Reed's Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show Replaced with NRA-backed Event in Pennsylvania

April 15, 2013

Reed Exhibitions’ decision to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines at its Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show, which eventually led to the show’s cancellation earlier this year, has continued to have ramifications with the facility where the show was held opting to replace it in the schedule.

The National Rifle Association’s Great American Outdoor Show now will run in that time slot, Feb 1-9 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center in Harrisburg, Penn.

“The NRA's deep-rooted heritage in the outdoor lifestyle makes this partnership a perfect fit," said David Keene, National Rifle Association president.

He added ,"Exhibiting in 50 sport shows annually, uniquely positions NRA to deliver a great experience forward to expanding this event by inviting national firearm manufacturers to join over 1,000 hunting, fishing, and camping related vendors as well as outfitters from around the world."

The nine-day event is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of visitors for shooting,  hunting, fishing, camping and boating exhibits, plus seminars, demonstrations, and evening entertainment.

“We look forward to expanding this event by inviting national firearm manufacturers to join over 1,000 hunting, fishing and camping-related vendors, as well as outfitters from around the world,” Keene said.

After Reed’s decision to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines at its show, several high-profile exhibitors, including Cabela’s, backed out of the show.

Cabela’s Facebook page had the following statement: “Due to recent changes made by Reed Exhibitions regarding the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show, Cabela’s will no longer sponsor this year’s event.”

In addition, the NRA and the National Sports Shooting Foundation, which owns the Reed-managed SHOT Show, also expressed displeasure about the ban.

NSSF officials said at the time; “Because of Reed’s recent actions, NSSF is considering all options regarding the management of future SHOT Shows.”

Chet Burchett, president of Reed’s U.S. division, said at the time: “It is unfortunate that in the current emotionally charged atmosphere this celebratory event has become overshadowed by a decision that directly affected a small percentage of more than 1,000 exhibits showcasing products and services for those interested in hunting and fishing.”

He also said of the original ban decision: “We felt that the presence of MSRs would distract from the theme of hunting and fishing, disrupting the broader experience of our guests. This was intended simply as a product decision, of the type event organizers need to make every day.”

Even though the new show is backed by the NRA, it is open to anyone who enjoys the outdoor lifestyle, organizers said.

“We’re eager to welcome outdoor enthusiasts, families and NRA members from across the country to enjoy all that Central Pennsylvania has to offer,” said Jeff Haste, chairman, Dauphin Board of Commissioners.

He added, “This show will have a tremendous positive impact on the local economy, particularly for retailers, hotels, restaurants and other businesses. We couldn’t be more excited for the upcoming show in February.”

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