I assume the first thing you’d think to yourself when reading this title is “what’s this story going to be about?” As a veteran hunter and outdoorsman, I’d be asking myself the same thing.
This year I was blessed with a wonderful opportunity to visit the 2012 ATA Show in Columbus, Ohio. I was like a kid in a toy store with my mind spinning in what seemed like twenty different directions. As I looked at all the new archery equipment in front of me, I didn’t know where to begin. I was getting front-row access to all the new bows, arrows, broadheads, tree stands, camo, and so much more. And to think, when I started hunting, there were only a few bow companies out there, some of which have fallen by the wayside, and the recurve bow was king. Fiberglass arrows were just coming into play and only the elite competition shooters were privileged to shoot aluminum. Yes, those were the days; bow sights were simple, arrow rests were no more than something resembling a brown toothbrush, and we even made our own bow strings. Camo was often bought at an Army Surplus Store .
But there I was, standing just inside the main doors, gazing at over 200,000 square feet of archery eye candy. It was like an archery catalog laid out before me, but this time no turning pages and looking at pictures… this was for real. If you wanted to look at a never-before-seen 2012 bow…go ahead, you can even shoot it! Yes, everything imaginable in the realm of archery related equipment was there to check out. What was equally exciting was that TV celebrities from my favorite hunting shows were there too. The best way I can explain it without naming them all is that it was like Oscar Night in Hollywood. But instead of the normal red carpet, theirs was camouflage, and instead of movie stars, there were the biggest names in the hunting industry, as well as a country music singer and a NASCAR driver.
The ATA Show is not available to the public, so the only way to get into this candy store is by being a retailer buying inventory or as a media member. Outdoor Hub invited me to attend this year’s show as a media member, but with 1,600 miles to travel during month of January, I feared it might not happen. However, being a ‘mild winter’ and with my tags all filled, I got to go. And all because there was no snow to snarl traffic, no snow to keep me home behind a snowblower for hours and no snow that would make me wish that it was gone so I could do something to get ready for this year’s archery season, I went and did something. I went to the 2012 ATA. And, God willing, I’ll be there in 2013.
This year, the archery industry is going to see some terrific products from manufacturers both old and new. Being able to preview these products early makes me one lucky guy, but if there’s one thing I can say about this adventure, it would be that a ‘ mild winter’ gave me an opportunity to see just how far the archery industry had come in the last 45 years.