The culmination of a year’s worth of archery innovations and pop culture curiosity occupied a record-breaking 189,324 square feet of floor space at the 2013 Archery Trade Association’s (ATA) Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., Jan. 7-9. A total of 531 exhibitors – up 4 percent from last year – covered the Kentucky Exposition Center’s floor like a quilted blanket with hundreds of squares, each self-contained, yet unified as a whole.

And the whole? It was altogether intoxicating to the 2,988 dealers, distributors and buyers investing in the archery and bowhunting trade.

“This is a true selling show,” BowTech President Mark Pezzoni said. “After more than 20 years attending trade shows, I divide them into two categories: image shows and selling shows. The ATA Show is a great venue because I judge how we’re doing based on how many orders we write here.”

Bowtech revealed it’s new bow, the Experience, after the 2013 Show opened on Monday morning. Again, Bowtech resisted unveiling new product in the fall, but instead leveraged the ATA Trade Show’s big stage to make the introduction between product and buyer. Each year, more manufacturers are choosing to introduce new product at the ATA Trade Show.

“The sheer volume of new products at this show is impressive,” wrote Josh Sturgill of; while Petersen’s Bowhunting reported Show products followed a common trend, “first and foremost, 2013 is about lighter, faster and stronger.”

“What I appreciate about our show is its ability to stay true to who we are – archery and bowhunting – but to achieve great diversity within our niche,” said Jay McAninch, ATA CEO/President. “While our companies are unified as an industry and collaborate in our mission to grow archery, each company and archery shop is unique and, collectively, they provide a local twist in selling a myriad of products. The Trade Show is a venue designed for business and order writing, but it’s also a venue that embraces innovative promotions and marketing, a broad array of lines related to all facets of bowhunting and all of this is mixed in with a creative, spontaneous flare that is punctuated by new ideas. The fact the industry growth trend continues is not at all a surprise to show attendees.”

This year, the show introduced the first annual V.I.P. (Very Innovative Products) ATA Runway Show at Robinson Outdoor Products’ booth, a fashion runway featuring outdoor celebs modeling hunting gear and product on the red carpet.

There was also a renewed buzz surrounding traditional and competitive archery, likely due to archery’s “pop culture moment” thanks to the 2012 Summer Olympics and blockbuster movies like Hunger Games and Brave.

“We’re looking to get into traditional archery more, so we signed up with Bear Archery for their traditional line,” said Chip Johnson of Jefferson Archery in Jefferson, Md. “That’s new for us.”

The 2013 ATA Trade Show welcomed archery and bowhunting professionals from around the world, including attendees of the annual ARRO Hot Show, held onsite prior to the ATA Show open, the NABA buying group and key dealers from NBS and Sports Inc.

“This is the first year we’ve done the ATA Show since we’ve been in the camo business, and we actually created a lot of buzz here,” said Rusty Sellars, president/CEO, True Timber Outdoors. “(There was) a lot of dealer interest. We were able to meet with Cabela’s and and Scheels. The ATA is doing a great job running it and I hope they don’t change anything.”

Outtech continued its tradition of kicking off the show with Innovations XV event on Sunday evening. The capacity crowd of archery dealers and exhibitors welcomed the silver-medal-winning Olympic archery men’s team of Brady Ellison, Jake Kaminski and Jacob Wukie to the stage.

For the third year in a row, the first night of the Beer & Gear Exchange included the Hudalla Customer Appreciation event and the Can Cooker Celebrity Cook off. Both of these events drew elbow-to-elbow crowds and both have become staples of Day One’s popular, afterhours gathering spot. The second night of the Beer and Gear in Louisville featured a new sponsor; Weston, who orchestrated a jerky and sausage food sampling for Show goers hanging out after the Show floor closed.

And, while afterhours were dedicated to food, cold beverages and lighthearted camaraderie, the mornings were dedicated to education, new ideas and concepts at Archery Trade Academy, the Show’s seminar series.

The ATA Trade Show is owned and operated by the Archery Trade Association. The next ATA Show for archery and bowhunting industry professionals will be in Nashville, Tenn., Jan. 6-8, 2014.

Logo courtesy Archery Trade Association

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