Within the hunting industry, the month of January is simply known as show season.
The reason why is easy enough to see when one looks at the calendar and sees the annual ATA (Archery Trade Association) Show and the SHOT (Shooting, Hunting and Outdoors Trade) Show take place within a couple of week’s time.
Such a crowded schedule after the Christmas and New Year’s Day holiday period means Outdoor Channel show hosts, like Ralph and Vicki Cianciarulo, must rush to complete any last-minute filming they must do on late-season hunts.
Not to mention tidying up and completing business deals, arrangements and sponsorships for the coming year.
But tight and conflicting schedules or not, show season is a must for anyone in the hunting industry, said a smiling Ralph.
“The big thing is that it’s a major connection for everybody,” he said of the importance of the annual trade show cycle.
While the ATA Show has always been important for the couple’s original show – Archer’s Choice with Ralph and Vicki – Ralph notes that the SHOT Show is equally important, if not more so, for the couple’s other show, The Choice with Ralph and Vicki.
And given Ralph and Vicki’s message has steadily been it’s about the sport and pastime of hunting more so than the weapon one chooses to use, then it makes perfect sense to see the two smiling as they make their way through the crowded SHOT Show floor aisles.
“When you look at what our message has been forever, it’s all about a family (of hunters),” said Ralph.
He then noted: “When it’s all about the great outdoor experience, then we all win.”
And that includes rifle hunters, shotgun hunters, muzzleloader hunters, compound bowhunters, traditional bowhunters and crossbow hunters.
Ralph notes in addition to business end of the SHOT Show, he and his wife are just like everyone else in attendance.
Meaning that they like to see what’s new, even if it’s from a part of the industry that they aren’t entirely familiar with.
“You know where we go wow?” queried Ralph. “It’s in the tactical stuff. It’s pretty cool because it’s not something that we do, but when you walk in there and see some of the stuff that’s out there, you’re like ‘Oh my gosh, I saw something like that in the movies!’”
But as they walk the show floor aisles, Ralph admits that seeing all of the hunting gear – and the big headbones of white-tailed deer, elk and other critters – does remind him that hunting seasons are coming to an end for another year.
And that sometimes makes him wish that show season was in February rather than in the first month of the year.
“Yeah, it does, no lie about it,” he said. “It really does. All of us – any hunter – loves to extend it to that last day. And a lot of times (during show season), we’re getting cut short. And when you get cut short, you’re like ‘Man, I wish I had a few more days!’
“But we’ve got to be here and we aren’t complaining,” he added with a smile. “But I’ve got to admit that me, that Vicki, that every producer out there, wishes that this was after all the seasons (are over).
“But, what are you going to do?” he added with a smile.
As Ralph allowed me to finish up my interview, several fans stopped by to shake his hand, gain an autograph and snap a selfie photo with the hunting couple.
“We love seeing the people,” smiled Ralph. “If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do.
“We thank God every day for it (all).”
Even in the crowded show season of January.