borne the economic brunt of this protest, but on the other hand, God Bless Them, they have shown we are not just the mercenary firearms industry lobby that the NRA is painted to be, when we are represented as part of that mythical monolith.

      If I can make an analogy that I wish legislators would see, this example is as if we finally had the balls to throw out an NRA A-rated legislator for crossing us, rather than rationalizing why we should give him a pass. Starting to turn on false friends as much as we do overt enemies should be our next step toward political credibility.

      • Harold says:

        The traitor in our midst is identified, and will get no more business from us as contractually possible, but is so huge it’ll barely notice the difference (well, that’s the way to bet today). Mostly, that helps prevent future debacles, and its smaller competitors will hopefully think about this in advance before trying to pull such a stunt.

        Others will have to comment on how important this show is to the gun culture in your region; from various comments I got the impression it was significant (we’re pretty much the same in not being interested in such “entertainments”, but what about the organic networking that happens in these, when people bump into each other at booths, eat in close proximity, etc.?)

        And it sounds like some companies may go out of business due to this, which I can’t see as a positive. Yeah, better dead than a slave, but dead is still dead. That’s why I call it lose-lose, except for the solidarity detail.

        • Henry Bowman says:

          Take the long view. Running these Tories out of town opens up an ecological niche for some other GUN-FRIENDLY promoter to swoop in and usurp their market.

  15. Alicia says:


  16. Backwoods Whitetails Outfitters want so commend the brotherhood of sportsmen that stood together together against those trying to support anyone trying to infringe on our gun rights.
    Also we want to quickly comment on the issue of vendors/companies that were boycotting the show but did not show up as vendors on the show plan. Please know that not always does a company specifically purchase a booth space. Another reason for sporstman, vendors and outdoor companies to be upset that the show will not take place. Is due to that the outdoor shows are places where outdoormen, outdoor company heads, outdoor networks, affiliate sponsors, etc… gather, to discuus business for the following year, help work the booth with and/or support each other these shows. So though some companies saying they are boycotting may not appear on the list?….Those companies were planning to attend to support and in support of their affiliate sponsors or business partners. Again.. God Bless all of those that took a stand together as to show that we as sportsmen will never let anyone threaten the extinction of our beloved sport!!

  17. Don H says:

    Take note Pennsylvania lawmakers!!! Don’t mess with our gun laws.

    • Bitter says:

      The only thing PA lawmakers will take note of is phone calls and letters sent to their offices. Please do not think that lawmakers will look at this situation and think anything about your dedication to the cause politically. The only thing that will represent your dedication to the Second Amendment is an effort to contact their offices directly.

      • Don H says:

        This lawmaker gets it. From the Washington Examiner article.

        Pennsylvania Rep. Tom Marino said he was disappointed in the cancellation, and blamed Reed Exhibition’s gun ban. “The decision represents yet another attempt to undermine protections guaranteed to all Americans under the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and it restricts the ability for law-abiding citizens to purchase legal firearms that are increasingly being used for hunting in a number of states.

      • Andy B. says:

        I want to second, again (and again) what Bitter says: Don’t think legislators will be impressed by what they see on News at 11:00 or by looking out their window. Typically those things cost us a lot of effort, and them, none at all. What will impress them is whoever forces them and their staffs to expend the most pain and effort. Contacts to their office that they must reply to are about the best thing we have going for us.

        Email contacts are better than nothing at all, but a staffer can reply to those automatically with a push of a button. A one-sentence faxed or snailmailed letter with your name and address is much better, as it requires at least some human effort to respond to it. Phone calls are only good for causing pain if enough of them come in to shut down the office phones.

        One or two sentences is enough, e.g., “I oppose all current efforts to further restrict our gun rights. I expect you to do the same.” Any additional, erudite reasoning for your position is wasted. You will be only one impressed by it.

        Think ratio of your energy to the legislators’ energy, minimize your expenditure, and maximize theirs.

  18. Miguel says:

    VPC linked you in Facebook…. cooties!

  19. Serena says:

    Incredible! This blog looks just like my old one!
    It’s on a entirely different topic but it has pretty much the same layout and design. Outstanding choice of colors!


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