Utah Losing Another Outdoor Trade Show from Public Lands Stance

February 23, 2017

One week after Emerald Expositions announced it would not be considering Utah to keep its Outdoor Retailer shows in when the contract runs out, officials from another show – the North American Handmade Bicycle Show – said they would no longer hold their event in the state.

Both shows, along with Emerald’s Interbike show that also took Utah off its list as a possible new home, are leaving in protest of Utah Gov. Gary Herbert’s attempts to undo federal protections of Bears Ears National Monument.

The North American Handmade Bicycle Show is scheduled to run March 10-12 at the Salt Palace Convention Center.

Don Walker, founder of NAHBS, said it was too late to pull the March show, however, the future is another matter.

“When we were negotiating the show, Gov. Herbert hadn’t begun his assault on public lands,” Walker said.

He added, “His agenda for the state of Utah has the ability to curtail the recreation of our exhibitors and their customers. If not for signed contracts, booked airfares, hotels and the builders depending on the show taking place, we too would be relocating.”

Walker said they would not consider Utah as a future site for its show unless “serious changes are made by government officials.”

After a call with Gov. Herbert last week in which he reiterated his stance on the public lands, Outdoor Retailer officials said they would not bring their biannual shows back to Salt Lake City – its home of 20 years – after November 2018.

“We are doing the work necessary to procure an alternative location for Outdoor Retailer,” said Marisa Nicholson, show director for Outdoor Retailer.

She added, “Though we may wish it different, this is far from a snap of the fingers thing to make happen. Convention centers and hotels are not sitting idle. In every instance at every potential venue, there are hurdles that have to be cleared and that simply cannot be done overnight.”

Nicholson said the proposal process would likely take 60-90 days.

There are several locales that have stepped forward and thrown their hat in the ring to host the show, including Denver, Portland and Montana, to name a few.

The biannual Outdoor Retailer shows, which draw nearly 30,000 attendees each and span more than 500,000 net square feet and has been held in Salt Lake since 1996, brings in $40 million annually to Salt Lake City and the surrounding area.

Officials from Visit Salt Lake, the city’s convention and visitors bureau, did not respond to request for comment as of press time. The article will be updated if comments are given.

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