Major Pandemic Doesn’t Get Recognized at Ruger… or anywhere else
As a writer in the industry, going to SHOT is one of those things that balances a heavy load of dread, annoyance, and exhaustion with those the positive emotions of seeing a rare new idea and shaking the hands of those you like in the industry. Unfortunately, I generally do not head off to toward the Vegas based SHOT show each year skipping through the airport but instead can be found scuffing my feet muttering “this is going to kick my butt.”
|The KLAZ was a huge hit at show.|
This year you could not take two steps without running into someone with a Gemini competition sport shirt loaded with logos. I started wondering if there was anyone who is not competing. I think next year, I am going to just make up a shirt with a bunch of wacky sponsors like KY Jelly, MedlinePlus Catheters, Fox Run Fat Separators, Go Lightly, Trojan, & “Bob’s Proctology Shack - home of the 2 for 1 deal”. That will help me fit in a little better.
|Fab Defense speed reloading magazine.|
I go into the fray knowing that beyond some brand recognition of the Major Pandemic name and logo, I will slip through crowds unbothered. We do have some well known celebrities such as Ted Nugent and Jesse James. Then there is a big jump way down to the “D” list celebrities of firearms competitors and televisions “stars” who for the most part believe they are way more important and well known than they really are. Let's all take a couple reality pills here, there are only a few folks who would possibly recognize these firearms celebrities inside the industry and outside the industry these celebrities would get nothing more than a stern stare after telling someone “Don’t you know who I am?”
|The main hallway after the cattle call opening bell.|
Yeah lots a room, just like a subway
This brings me to the very entertaining Larry VIckers. Though I like to watch Larry Vickers and respect his background, one of the things that put me on the floor balled up in laughter was seeing Larry Vickers not getting “recognized” at the Ruger booth despite his valiant attempts - some polite, some… well not so much. Setting up an appointment and getting blown off is one thing, however showing up with an entire video crew in the middle of SHOT to do an impromptu video and attempting to effectively close off the Ruger booth from SHOT show traffic for 30 minutes is something all together impolite. Though not a dramatic “Reese Witherspoon” freak out drama which some might imagine, it was still freaking hilarious to watch a D List celebrity get a blank stare back from the Ruger folks. Of course a social media rant by Mr Vickers followed. See the full meltdown article here on Guns.com The only things more entertaining would have been seeing the long list of firearms celebs who were turned away from Wednesday's invite only Glock Customer Appreciation event and if Crisco and Fireclean would have booths next to each other. Come on guys lets not take ourselves so serious; we are just a bunch of rednecks with guns having fun. Right?
Meanwhile… can you believe that no one recognized me and asked for a autograph. I would rather be a ghost instead of getting stopped for autographs every two steps. Though my badge had a real name listed under Major Pandemic, most of my manufacturers mistakenly call me “Frank Underwood”, “Max Archer”, “Major” or “Pandemic” or “ohh you are that guy.. love your stuff”... that is how completely unfamous my face is. I have become a logo and a brand instead of a person in the eyes of manufacturers, so you can forget having to wait in line just to get an autograph and exchange witty banter.
|Something for later...after drinks.|
Ahh the stuff you see at SHOT that has nothing to do with firearms. I know, I know it "sounds" like a lot of fun to get the first hand look at the newest gear, but the reality is more like a commuter train experience of getting elbowed in the face every time you want to enter a booth with the certainty of returning home sick after shaking a plethora of unwashed hands and being sneezed on hundreds of times.
|Woven carbon fiber frond... very light.|
There is of course Vegas itself which is not my favorite city as a loyal non-gambling Christian husband of 20'ish year. I am not in my twenties and single, so most of the city is a 24x7 annoyance to me beyond the stellar food. I must profess I usually have a negative attitude about the SHOT, but I must go if I want to write about this insane industry.
The SHOW is massive with an enormous attendance second in size to the the big electronics and auto shows and this year’s traffic was freaking insane. This of course means that with two large main floors and usually five secondary show floor areas you literally have approximately thirty seconds at each booth if the intent is to spend time at every booth even if you stretch your time out over the five days. Unfortunately you have to omit and sprint past what could be some really amazing products just to have the time to spend on your "editorial focus areas".
|A typical isle at SHOT show.|
Yeah lots a room, just like a subway
The SHOT show is semi-organized meaning that you cannot walk down the suppressor, barrel, finishing, stock, case, and Bullet isles, but there are a few logical product groupings... sometimes. Thus, you can expect your poor FitBit to deliver your peak steps for the year - I did a little over 20 miles of walking in just two days.
Range Day is awash of people being muzzle swept. Add in the massive SHOT show crowds, physical exhaustion, and of course we have some entertainment value on the floor. Then it happens. You find that series of amazing products that you will cite as the most important innovation in the industry for the year and you shake some familiar hands which fill your sole enough to drudge through another few miles of the show. In some ways these little moments make up for the pains of travel, the rude crowds, the convention food, and throbbing feet, but the Vickers show was definitely my highlight. Thanks for the entertainment.