Even before I saw the attendance figures for the annual Mathews Retailer Business Show, I knew I was witnessing the company’s biggest, most successful show in its four-year history. This exciting three-day event has grown big-time since its launch in 2008.
It’s a heck of a show for archery retailers. It’s very business-oriented, and it’s held in early December each year at the Chula Vista Resort in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. This year it attracted more than 400 retailers and 150 exhibitors, including more than 100 Lost Camo licensees. That’s nearly a 50 percent growth in show exhibitors from a year ago, and a whopping 112 more exhibitors than the inaugural show drew in 2008.
Companies such as KTech Designs make a variety of high-quality accessories specifically designed to compliment your Mathews bow.
It's great to see new companies like Archer Xtreme pushing the sport of archery to new heights with their cutting edge designs and materials.
Matt McPherson, Mathews’ founder and president, reminded us of the company’s philanthropic work, too. “Not only do Lost Camo licensed products give Mathews retailers a unique and exclusive product to help their business, but 100 percent of the Lost Camo proceeds help people less fortunate around the world,” Matt said. “That’s in addition to the funding Mathews and Mission have been doing for years for those less fortunate."
I attended the show all three days with Justin Zarr and several other staff members from our Bowhunting.com crew. Let me tell you, we scrambled the entire time to make sure we saw the latest bowhunting gear from Mathews and all the other exhibitors. In fact, this year’s show was so large it was held inside “the bubble,” a giant building with an inflatable roof. This mammoth building is the Chula Vista convention center’s largest venue.
A view from inside "The Bubble", where several hundred people spent nearly 3 days conducting the business that keeps our industry running.
During the show we worked extensively with Corrine Bundy, Mathews’ marketing communications specialist, on several video promotions for Mathews’ products. By the show’s final morning on Day 3, Corrine knew without doubt that the show was Mathews’ best yet.
“It was a great success for us,” she said. “This was the fourth straight year of growth for the show. That kind of growth helps us carry out our mission for the show, which is to give retailers the tools they need to be as successful and profitable as possible.”
Here Justin and I are working with our cameraman, Nick and Brandyn, along with Corrine Bundy to film a Holiday Gift Guide for the Mathews and Lost Camo websites.
While walking the show we saw a variety of innovative new products that will be hitting the market for 2012. Many of those products are geared towards accessorizing, and colorizing, your bow setup. Mathews has done a great job at offering colored accessories for their bow for several years now, and many manufacturers are following their lead with colored accessories of their own. One of the companies leading the charge in that arena is Pine Ridge Archery, who now has a variety of bow accessories in 8 different colors. From peep sights to kisser buttons and even a new stabilizer, it's never been easier to customize your bow setup any way you please.
Another interesting new product we came upon is the iBowsight. If you want to talk about innovation and technology in archery, this is it! The iBowsight uses a custom-designed bracket to hold your iPhone 4 or 4s and turn it into a full-fledged bow sight. Simply purchase and install the app on your phone and then mount it to your bow and you're off. The iBowsight may not be for everyone, but there's no doubt it' sure to fuel plenty of conversations. Click here to read a full review of the iBowsight.
In addition to a busy show floor, Mathews also delivered an impressive seminar lineup featuring industry experts to teach everything from bow tuning to retailing tips. And for evening entertainment, Mathews provided plenty of laughs from comedian Tim Hawkins.
Love it or hate it, the iBowsight is certainly a unique product.
As always, I was impressed with both the Mathews and Mission bow lineups, and think everyone will be impressed with the Heli-m. This bow gives you a super smooth draw and is the lightest bow ever offered by Mathews. Plus it’s loaded with Mathews technology like the Reverse Assist Roller Guard, Harmonic Damper Lite, Harmonic Stabilizer and Geo Grid Lock Riser.
But I gotta tell you, one of the most amazing spectacles was the shoot-off tournament where about 500 people tried shooting bull’s eyes with Mathews’ Genesis bow. This is the bow used by thousands of youngsters nationwide in the National Archery in the Schools Program. Each show attendee was given one arrow, courtesy of Easton Archery, and had to try and shoot the foam bull's eye of a metal target. If you made it into the foam you advanced to the next round. If you missed, you were out. And no, I didn’t win the event! I missed my first shot to earn an instant disqualification. Justin made it to the second round, but failed to advance to the third round. After 4 rounds of shooting we finally had a lucky winner, who got a free antelope hunt from our good friends at Table Mountain Outfitters.
The aftermath of the Iron Buck challenge.
It's always great to see kids who are enthusiastic about archery and hunting. Remember, they are the future of our sport!
Our next stop will be the ATA Trade Show, which runs Jan. 10-12 in Columbus, Ohio. As always, we'll be doing our best to cover the hot new bowhunting and archery products that are hitting the shelves in 2012. So be sure to keep an eye on Bowhunting.com as we'll be updating the website directly from the show to bring you the hottest new products before anyone else.