First Major 2021 Trade Show Cancels Due to COVID

The pandemic of 2020 has caused the cancelation of a lot of events in the hunting community. Many hunting and fishing areas were closed and one state even banned recreational fishing.

Now those cancelations are starting to creep into 2021 when the Archery Trade Association announced the cancelation of its annual show in Indianapolis that was planned to take place Jan. 7-9, 2021.

In a press release on the association’s website, the association stated that they hold the show to such a high standard that with all the COVID restrictions in place they felt they could not deliver on an in-person show.

“Our goal is to deliver a first-class event that helps the archery and bowhunting industry succeed, while keeping health and safety as a top priority, and we share your disappointment over the outcome of this year’s Show. We would like to express our thanks and gratitude to all ATA members who booked booth space and registered to attend the Show through these unprecedented times. Your passion for this industry is evident.”

The association is looking to hold virtual events and members should watch their emails for details.

Three members of the board weighed in on their decision.

Mark Copeland, chairman of the Board and store director of Jay’s Sporting Goods, said: “This was a very difficult decision to make, but as a father and a small business owner, we need to look out for the health and safety of our members’ staff and their families. At some point, you have to ask yourself, ‘What’s the long-term impact of a Show with less than 50% attendees and vendors?’ It’s the Board of Directors’ responsibility to look out for the industry, and as painful as this decision was to make, I believe it’s the right one.”

Jeff Adee, co-chair of the ATA Board of Directors and president of Headhunter Bow Strings, had similar thoughts. “We have members that have lost loved ones and employees to COVID-19,” he said. “It’s imperative that we keep all our members safe, and canceling the Show is the right thing to do. We also know the past six months have challenged our members in new ways. As such, taking care of their hard-earned money is more crucial than ever. The Show is a significant expense and many exhibitors are faced with a tough decision to attend during these difficult times, especially without knowing what the next 90 days look like. Therefore, the value of the Show would greatly diminish for all those involved.”

Additionally, James McGovern, co-chair of the Board of Directors and owner and marketing director of Rinehart Targets, said: “When I look to 2022, I know that we can continue to host an event that the industry is proud of. For me, that is what drove this decision. It came down to the continued viability of the ATA to serve the industry. I know that the ATA leadership team can navigate the organization to 2022 and I believe that we can host as great an event as you have come to expect. What I didn’t know was what would the ATA show look like in 2022 if we hosted an event in 2021 that did not live up to the standards our industry has come to know and appreciate. Canceling the show was difficult, but knowing that this was the right decision is not.”

The ATA Show is the largest archery trade show in the country and is attended by thousands of people each year.

SHOT Show the largest Hunting and Shooting expo in the world is still scheduled to take place in Las Vegas, January 19-22, 2021.