Then, the shit hit the fan.
For y'all who aren't in the general area, here's a quick summary. Basically, the old show was run by a British outfit (how the hell that happened in the first place is beyond me, but I digress). After that dipshit shot up the school in Connecticut, said British outfit decided that "military-style weapons" had no place in their show. Sponsors and vendors started droppin' out left and right, and a boycott was organized among potential attendees. It was a strong showin' by the Pro-2A crowd, and within days, the show was cancelled.
The National Rifle Association quickly swooped in and grabbed the reigns, hopin' to bring the show back to life this year, better than ever.
By all accounts, nobody really knew what to expect after last year's snafu. Essentially, they had the target market secured but were startin' from scratch. But based on what I've read, and what Uncle John and I saw on Sunday when we went up, most of the changes that were made were great. The new feature of the show was the Guns and Shooting Hall, which lived up to the hype. Most major manufacturers were there, and had their wares on display for everyone to handle. I coulda spent the entire day in just that room, handlin' all the firearms, parts and accessories on display.
The rest of the show was reminiscent of years past, with plenty of huntin', fishin' and campin' gear and outfitters on display. I tried to browse as much as possible, but I spent most of my time runnin' turkey calls, tryin' to find a nice one to add to the collection. I never did make that purchase, but I did manage to score a great deal on a spool of paracord, some fancy gun-cleanin' stuff called Froglube that I've been wantin' to try, and a couple cheapo turkey calls to play with. I also managed to score a few free PMAGs from the Magpul booth, which made my day. Now, to get the gun to go with 'em....
Perhaps best of all, the legions of Shamwow pushers and snake-oil salesman that had made up a substantial portion of the vendors at the old show were, for the most part, non-existent. Talk about a breath of fresh air.
It did have the appearance of bein' slightly smaller than the old show. I personally believe that some vendors were leery after the show got cancelled last year, and decided to stay home. I think once word gets around about the good attendance and how good the show really is with the NRA in charge, more vendors will jump on board.
All in all, it was a fantastic day away, and I'm already lookin' forward to next year's show. It's definitely worth the trip if you live anywhere in the region.
I did remember to snap a few pictures while I was there, when I was able to get my hands off the guns and turkey calls.....
|The NRA Wall of Guns... all were raffled off at the show.|
|When Jesse and I were kids, we'd always run to the fish tank first.|
|The Guns and Shooting Hall|
|Beretta's selection of fun guns.|
|The graphic artist in me got a little tingly when I saw this booth.|
Bein' run a badass gun manufaturer helps.
|Smith & Wesson's M&P selections, in long and short guns.|
|And my freebie mags. Purty happy about that.|