Working the show:
As this is my first SHOT Show I worked TUFF Product’s booth, one of my sponsors. Ms. Nanci said it was part of the deal with me attending SHOT. I feel like it not only was a matter of trying to get the full SHOT experience in, but also a matter of paying my dues and giving back to a company that has done so much for me. In the four hours a day that I did work (8-12pm/ daily) it seemed every day at the booth something awesome would happen.
Whether that was totally selling a group of LEOs on TUFF’s “Quick Hook” set for their departments duty gear, or having some friends/ fans stop by to say hi, or striking up a conversation with someone I had no business talking to (I was in the company of many industry giants), awesomeness was bound to happen daily from 8-12pm at Booth #14578.
Walking the floor:
Let me preface this with OMG!!
The floor was chaos, all of it was just straight chaos. Bumping and pushing and squirming just trying to walk ten meters to the next booth. In the beginning I was like “excuse me, sorry, pardon me” but by the last day I just moved through like water, and if I hit the rapids, there was no remorse, it was every man for himself and I WILL make it through the sea of cargo pants and roller carts.
Then there’s the maze factor. Every day I got lost at least 5 times and sort of just wandered until I found a landmark. I don’t know how I survived the trips to the bathroom, but I did. (SHOT Show advice… never wait to go pee because it may be a 5 min run in good conditions but it’ll be a 20 min ordeal if the floor is packed!) It wasn’t until Thursday evening/Friday morning that I sort of got the hang of it and knew enough landmarks and pathways to find my way around.
If it weren’t for the massive signs hanging over some of the booths I would’ve lost my ever-loving mind trying to get back to home base at the TUFF Products booth. But all things considered walking the floor was super fun. That’s where I did majority of my networking and people meeting. The floor is where I got to see cool products, and meet cool people, and introduce myself to my sponsors and industry folks.
The floor is where I got to experience the majority of SHOT so my time there cannot be underestimated. The floor is where my shopping list began and where my “loose cash” ended lol.
The night life…
Oh yes, the night life. Dad said this would be a SHOT to remember because I was going to get the full experience (minus the Booze, Brews and B***s) and he wasn’t kidding. Hands down one of the best parts about my SHOT Show was the late nights and the parties. Starting on Monday night we hung out with some family/friends Mr. Pete and Ms. April.
I wouldn’t have wanted to start off my week any other way because they are definitely family. We started on the strip with the Shake Shack, moved on to a small party with the old friends from Hill People Gear, and finished it out at the Leatherneck Club for one of the larger Pre-SHOT parties (as far as I know). All the while laughing and joking and just having a ball. Big thanks to Ghost for giving me the nod to attend. His house, his rules but my fun meeting all sorts of folks in person as well as hanging with old friends like Doug and Nina Holloway from ATEI and my buddy Jared Reston.
Now the official day one of SHOT Show (Tues), I went to the Landing Zone Party. One of my sponsors, GAT Marketing (who are super awesome peeps and give me the opportunity to write these wonderful articles for you all) was a main sponsor for the event and got me in to be a participant (aka Staff).
Well awesome doesn’t even begin to describe this party, and you must know by now how much I love the word awesome lol. I got to shoot some Agency & Nighthawk pistols and some sick shotguns, along with a bunch of full auto rifle time with Aero Precision.
I got to check out the new Cloud Defensive OWL (game changing awesome… this 15 year old REALLY needs one on my Tac rifle), as well as some suppressed guns (now when you mix suppressors, OWL and full auto awesomeness together you get something else completely). To top it all of I bought a Phlster flat pack (which I now use daily), received a kydex holster for hand sanitizer (which is a trade show must have), oh yea and got to watch a simulated Viet Cong Village get blown to pieces with explosives and shot up by two helicopter gunships and a HMMWV mounted mini gun. So definitely beyond awesome. (Plus I got to tell Will Petty his best Mom Joke of SHOT… so, WINNING!)
My third night in Vegas was the Primary And Secondary- Meet & Greet and skipping over the fact that I got kicked out of a bar (oops) it was great to see some guys for that first hour or so (yea I got an hour into it before they shamed me and asked for an ID). Even with the boot, this was a lot of fun with some great folks, short lived as it may have been.
Our last night in Vegas (Thursday) was the Danger Zone Party (“Dangerrrrr Zooone” in the best Archer voice you can imagine!) While there were no explosions or helicopters or gunfire, there was instead a bunch of amazing people coming together for an amazing cause. The socializing and laughter that rocked the walls of the suite at the Venetian peaked when the auction started.
It was so cool to be part of this event, an awesome auction that raised over $11,000 dollars for the Brian Terry Foundation. Hanging with war fighters, gun fighter, trainers, corporate peeps, cops/feds, innovators and industry studs… I partied hard on Ginger Ale and Banana Crack (best banana bread ever) till 0300 and it was the best! (Though I will admit that my Friday morning was pretty horrible… Soooo tired!) The best part of the night was hanging out with old friends and making new ones, talking shop and smack with dudes like Mr. Trek, Joe W from Alliance, Mr. Michael from RCS, Chuck P/ Ms. Mary and Misha (my favorite industry Pupper), Mr. Matt from VF and of course my favorite ATEI couple, the Holloways.
It was a great week spent doing cool things with fantastic people. That’s the easiest and shortest way of saying it and if I could do it all over again I wouldn’t change a thing, because it was one of the single best weeks of my life. My mom Lana is awesome for giving Dad and I the nod to go. Dad is freakin’ super awesome for setting things up, making things happen and ensuring the week was what it was. Ms. Nanci and Mr. Nat… I have no words other than THANK YOU! And lastly, Steve Fisher and Charles Anderson… you dudes rock!
P.S. Airport boot shine is awesome. Checked that one off the Bucket List on our way home!
That’s all for now, this has been a long read so make sure you hydrate!
Your Friend, Jase
P.P.S. Next up on my list of excellent adventures is Shooters Symposium… Year 2 and I have high hopes it will be even more awesome than the Inaugural (which will honestly be hard to do because year 1 was that awesome!)
P.P.P.S. Don’t forget to stop by and purchase one of my amazing shirts… their sales buy ammo and airplane tickets (so buy x2!). https://www.bonfire.com/results/Jasewinner