The list continues to grow with companies, individuals and other vendors withdrawing from the annual Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show in Pennsylvania with less than 10 days to the event’s scheduled opening.
By Alan Clemons, Managing Editor
Known as “the Harrisburg show,” the ESOS is one of the largest and most popular expos in
the hunting, shooting and outdoors industry. Major and regional companies, celebrity speakers and thousands of attendees attend each year to see the latest hunting apparel, clothing, ammunition, archery gear and more, along with seminars on everything from hunting big game to small game and predators. More than 1,200 exhibitors had registered for the Feb. 2-10 show.
But this year, Reed Exhibitions – the British company that owns and promotes the show – announced it would not permit AR-style rifles – “black” or Modern Sporting Rifles – to be in the show. The promoters said they wanted to “take a break for a year” due to the current climate surrounding the AR-style firearms in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy and others.
That set off a firestorm of backlash from exhibitors and supporters of the Second Amendment. Whatever Reed Exhibitions hoped for in regard to its popular show, which it billed as a “family-oriented” and “hunting-focused” event with “firearms that serve the traditional needs of the sport,” was swiftly and is increasingly falling apart due to its decision.
BREAKING NEWS From the National Wild Turkey Federation: The National Wild Turkey Federation has withdrawn from the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show in Harrisburg, Pa., due to the decision to ban the display of modern sporting rifles.
As a leading advocate for the preservation of our hunting heritage, the NWTF believes it is an important time to take a clear stance on its support of sportsmen and the Second Amendment and the clear link between the two.
The NWTF has canceled its booth space and will be rescheduling the NWTF sanctioned calling contest that was slated to take place at the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show once a suitable venue is determined.
“We feel strongly about the importance of the Second Amendment in pursuit of our mission of preserving out hunting heritage,” said Skip Motts, President of the NWTF Pennsylvania State Chapter. “We reached out to our chapters from across the state and received overwhelming support for taking this stand.”
The NWTF works to pass on the right to hunt to future generations, including reducing legal barriers to creating new hunters and introducing almost 100,000 people to outdoor sports annually. The right to bear arms is another pillar of the hunting tradition that the NWTF fully supports. The efforts to preserve our hunting heritage can be undone if new barriers to hunting are created by limiting the tools that the vast majority of sportsmen depend on to hunt.
The NWTF will host its National Convention and Sport Show in Nashville Tenn., from Feb. 15-17. The NWTF welcomes any attendees or exhibitors to consider coming to the NWTF Convention and Sport Show.
The NWTF is working to add booths to the already sold out show in an attempt to accommodate companies that have decided to change plans about exhibiting at the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show. Contact April Flowers at firstname.lastname@example.org for information on reserving a booth.
BREAKING NEWS From the National Rifle Association: “Due to Reed Exhibitions’ refusal to reconsider their decision to ban Modern Sporting Rifles from the February 2-10 Eastern Sports Show in Harrisburg, PA, the National Rifle Association has decided to withdraw from the show. We had called on Reed Exhibitions to reconsider their decision; unfortunately they have steadfastly refused to do so. As a result, the NRA will not be participating in the upcoming show in Harrisburg or in any other shows hosted by Reed Exhibitions that maintain this policy. We are disappointed that Reed Exhibitions has ignored the concerns expressed by attendees, the outdoor industry and the NRA in not reconsidering their position to ban the display of Modern Sporting Rifles.”
BREAKING NEWS From O.F. Mossberg & Sons: O.F. Mossberg & Sons, Inc, America’s oldest, family-owned firearms manufacturer, today announces that the company will not attend or support the 2013 Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show in Harrisburg, Pa., due to Reed Exhibitions’ continued refusal to reconsider their decision to ban Modern Sporting Rifles. The company in good conscience cannot attend or endorse this year’s show.
Our company’s position on the Second Amendment is unwavering and steadfast, therefore, we are unable to support any organization or event that prohibits the display or sale of legal firearms. We stand united with our loyal customers and supporters in this constitutional right and had only hoped for a different outcome.
BREAKING NEWS TenPoint Crossbow Technologies says it is withdrawing, and offers its employees Lifetime Membership to the NRA – CLICK HERE
Dozens Are Leaving in Protest
To date, dozens of companies, exhibitors and seminar speakers or hunting personalities have withdrawn from the show. The list is long and varied (see below) but the refrain is the same: We support the Second Amendment, firearms for sporting and hunting use, and do not agree with the decision to ban certain firearms or accessories from the show.
It’s not just firearms dealers or hunters, either. The International Bowhunters Organization, Athens Archery, Bear, Bowhunting.com, Easton, Kinsey’s, Excalibur, TenPoint, Hoyt, Lancaster Archery Supply and other bowhunting companies or groups are supporting their firearms bretheren. Predator companies including FoxPro and the Pennsylvania Trappers Association, among others, also backed out.
Even an Olympic gold medalist – Jamie Gray, who competes in the 3×20 rifle – announced Tuesday night she is not attending. Gray made the statement on Facebook and also at MyNortheastOutdoors.com (click here) and said, in part, “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.”
If nothing else, this decision has galvanized the hunting and outdoors industry unlike anything in recent years outside of legislative politics. The decision by Reed Exhibitions will have a long-lasting effect not only on the industry but also within Harrisburg due to the economic hit that will be experienced over the course of the show.
Catch The Latest Today on Deer Talk Now
The issue will be discussed on Deer Talk Now today, with hosts Dan Schmidt and Brian Lovett of Deer & Deer Hunting providing their take on the situation along with the latest news.
Rick Bednar of TenPoint Crossbow Technologies and Pat Reeve of Driven TV will be special guests today on the show.
Deer Talk Now airs at 12 p.m. CT from Deer & Deer Hunting headquarters in Iola, Wis. The one-hour live webcast features issues related to deer and deer hunting, including news items such as the Harrisburg situation.
Reports have circulated that Reed Exhibitions may issue a statement – its first about the controversy since the story broke earlier this week – and if so, we’ll have it on Deer Talk Now.
Additionally, we’ll have a recap of the SHOT Show and Archery Trade Association show with discussion of some of the top products and trends from the shows. Both were held in the last two weeks and featured the newest hunting gear that will be arriving soon in stores.
Read The Earlier Reports
D&DH contributor Keri Butt was one of the first to report on many of the exhibitors and personalities withdrawing from the show.
Read her story here to catch up on the earlier reports with comments from some of those who decided to pull out of the show.
Here are some statements from companies that announced Tuesday their withdrawal:
Smith & Wesson Withdraws
Smith & Wesson, a U.S. based leader in firearm manufacturing and design, today announced that the Company will not attend nor will it support or participate in the 2013 Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show in Harrisburg, Pa.
The announcement comes after the decision of show management company, Reed Exhibitions, to prohibit the display of modern sporting rifles in this year’s event.
James Debney, President and CEO of Smith & Wesson, said, ”As a market leader in the firearm industry and an iconic brand that spans 160 years of American history, we believe it is important to make our position perfectly clear: We support the Second Amendment and the rights of our law-abiding customers to purchase these and all legal firearms.
Therefore, we are unable to support any organization or event that prohibits legal firearms, or otherwise restricts a citizen’s lawful and constitutional rights.”
Ruger Says No
Ruger has decided not to attend the upcoming Eastern Sports Show.
We are very frustrated by Reed Exhibitions’ foolish decision to ban the display of modern sporting rifles. We feel that, as one of America’s firearms manufacturers, we must withdraw from the show as a commitment to the 2nd Amendment rights of our customers.
Nonetheless, we are very disappointed not to be attending the Eastern Sports Show.
We were looking forward to attending the show for the first time this year and meeting and supporting the 200,000+ sportsmen and women that attend this great celebration of the outdoors. We hope the show will be successful for the many outfitters and other vendors who depend on the show for their annual business.
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is out
Due to recent decisions instituted by Reed Exhibitions regarding the disallowing of legal modern sporting rifles, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will withdraw as an exhibitor and conductor of the elk calling contest from the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show in Pennsylvania.
RMEF believes the actions taken by Reed, a British company, are detrimental to the Second Amendment and our right as Americans to bear arms.
RMEF reached this decision after careful deliberations and taking into account the stance of our members, volunteers, industry partners and fellow hunters.
We urge Reed Exhibitions to reconsider its policies to avoid a divisive and political atmosphere so RMEF can take part in an event that generates needed revenue for important on-the-ground conservation and hunting heritage projects in the region.
Summit Also Drops Out
Due to the recent changes in policies made by the “Reed Exhibition Center” in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Summit Treestands has withdrawn from the Eastern Outdoor Show. We know there will be some disappointed people who were planning on attending the show to come by and see us but we trust that you will respect and understand our decision. We stand by every law abiding American and our Second Amendment right.
List of Withdrawals
This is a working list that has been amended and added to, based on reports about companies and individuals who have withdrawn from the show.
2 Million Bullets
24/7 Hunting TV
Alaska’s Ravencroft Lodge
Alaskan Outdoors TV
American Whitetails of PA
Appalachian Big Game TV
Avian X Decoys
Bangin Redhedz Turkey Gear
Bow Hunter’s Den
Bow Life, LLC
Cochrane River Outfitters
Cody Turkey Calls
Cold Steel Knives
Continental Divide Outfitters
Cross Canyon Arms
Cutting Edge Bullets
Direct Action Tactical Firearms
Dirty Dog Outdoors
Domari Nolo Defense Consulting
Dominance is Everything Hunting System
Down N Dirty Outdoors
Eastern Chapter Wild Sheep Foundation
Easton Bow Hunting
Excalibur Crossbow US, Inc
Farmland Trophies Outfitting
Fear No Evil
Field Proven Calls
Firearms Industry Consulting Group
Foiles Migrators, Inc
Forbes Turkey Calls
FOXPRO High Performance Game Calls
Full Circle Outdoors
Ghost River Outfitters – Alberta
Gone Wild Outdoors
Gut N Tag, LLC
High Lonesome Outfitters
Hoyt Archery Inc
Hunter Safety Systems
Hunter Specialties w/ Rick White
Hunters and Guides Connection
Hunters Comfort, LLC
Huntin’ Is Good! TV
International Bowhunting Organization
Iron Kin Hunt Club
J & M Traditions
Keystone Country Store
Keystone Elk Country Alliance
King of the Mountain Inc.
Lancaster Archery Supply
Major League Bowhunter
Men in Treestands Productions
Midwest Whitetail Adventures
Mindful of Nature LLC
Mountain Dog Chews
Muskie Moose, LLC
Nature Blinds, LLC
Northern Hideaway Outfitters
Northern Outdoor Lodge
Northern Wilderness Outfitters
Old Goat Outdoors
Open Season TV
Outdoor Channel Outfitters
Outdoor Edge Knives
Outdoor Specialist Grou
PA Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs
PA Taxidermist Association, Inc
Pat Strawser Custom Calls
Pennsylvania Trappers Assoc.
Perry’s No Peep Archery Site
Pipeline Ridge Hunting Preserve
Primal Urge Outdoors
Proc’s Huntin Buddy
Ranew’s Outdoor Equipment
Red Star Arms
S & W Outfitter
Smith & Weson
Southern Game Calls
Sportsmen of North America TV
State Line Bone Mine
Staudt’s Gun Shop
Stay Ready Inc
Susquehanna River Waterfowlers Assoc
Table Mountain Outfitters
The Bear Whisperer
The Outdoor Loop
The State Line Bone Mine a NW Missouri and Iowa outfitter
Triple Mag TV
Trop Gun Shop
U Slide Bow Hunter
Upper Canyon Outfitters
Wallaston Lake Lodge
Tex Mex Outdoors
Watson Air Lock
Watt’s Truck Center
Whitetail Heaven Outdoors
Woodcock Limited of Pennsylvania
Speaker / Celebrites Pulled Out
Abner Druckenmiller – Furtakers TV
Angie & Scott Denny – THE LIFE at Table Mountain
Blaine Anthony, The Bear Whisperer
Fred Eichler – Fulldraw Outfitters
Jim and Eva Shockey
Lee & Tiffany Lakosky “The Crush“
Pat & Nicole Reeve
Ralph & Vicki Cianciarulo – Archers Choice
The Bone Collector