More than 200 exhibitors withdraw from PA outdoor show after organizer bans modern sporting rifles
OutdoorLife.com is reporting that, by mid-day on Jan. 23, more than 200 exhibitors -- and counting -- had withdrawn from the Eastern Sports and Outdoors Show, Pennsylvania's largest annual outdoor sports show, following event organizer Reed Exhibitions' decision to ban the display and sale of modern sporting rifles and standard-capacity magazines.
[UPDATE: Show "postponed"]
From the article:
The nine-day show is scheduled to open Feb. 2 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg.
The ESOS's website says Reed "strongly supports the 2nd Amendment" but negative attention on such weapons "would distract from the strong focus on hunting and fishing at this family-oriented event and possibly disrupt the broader positive experience of our guests."
Unfortunately for Reed, there may not be much at the show for guests to "experience" with the departure of many prominent exhibitors and vendors.
Among the departed: The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Cabela's, Inc., the National Wild Turkey Federation, the National Rifle Association, Smith & Wesson, and many local vendors, such as Kinsey's Outdoors of Mount Joy, Lancaster Archery Supply, and Trop Gun Shop of Elizabethtown.
The Montana-based Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation canceled its exhibit and its management of the show's elk-calling contest before issuing a statement calling actions taken by Reed, a British company: "detrimental to the Second Amendment and our right as Americans to bear arms."
"We urge Reed Exhibitions to reconsider its policies to avoid a divisive and political atmosphere," the statement continues, "so RMEF can take part in an event that generates needed revenue for important on-the-ground conservation and hunting heritage projects in the region."
Cabela's said on its Facebook page on Jan. 19 that after considering Reed's decision "and the feelings of our customers, Cabela's will, unfortunately, not have a presence at the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show."
The NRA issued a statement calling upon Reed to reconsider. "Unfortunately they have steadfastly refused to do so," the NRA statement reads. "Due to Reed Exhibitions' refusal to reconsider their decision to ban modern sporting rifles from the (show), the National Rifle Association has decided to withdraw from the show."
For updated listings of exhibitors, vendors and manufacturers who will not be attending the show, go to http://mynortheastoutdoors.com.
Following is a press release from Ohio's TenPoint/Wicked Ridge Crossbows, which has also withdrawn from the show:
Mogadore, OH – TenPoint Crossbow Technologies' Chairman and CEO, Rick Bednar, expressing his company's steadfast disagreement with the decision of the Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show management to prohibit the display and sale of Modern Sporting Rifles at its 2013 Harrisburg, PA event, has decided to remove TenPoint's display from the upcoming February 2-10 show.
"We are taking this action to stand in solidarity with many other shooting and outdoor sporting goods manufacturers in support of the guarantees expressed in the 2nd Amendment to our Constitution," Bednar said. "We regret having to make this decision because we have supported this great consumer event nearly every year since our inception in 1994. It is unfortunate, but I believe we must take this position as a matter of principle."
To underscore his decision, Bednar has also decided to purchase lifetime NRA memberships for all TenPoint employees who wish to have one. "The NRA, more than any other entity, has led the effort to protect of our right to own and bear arms,” Bednar said. "The best way to support their effort is to grow the ranks of their membership."
"The NRA mission, however, encompasses greater goals than simply protecting our right to bear arms," Bednar continued. "Before we opened our doors for business, we crafted a Corporate Statement that guides our decision making process, and we think it is compatible with the NRA's larger view. In part, this Statement has motivated us to support their efforts. Its last sentence states that, '...we are committed to the care and conservation of our land, water and air; to the humane and responsible management of our wildlife and to the preservation and expansion of recreational shooting and hunting.' We believe the NRA shares a similar view."
A note from Larry S. Moore:
Readers may recognize me as a Region Leader for Buckeye Firearms Association. I am an Endowment NRA Member. I am also a member of the Pro-Staff team for TenPoint/Wicked Ridge Crossbows. I couldn't be prouder to be associated with Ten Point/Wicked Ridge than I am at this moment. It is wonderful when members of the hunting and shooting sports understand that when one group, one segment or one type of firearm is under attack - then we are all under attack.
I join Rick Coe, Regional Sales Manager, in congratulating Mr. Rick Bednar, Chairman and CEO, for his statement and position to withdraw from the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show located in Harrisburg, PA. But Mr. Bednar didn't stop there. He is also offering free Life Membership in the NRA to TenPoint/Wicked Ridge employees who wish to have a membership.
Rick Coe, Regional Sale Manager, said in an email to Pro-Staff team members," Although I am very disappointed with the position that Reed Exhibition has taken on legal and ethical weapons, it is overwhelming to see how most of the industry leaders and outdoor enthusiast have banned together in this boycott and attack on our 2nd amendment rights."
The type of unity and leadership demonstrated by TenPoint/Wicked Ridge management is critical to the defense of freedom, defense of the Second Amendment, and the future ability to engage in the lawful use of all arms for hunting, shooting and self-defense.