Submit your photo

2011 Mathews Retailer Business Show Keeps Growing

by Todd Graf 2. January 2012 03:09
Todd Graf

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 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 as we'll be updating the website directly from the show to bring you the hottest new products before anyone else.

More on IL Deer & Turkey Classic in Peoria

by Todd Graf 29. March 2011 16:23
Todd Graf

This year's Illinois Deer & Turkey Expo was a great show!  For those of you who were not able to attend the event I wanted to share some more photos on what you missed. This was our first year having a large 10 x 20 booth for and it was a ton of fun meeting grassroots bow hunters like us. This year the show had:

370 plus booths
Lots of seminars
New Product display area
Venison Butchering Demos
Archery Range
Life-Sized Whitetail Deer Skeleton
Live Animals – Yes my son and I got a photo with a bear cub!
Outdoor Photo Contest
A ton of Deer Mounts

Here are some of my favorite photos:

The booth was set up early and ready to go with time to spare.

It did not take long for the crowds to start rolling in!

We had a 115 inch shed antler in the booth for everyone to check out.

More big sheds.

When Justin was not looking I should have sold his bow, I had about 10 chances to sell it! You think he would have noticed?

As always our long-time friend was on hand to help kids shoot a bow!

We're always giving away FREE gear from out sponsors each month - make sure you sign up -

Our good friend Mark Luster with Legends of the Fall stopped in to say HI!

Go figure we had to be right next to the Fudge booth! Yes, we were her best customer.

This was my favorite T-Shirt - If anyone knows who this is tell her call me at my office - 847-659-8200  to receive a  free ladies T-shirt.

Hunting Down Bowhunting Gear at SHOT Show

by Patrick Durkin 28. January 2011 09:54
Patrick Durkin

Folks who work in the archery, hunting and bowhunting industries sometimes feel insulated from recessions and economic downturns. Even during hard times, their customers shoot guns and bows, and go hunting whenever possible. In fact, recent studies found laid-off hunters went hunting more often than when they’re employed, partly because they had extra free time, but also because it helps feed their families.

I thought often about such economic factors last week while attending the 33rd Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. The aisles were packed with store owners, distributors, buyers, outdoor media and other folks who make their living in these industries.

As Bob Morrison, president and CEO of Taurus, told a local television reporter at SHOT- “We are having terrific growth right in the middle of this recession, and I'm delighted to be in this business."

By anyone’s standard, the 2011 SHOT Show exceeded expectations with a record 31,769 buyers and 2,074 media representatives among the overall attendance of 57,390. In fact, the show attracted businessmen from more than 100 countries. By the time the four-day event ended, it was the third largest SHOT Show of all time, trailing only the 2008 and 2010 events. Let’s hope that means we’re seeing a long-awaited economic recovery for our country.

If you’re not familiar with the SHOT Show, it’s the No. 1 event for shooting, hunting and outdoors manufacturers to show their products to retail stores, whether they’re one-man gun shops or corporate retailing giants like Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops. In many cases, these retailers are getting their first look at new firearms, ammunition, clothing, footwear, riflescopes, binoculars, trail cameras and other hunting-related service and gear.

SHOT is not open to the public. Other than the outdoors media, the only folks who can attend are owners and employees of companies in the shooting and hunting industries. Last week’s event marked my 21st straight SHOT Show. As I worked the show, I thought often about how it has changed since my first SHOT in January 1991.

Until the late 1990s, the archery and bowhunting industries had a large presence at the SHOT Show. Whether the event was held in Las Vegas, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Orlando or New Orleans, the SHOT Show’s organizers worked hard to put all the archery companies in one area, rather than scatter them across the huge convention floor.

By 2000, however, the archery and bowhunting industries mostly abandoned SHOT to attend what became the Archery Trade Association Show. You’ll still find most clothing, optics, footwear, game calls and tree-stand manufacturers at both shows, but companies making bows, arrows, releases, bow sights and other archery- and bowhunting-specific gear find the ATA Show a better fit.

The SHOT Show’s importance to the firearms industry remains solid. SHOT has never lost its must-attend status for this $4 billion industry. For four days last week, Jan. 18-21, the floors of Las Vegas’ Sands Expo and Convention Center were stretched to capacity with 1,600 exhibiting companies. When the show opened for business, the booths displaying those companies’ wares covered 630,000 square feet of floor space.

One recent trend you can’t miss at SHOT is the increased presence of products for the military, and tactical and law-enforcement professionals. Whether it’s warfighting backpacks, AR-style rifles, high-turret riflescopes or military-grade binoculars and rangefinders, you’ll find many traditional hunting companies offering “black” and “tactical” versions of their products. In fact, it’s not unusual to see manufacturers staff two booths; one in the show’s hunting section and the other in the police/military section.

Even though it’s rare to see a bow, arrow or broadhead at the SHOT Show, you almost have to attend it if you want to see all the optics and clothing manufacturers under one roof. Many of them also exhibit at the ATA Trade Show, but rent more floor space and display more products and inventory at SHOT. That’s why most media types like me work both shows to stay up to date on all equipment used by hunters and bowhunters.

As I mentioned in my recent blog on the ATA Show, it’s virtually impossible to visit every manufacturer at the show. I note which companies I missed at ATA and put them atop my list for SHOT. Even then, I seldom get through the entire list because there’s more than three times as many exhibitors at SHOT (1,600) than at ATA (500).

Here’s just a few of the unique items at SHOT that caught my eye.

360-DEGREE GAME CAMERA: This trail camera from Bresser is the first to monitor all game activity in a 360-degree radius. It employs four sets of motion sensors, and takes 5 megabyte photos or video. Its fully programmable and stores its images on an SD card.

TINY-W SURVEILLANCE CAM PROVIDES CONCEALED BACKUP: The Tiny-W SpyPoint wireless infrared digital surveillance camera from
GG Telecom stores every picture instantly and securely with its automatic wireless backup, the Blackbox receiver, which can be hidden up to 50 feet away.

BRUNTON DEBUTS PORTABLE POWER PACK: Brunton calls the “Restore” the most efficient, integrated, compact hybrid solar-powered charger available. Its Internal battery keeps extra energy at hand, and twin solar panels recharge the battery to peak capacity in less time.

ENERGIZER’S ENERGI TO GO SP2000: This power pack is powerful enough to recharge everything from iPods to handheld radios, cellular phones and GPS units. It recharges in six hours with solar power, and can be recharged up to 500 times.

SNUGPAK’S STRATOSPHERE BIVVI IS GREAT FOR ELK BOWHUNTS: The Stratosphere from SnugPak is a waterproof yet breathable one-person bivvi shelter that’s great for overnight elk bowhunts and spike-camp setups. When you move on, it compresses into a 5x12-inch package.

REVELATION LIGHTED KNIFE GREAT FOR NIGHTTIME FIELD DRESSING: Bowhunters no longer need to hold a flashlight in their mouth when making precision cuts in the dark, thanks to the Revelation Lighted Knife from Real Avid. The Revelation features two water-sealed, high-intensity LED bulbs that focus a double beam of light around the blade’s cutting area.

SITKA GEAR NOW FEATURES MERINO WOOL: Sitka Gear features Merino wool in its latest line of high-performance gear. Merino wool is naturally odor-resistant, and is excellent at regulating body temperature, especially when worn against the skin.

BUSHNELL DEBUTS BACKTRACK POINT 5: Bushnell’s BackTrack offers simple, basic GPS functions to get bowhunters back and forth between distant points without confusion or complications. It stores and locates up to five locations, using a highly sensitive GPS receiver; a self-calibrating digital compass; and time, temperature and altitude information.

AIR CUSHION DELIVERS COMFORT FOR LONG SITS: Bowhunters seeking a comfortable, lightweight cushion for long sits should check out the Comftable Seat/Table air-cushion from Ry-Ky Products. This rugged air-cushion features a specially designed recessed area that relieves pressure on the tailbone to reduce or eliminate back pain.

The 2012 SHOT Show will return to the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, and run Jan. 17 to 20.

About the Authors

The staff is made up of "Average Joe" bowhunters from around the country who are serious about one thing - BOWHUNTING.  Keep up to date with them as they work year-round at persuing their passion and bring you the most up-to-date information on bowhunting gear and archery equipment.

» Click here to learn more about the Staff.

Editorial Disclaimer

The opinions expressed by Hunting Network LLC bloggers and by those members providing comments are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of Hunting Network LLC. Hunting Network LLC is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by bloggers or forum participants. Hunting Network LLC is not responsible for any offense caused inadvertently through interpretation of grammar, punctuation or language.