RANT: How SHOT Show Industry Day At The Range Lost Me

This year I made special plans to attend the SHOT Show Industry Day at the Range (also referred to as Media Day) only to be greatly disappointed.   Let me begin by saying how this is a rant about something I have to get off my chest.   I understand and appreciate how many readers of this blog might feel lucky to have the opportunity just to be part of this day.   To that I say become a writer and report on industry happenings.

Here’s the deal.   Normally I fly into Vegas on Monday (the day before the SHOT Show exhibit floor opens) and prepare for a good night’s sleep before hitting the trade show hard for the next four days.   This year I decided to change up plans.   I had not been to Media Day for a few years and decided I would check it out once again in 2014.   This decision was largely because of this e-mail received in 2012 from one of the event organizers:

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Okay, I thought to myself this is rather special.   They followed up with me to see if I was going to take advantage of my invite.   Well, as luck would have it I could not attend in January of 2013 because I had already booked a flight and lodging plans that would not allow that invitation acceptance…so I responded with this e-mail:

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After this correspondence I thought maybe it’s time to re-think my annual SHOT Show travel plans and include Media Day once again.   So, when plane tickets were purchased and lodging was reserved this year, I planned to come in on Sunday afternoon so I could spend a full day at Media Day and then attend the show when it opens the next day.   Problem is when doing this my budget only allows a 4 nights stay so it meant coming home early on Thursday (and missing two regular show days because of it).

I made the decision to attend Media Day and all went well until registration.   It was a confusing mess and the upshot is this year I apparently wasn’t one of the privileged few to get an all-day invite.   Nope, I was told I could not go to the range until the afternoon session despite the fact all my media colleagues left bright and early in the morning for a full day.

Now, keep in mind I made plans to attend based on what I had been offered in the past with an all-day invite.   I would certainly expect that a media person who was attending his 24th  SHOT would have at least earned that privilege…but apparently not.   I was duped.   I relied on what had been customary all previous years to go out to the Media Day when it opened early and make a full day of it, if that’s what I intended to do.   I most certainly would not have cut my SHOT Show experience short had I known that was the opportunity cost to attend HALF A DAY AT MEDIA DAY!!!

So, I’m done with SHOT Media Day.   That Monday will once again forever become a travel day for me to the main show.   I know some of my colleagues are enamored with getting to do some hands-on shooting and testing.   Good for you.   A lot can be written about a gun when you get to shoot 5 test shots on some uncontrolled desert range.   I find the entire pre-SHOT event to be nothing more than a bunch of hype combined with photo ops in an outdoors setting.

And here’s what really gets me.   I had made these travel plans and was committed to attend Media Day, but I lost out on that opportunity thanks to organizer incompetence.   You see, on Thursday night when my return flight got home I found this package at the top of the mail pile on my desk.


Yup, it was the package of my credentials to attend Media Day.   They were so disorganized this year apparently they could not mail them out in time for some of us to have them in Las Vegas.   What a bummer.   Essentially, I feel like I wasted a day of my SHOT Show experience because of this process and the rather poor way it was handled.

Nope, never again in this blog’s pages will you read me making plans to attend SHOT Media Day at the Range.   In my opinion it is an unorganized joke and I will not allot time in the future, in my schedule, for this event.

I remember the good old days when SHOT only had 300–400 media attend to report on it.   I understand that it has exploded into nearly 2,500 media annually and it gets more difficult to manage all those people.   Still, I refuse to be relegated to a half day access only when on that Monday I could be on a plane sipping a cocktail on my way to THE REAL SHOT SHOW EVENT!!!

©2014 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.