January 20, 2010
The Bow Show Goes Viral
By Scott Bestul
OK. So it’s supposed to be an eye-catching headline. But all it means is this; country boy (me) goes to archery show crammed with people (the Archery Trade Association’s annual show) and gets whopped with flu bug. Returned last weekend and have been flat on my back since. For those who’ve been looking for fresh material here, I apologize for my tardy return.
Generally, I thought the ATA show was good, and the organization’s own stats seem to bear this out. There were 478 exhibitors (25 more than last year), including 90 first-timers and 24 start-up companies. CEO Jay McAninch called the mood at the show—held in Columbus, Ohio Jan 13-15—“the most upbeat” he’d seen in his 10 years with the organization. ATA’s post-show press release stated they hoped the robust show was sign that “the bowhunting industry is cautiously optimistic about 2010.” Hope they’re right.
I’m not much of a crowd person (see paragraph one), but I enjoy attending this show every year to catch up with old friends, look for interesting/innovative new items, and keep track of trends. I’ll use the next couple of posts to tell you what I saw, especially in the last category.
One trend that has been growing for the last couple of years is the popularity of ladder stands. As a long-time hang-and-hunt guy, I was dismissive of this movement at first, but after last-year’s show—and having hunted from more ladders—I could no longer stick my head in the sand. Ladders are not only here to stay, but they’re getting better and better. Frankly, I’m tickled to see it.
I’ve long admired Gorilla for their commitment to making safe, effective and affordable products. Pictured here is their new King Kong Expedition Ladder Stand, a comfy two-seater (another trend, by the way) that’s perfect for hunting with a kid or spouse. Its 15’ to the seat, attaches to the tree with four ratchet straps, weighs 80 pounds, and sports welded steel construction. And one of my favorite features of all Gorilla stands? Nylon washers at every bolted connection. There’s no metal-to-metal contact here folks, just a solid, comfortable stand that won’t squeak even when it gets cold. I like it...a lot.