Pennsylvania’s Eastern Sports and Outdoors Show, known as the Harrisburg Show, is one of the largest hunting- and fishing-related expos in the East.
It won’t be as large this year.
Exhibitors and speakers are pulling out by the dozens — the list stands at 200-plus and counting — in protest of the show promoter’s decision to not allow the display of AR-style rifles and accessories at this year’s show.
Scheduled for Feb. 2-10, the show was set to have about 1,200 exhibitors.
Show organizers recently announced “not to include certain products that in the current climate may attract negative attention that would distract from the strong focus on hunting and fishing.”
Show organizers said the move affected just a handful of exhibitors who planned to have tactical firearms and accessories in their booths, but the move produced an immediate and vast show of solidarity.
The list of those pulling out includes retail giant Cabela’s, the NRA, celebrities such as Lee and Tiffany Lakosky, and even Olympic gold medal shooter Jamie Gray (picture here). Many of those pulling out are not directly connected to the firearms industry and shooting sports.
Even as the list grows, Reed Exhibitions is sticking by its decision, which was prompted by the negative attention being heaped on AR-style firearms in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy.
Reed is finding out that taking a political stance — and that’s what this is — can come with a hefty price tag.
I do feel for the exhibitors who count on this show for business. Those who stay risk being vilified, and will likely get less business as a result of reduced attendance. Meanwhile, while those who bailed or will bail must now scramble to find other means to reach potential customers.