2023 ATA Trade Show Recap

While the world still isn’t back to “normal” due to a lingering pandemic, attendees and exhibitors once again met face to face at the annual ATA Trade Show to see the latest and greatest hunting and archery gear.

2023 ATA Trade Show Recap

I’m sitting down to write this recap only a couple days after returning from the 2023 ATA Trade Show. And I’d be withholding information if I didn’t tell you I’m currently battling Covid for the first time. While I wore the “super-dodger” label as a badge of honor, the damn virus finally caught up to me. Where, when and how? I have no idea. I might have caught it while traveling to central Louisiana on a 2-day whitetail hunt the week before the ATA Show. I might have caught it while I was home a few days in between my deer hunt and the Show.

I mention my health status simply as proof that the world still isn’t back to “normal” since spring 2020 when we all learned about Covid 19. As you’ll recall, the 2021 ATA Show was held virtually only; that year, the in-person Show was cancelled due to the pandemic. Here’s the first paragraph from my 2022 ATA Show Recap that appeared in this magazine exactly a year ago:

“I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t sure if the 2022 ATA Trade Show in Louisville, Kentucky, would really happen until I stepped onto the Show floor the morning of January 7 to prep our Grand View Outdoors booth for attendees. Twenty minutes later, when the gates opened at 8:30 a.m. (EST), buyers from around the country entered the Kentucky Exposition Center. Was it a massive crowd? No. But it was a step in the right direction — a step toward getting back to normal (remember normal?) as an industry.”

In addition to the pandemic, the 2022 ATA Show was a victim of bad weather, too. A winter storm hit the Louisville, Kentucky, area on January 6, when many dealers were attempting to drive or fly to the Show. Numbers for the 2022 Show were down from the 2020 Show, but as I wrote in my recap from a year ago, it wasn’t as bad as everyone feared.

By the Numbers

In January 2020 (pre-pandemic in America), which was the last year for an in-person Show (Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, Indiana), 591 exhibitors were present, and they were visited by 8,557 attendees. The 2020 Show was also the first one with the all-new Buyer Day. According to ATA staff, the 2022 Show featured 450 exhibitors and drew 4,302 attendees (548 retail accounts).

So how do these numbers compare to the 2023 ATA Trade Show? According to ATA staff, the 2023 Show featured 466 exhibitors and drew nearly 5,300 attendees (about 650 retail accounts). In other words, comparing 2022 to 2023, the number of exhibitors went up slightly, while individual attendance increased by about 1,000, and retail accounts increased by about 100.

Feedback From the Floor

During the 2023 ATA Show (January 11-13), attendees and exhibitors were pleased with the event. Like me, do most of them miss the packed aisles of pre-pandemic Shows? Certainly. But as an industry, we’re heading in the right direction.

ATA President and CEO Jeff Poole said, “The face-to-face opportunity to conduct business and reinforce relationships is what makes the ATA Show such an important event. Seeing the new product releases and the latest innovations created excitement and helped set the tone for the whole Show.”

Several ATA members shared Poole’s opinion.

“We’ve had a great Show,” said Parrish Elliott, vice president of product development at Deception Scents. “It’s always great to get out and meet new people, and see what else is out there besides what we bring. The Show atmosphere was great, and we had great interactions with buyers, as well as a steady stream of orders. This Show is where you make lifelong friends, and we’re ready to do it all again next year.”

Butch Thomas, sales manager for Morrell Targets, has been attending the Show since 1994 and said the 2023 Show was incredible: “The largest sales order I’ve ever taken happened this year at the 2023 ATA Show, and I had the most dealers in my booth at one time that I’ve ever seen in my life. We’ve been slammed, and we’re really blessed as a company. The industry is such a large network but yet it feels like family. I remember how excited I was to attend my first ATA Show and I’m just as excited 29 years later. We’re grateful and thankful for the ATA for putting on the event. There’s nothing like it.”

A first-time Show attendee Cody Mexicano is an archery technician at Hit or Miss Archery Center in New Mexico. He now understands why everyone comes back and speaks highly of the ATA Show: “The Show is everything I expected and more. I love it. My favorite part is finally meeting some of the manufactures that I deal with regularly and putting faces to names of the people I talked to on the phone. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with everything here but being here makes doing business easier.”

FeraDyne Outdoors President and CEO Todd Seyfert had this to say: “I’m really excited about being back in Indianapolis, face to face with our dealers. The attendance has been phenomenal. The mood has been very good. Leaving the last 2 years of what has been going on in the world, the mood here is looking forward.”


Final Thoughts

I wasn’t the only member of the Grand View Outdoors staff at the 2023 ATA Show to gather valuable information from manufacturers and retailers. What our team learned will appear throughout the 2023 calendar year in the pages of Archery Business magazine, as well as on this website.


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