As recently as two weeks ago, organizers of the SHOT Show—the industry-adjacent hook and bullet trade show scheduled to run in January—said the event would go on as planned in Las Vegas. Late last week, that position changed as show managers announced the gathering would be cancelled after all.
"Given the sheer complexities, diminishing timeline, and immense logistical planning required to conduct a trade show as large as SHOT, NSSF simply could not move forward at this point with so many unknowns and variables," wrote Joe Bartozzi, the president and CEO of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the group behind the show.
Several outdoor companies, including Mystery Ranch and HydraPak, said last month they planned to attend the show despite the serious coronavirus risks posed by large indoor gatherings. Companies we spoke with indicated they would have a presence at the show with significant precautions taken to protect their own employees as well as show attendees.
"If we go, we’re looking at sending one or two people—that's it," HydraPak CEO Matt Lyon told SNEWS in October. "We're going to focus on handing out printed info as opposed to having people come into the booth."
That kind of provisional interest was enough to promise a big exhibitor turnout.
"With three months to go until the show, floor space for both the Sands Expo Center and our expansion to the new Caesars Forum was nearly sold out," Bartozzi wrote. NSSF, he said, planned to have "more companies than ever before represented at the SHOT Show."
In the end, however, spiking coronavirus case numbers during NSSF's "key planning period" were enough to merit the show's cancellation.
"All of this positions us for a 2022 SHOT Show that will be undoubtedly the best in our industry’s history," Bartozzi wrote. "We look forward to bringing our entire community together again at a show that will be one to remember."