I’ve been fortunate enough to attend a number of industry trade shows over the years but the 2016 ATA Show in Louisville takes the cake for my favorite and most memorable yet.
My first “real job” out of college was doing sales and marketing for a solar company in Michigan. We attended 10-15 shows each year so I was no stranger to the circuit and quickly became involved in the world of conventions and travel. Although they were fun and it was great to meet people from all over the world, something felt empty. The solar industry was cool but at the end of the day, the people I was working with didn’t hold the same passions as me so I kind of felt lost. Suit and tie was the dress code of choice and I talked to people all day long who had never picked up a bow or even thought about hunting. I dreamt of being part of an organization that would align my career with my passion for bow hunting.
Fast forward to 2015, I started working for a company called QuietKat and immersed myself in an industry I truly loved. I get work with individuals who hold the same level of interest for hunting, archery and the great outdoors, which I believe is my one TRUE calling in life. One of the perks of being on the sales side of an organization is the opportunity to attend industry trade shows. This year I had the privilege of attending my first ever ATA show in Louisville, Kentucky and what an amazing experience it was!
For those of you who may not know, the ATA show is an opportunity for manufacturers, retailers and media professionals to come together and do all things archery related. For manufacturers, it is an opportunity to showcase their latest products, meet with existing and new customers, and to sell products for the upcoming year. Retailers visit the show to place orders, see the latest gear and attend seminars that cover a number of topics relating to the business side of archery. Last but not least, there are a number of TV personalities, bloggers and media people who document the event, meet fans and promote various products.
It Feels Good To Belong
If I had to give myself an assessment of whether I am an introvert or an extrovert, I would put myself into the category of an introvert. It’s hard to believe I am in sales but I have always struggled to make small talk with people and develop close relationships in other industries because my heart just wasn’t there. In this industry of archery and bowhunting, I am right where I need and want to be.
It is hard to describe what this show meant to me but just imagine your favorite hobby or interests and being surrounded with thousands of other individuals who are like minded. When you are with these individuals, you can share advice, stories and have a good time together. Like a reunion of life-long friends, its feels damn good to belong.
Although it was great meeting many new and existing customers for QuietKat, one of the coolest parts of the ATA show for me was getting to meet individuals in the industry who have inspired me over the years. As an avid bowhunter I have been reading articles, books and watching shows with names such as; The Drury’s, Michael Waddell, Cameron Hanes, Todd Graf, Jeff Sturgis, Adam Hays and many more. I was fortunate enough to meet all of these guys at the show and because of this, it has inspired me more than ever before to be a better bowhunter.
A Tight-Knit Community
I look forward to next years ATA show for many reasons but above all, I just can’t wait to talk archery with a passionate bunch of people for three days straight! I love the camaraderie between each individual in this industry and although the community may be small, our passion for archery and bowhunting is large. Thanks to everyone who welcomed me to this industry; I hope to be involved for many years to come.
These people of the ATA are not my colleagues, business partners or mere acquaintances; these people are now my friends. It is a brotherhood of which we all belong and share together. Take care, my friends and see you soon.