Wrestling for Tradeshow Memories Vital to 'Raised Hunting' Family
Like other show hosts for Outdoor Channel and Sportsman Channel, there's plenty of business for David Holder to conduct at the annual ATA and SHOT tradeshow events, but with his entire family along for the ride, there's also an important dynamic in place for the 'Raised Hunting' crew each year
When I got home last year following the end of the annual industry tradeshow season, it didn't take me long to come up with my favorite moment.
A moment that stood out among all of the rest after a busy three week run of attending the ATA Show, the Dallas Safari Club show, a Sure-Shot Game Calls writer's hunt and finally, the SHOT Show out in Las Vegas.
What was my favorite moment amongst all of that traveling? Getting to emcee the first ever end-of-SHOT-Show arm wrestling championship staged between Raised Hunting host David Holder and his oldest son, Warren.
"Come on, old man," laughed Warren as the younger bull tried to take down the family's older monarch.
"Dad, come on," urged Easton, the youngest bull in the Holder clan, not wanting to see the fame and glory go to his older sibling. "Get him Dad, come on!"
"He's using two hands now," said the family patriarch David. "What's up with that?!?"
Ultimately, the first annual End of SHOT SHOW Raised Hunting Arm Wrestling Contest ended in a draw as others looked on in amusement deep within the voluminous Sands Expo Center.
But the family event also served as more fuel for the fire as David Holder, his wife, Karin, and the couple's two sons, Warren and Easton, continue to turn out their award-winning and increasingly popular show for Outdoor Channel.
All with the unique dynamic of being not only industry professionals filming a bowhunting show each year, but also being a husband, a wife and two sons living out their family bowhunting dreams in Iowa and all across the American West.
And that last thing – the family component – is the most special of all each year for David as his family heads into the so-called tradeshow season of the hunting industry.
"To go to the shows (ATA and SHOT) as a family, it's really special," said David. "It's also stressful because of what it takes to coordinate any type of family trip, let alone an industry business trip like this.
"But it's also enjoyable because we are doing what we love to do and that's promoting a culture and a heritage that we love," he added.
"Sure, it has been chastised by some people that are simply uneducated to the real meaning of hunting and the outdoors. But it's a vital part of our lives and we pour in so much hard work into it because we have so much we hope to accomplish and only one lifetime to do it in.
"More than anything though, we are together at these shows, and that means no matter what happens down the road, it will make a lasting memory for all of us."
Like the lasting memory of picking up a Best Videography / Camera Work award at Outdoor Channel's Golden Moose Awards during the 2015 SHOT Show in Las Vegas.
That was indeed a great memory for the Holder family, but not just because they walked onto the awards stage as rookie Golden Moose winners.
It also gave proof positive to their belief that it's possible to produce a family-oriented show that paints hunting in a positive light, all while maintaining high-production standards as a compelling story gets told.
It's the message that David Holder loves to bring to fans as he and his family sign autographs, pose for photos and listen to hunting stories at these various shows.
Because at the end of the day, the Holders are serious about their craft, the stories that they are telling and their desire to fuel the hunting passion and dreams of so many others across the nation.
While there is plenty of business to attend to at the annual ATA and SHOT tradeshows, there are plenty of good times and memories to be made for Karin Holder (left) and her oldest son, Warren. (Lynn Burkhead photo)
"I have always loved talking about hunting, but it's a much deeper conversation when someone says you inspired them or they found hope in a message you built and conveyed via the Outdoor Channel," he said.
"I guess I would have to say it's humbling and exciting all at the same time for us to have these conversations with fans. We view our family as just that, just a family, just like everyone else, but we are proud to hear from folks that say we are representing them ourselves and hunting the way it should be done. That means a lot to all of us."
It's especially true for dad Holder, who can't help but remember his humble roots a few years ago as a Montana fire fighter who loved to bowhunt, to take his wife and sons along and to film their adventures out in the wild.
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So what's changed the most in Holder's time at both the ATA Show and the SHOT Show? His answer might surprise you.
"I am not sure the shows have changed as much as we have," said David. "For me personally, I used to attend the ATA Show to work in the Primos booth and doing that work provided memories that I will appreciate and cherish forever."
Even if Holder felt like he was barely through the front door at times.
"I remember feeling like a dog with an invisible fence around the yard," he laughed. "I never left the black carpeting on the floor of the booth. I remember shaking hands with the celebrity folks attending the show and thanking them for what they were doing.
"Now I guess that I am on the other side of that conversation. I take humbly and with incredible honor that God is allowing me to be an advocate and ambassador for the culture and heritage that our family covets.
"It is a true honor to be a part of (these) events."
Even if it still means plenty of hard work for David and his family.
"Yeah, a typical day for us at (these shows) will start with us working out (early in the morning), leaving just enough time to shower and make it to our first 8:00 a.m. meeting," said Holder.
Working out? At a tradeshow hotel? Well, there's the second annual Raised Hunting arm wrestling championship looming, you know.
Once the show floor actually opens, then it's a march from one place to another for Holder and his crew.
"We tend to have (lots of) meetings back-to-back on the first couple of days," said Holder. "Then we try and find some time to spend eating dinner with some of the folks we consider close friends but that we don't get to see as often as we'd like."
Anybody in mind David?
"Yeah, friends like Lynn Burkhead and his boss, Jeff Phillips," he laughed. "By the last day, we're usually trying to slow down a bit and take time to check out the newest and greatest must have archery and hunting inventions."
That, and of course, winning the annual Raised Hunting arm wrestling title, right?
Certainly says David Holder.
"Really, (these shows) are extremely important to our family for many reasons," he said. First, they are the largest collection of people that live and breathe the same things that we do.
"And it's a great time for us to get to sit down face-to-face – which is a lost art anymore – with colleagues, friends and fans.
"Finally, it's really meaningful to us to see what new innovative products are coming out or how old products have been upgraded. We wouldn't miss it for the world."
Even if his son Warren is waiting impatiently in the wings, ready to take the family's patriarchal bull down in an epic arm wrestling match for the whole world to see.
At the end of the day, those are the memories that fuel the Holder clan, a family that continues to be Raised Hunting, even in the heart of downtown Las Vegas.