Saturday marked the third and final day of business for attendees at the 2015 ATA (Archery Trade Association) Trade Show in Indianapolis.
While attendance figures were not available at the time of this writing, the crowds visiting the event seemed about on par with other previous ATA events. In other words, the event appeared to be a status quo show with no noticeable record crowds coming to Indy, but then again, there did not appear to be any less people than there have been in other years either.
The show’s wrap-up day featured less in the way of industry announcements, product unveilings and personalities making autograph signing appearances at vendor booths, but it was still a busy day. The slightly less hectic pace did give our OutdoorChannel.com editorial crew a final chance to check out the sights, sounds and attention grabbing comments found at this year’s show.
ATA Crowds Begin to Vacate Convention Center a Bit Early
After the passage of another arctic cold front that sent overnight temperatures back below zero, the 2015 ATA Show in Indianapolis ended as perhaps the coldest such show on record. With the cold temperatures, a looming winter storm on Sunday, a huge weekend of football and the standard slowing of business on a tradeshow’s final day, the crowds of celebrities, buyers, industry members and media slowly but surely thinned out as Saturday wore on. While some stayed and continued to work the show floor until the event’s official closing, the third and final day was a slight bit lighter in attendance and the aisles were a little less crowded than during the previous two days.
Click image to see photos of day three at ATA Show 2015
Elite Archery Synergy Bow
When a newer kid on the block bow company starts getting top flight shooters and hunters like ASA Shooter of the Year and IBO National Champion Levi Morgan to make a switch from their old company to a new one, you know something good is going on. Which might help to explain the buzz around Elite Archery’s (www.elitearchery.com) new Synergy bow that combines the company’s Pro-Kote finish in several Realtree patterns, a Riser Cage design and the Synergy two-track cam design that are all in the ingredients of this new 2015 compound offering. Add it all up and the Syngergy blends arrow speeds of up to 325 feet per second, a variety of draw-length and draw-weight options that lead to smooth draw cycles and plenty of forgiveness on the range or in the field. All in all, the Synergy is one sweet shooting bow that continues to draw new faces to the Elite Archery crowd.
Rinehart Giant Mule Deer Target
Arrowing a 200-class giant mule deer is the dream of many bowhunters, me included. If the idea of perfect practice at home makes for a better chance of executing a perfect shot in the field, then any mule deer bowhunting aficionados out there might want to take a look at the new target offered by Rinehart Targets (www.rinehart3d.com). Standing 37 inches tall, the mule deer target simulates a 250-pound buck… with 200 inches of antler on top of his head. Add in the company’s self-healing foam that can stop untold numbers of shots, the target’s ability to stand up to long-term ultraviolet exposure and the patented locking replaceable inserts that Rinehart is famous for and you’ve got a can’t be beat target value. That looks like a Booner buck, by the way.
Easton Deep Six XD Micro-Diameter Arrow
Coming up with a new and better arrow for bowhunters might seem akin to reinventing the wheel. And yet somehow, someway, Easton Archery (www.eastonarchery.com) keeps doing that every year. This year, Easton unveiled the new Deep Six XD micro-diameter arrow in Indy, an arrow that features a stainless steel RPS insert that gives the shaft an advantage over those featuring aluminum inserts. How so? Through superb delivery capabilities as the arrow flies to the target and better penetration once that arrow gets there. It all adds up to another can’t miss offering from the arrow making giant.
Carbon Express Maxima BLU RZ Arrow
Carbon Express (www.carbonexpressarrows.com) hit a homerun last year with its breakthrough Maxima RED arrow shaft that helped bowhunters achieve amazing downrange accuracy with broadheads. This year, the big arrow maker takes that idea a step farther with the introduction of the Maxima BLU RZ hunting arrow, a shaft that helps blend speed and accuracy through managing the flex of the arrow in flight. “The new lightweight Maxima BLU RZ has me dialed in with broadheads at longer ranges than I’ve ever shot before, giving me the confidence to take tougher shots,” states Outdoor Channel TV personality and show co-host Greg Miller in ad copy about the arrow.
First Lite Lupine Merino Crew for Women
First Lite (www.firstlite.com) has made a name for itself in recent years by building some of the best lightweight and warmest merino wool garments that exist on the hunting market. This year, the company unveiled the Lupine series long-sleeve merino wool base layer crew shirt designed specifically for female hunters. Whether that hunter is going after early season elk out west or using the shirt as a first layer in the chilly November whitetail woods, the Lupine will do what First Lite says it will do - help a woman bowhunter go farther and stay longer in the woods.
Badlands Packs Goes Silent
As a longtime user and believer in their products, a stop at the Badlands Packs (www.badlandspacks.com) booth to visit with longtime pack guru Dominick Murphy never disappoints. The 2015 ATA Show was no different since Murphy showed off the company’s new Silent Series line - including the Reaper model - which features plenty of noise stopping innovation. From a soft interior to noise absorbing foam to silent yet secure hook-and-loop and magnetic closures (instead of noisy buckles and zippers), the Silent Series more than lives up to its name. Add in the rugged lightweight frame and a tough-as-nails hanging loop and this is a can’t-miss product selection for the whitetail bowhunter climbing up into a treestand next fall.
QALO Silicone Ring Booth A Busy Spot
One of the busier vendor booths at the 2015 ATA Show was the QALO booth (www.qalo.com) with its collection of various colored wedding rings. Wedding rings at a bowhunting tradeshow, you might ask? Yes, indicated company officials, including Tennessee Titans backup quarterback Jordan Palmer, the (big) little brother of NFL QB Carson Palmer. “After getting married we realized what a nuisance wearing our traditional wedding band was,” says the company in its literature. “While we love our wives and love being married, the reality was that our ring was getting in the way (literally) of our active lifestyle.” After hearing countless stories of wedding bands causing injury to workers in certain career fields, not being able to be worn by law enforcement and military members, of rings being stolen out of lockers and of rings being lost in the field and on the water, the QALO idea was born. Combining quality, athletics, love and the outdoors – the letters that make up the acronym QALO (pronounced KAY-LO) – the medical grade silicone wedding band became a reality. Meaning that outdoors types like Shane Dorian, a big wave surfer and a bowhunter, can wear a wedding band and not have it interfere with their outdoors pursuits. If last year’s sales – and this year’s traffic at the company’s ATA Show booth – are any indication of future growth, then QALO has hit a homerun.
Day Three Odds and Ends
The old saying goes that a picture is worth a 1,000 words. Judging by the volumes of photos taken – many of them “selfies” with various bowhunting celebrities – in the aisles of this year’s ATA Show, that idea would seem to be truer than ever.
In the old days of the ATA Show – say about 10 years ago – there were also plenty of photographs taken by those in attendance. But back then, such photos were a memento reminding of an encounter with a famous bowhunter like Chuck Adams or a television celebrity like Team Realtree’s Bill Jordan or David Blanton. But today, such photos are taken in ever increasing fashion for use on an individual’s or company’s social media platforms.
Speaking of social media – something that Fred Bear, the father of modern bowhunting likely never envisioned – there is little doubt that the phenomenon is a key way of conducting business in the archery and bowhunting world today. Case in point were the three different “Social Media Bootcamps” (introductory, intermediate and advanced offerings) that were conducted by the ATA Academy during the three days of the organization’s annual trade show.
While some of bowhunting’s older guard might bristle at the preponderance of celebrities that company’s use to hawk their products at the ATA Show, there is little doubt that the tactic works in drawing fans and potential buyers to a booth. One such example was the Skull Hooker booth where hunting’s current queen Eva Shockey signed autographs, posed for photos and talked hunting for more than an hour as a couple of hundred or more people stood in line.
How did vendors view this year’s show? Outdoor Channel show co-host Jordan Shipley, there as a television personality and as a member of a participating business vendor (Tecomate Seed Company) said from his vantage point, the show went well. “We had a really good show,” said Shipley. “It was definitely a thumb’s up experience for us as a business. And as a television show, from a sponsorship standpoint, I think we will do well from it.”
As Saturday’s third day of business wound down at the 2015 ATA Show, most in attendance were eager to get to the Indianapolis airport. But not necessarily for a ride home from the annual bowhunting show, mind you. In some cases, the journey to the airport was to make a quick get-away to Dallas for the looming NCAA national championship football playoff game at AT&T Stadium. Hoyt Archery pro-staffer and longtime mountain bowhunting guru Cameron Hanes – and Oregon native – was heading to Big D to root for the Ducks. Meanwhile, ScentLok representative Nick Andrews was headed to Jerry World to enthusiastically root on his beloved Ohio State Buckeyes.