In the weeks leading up to SHOT I was anxious about approaching people since I primarily work in the shipping department. Shipping is pretty relaxed and I don’t correspond with too many different people, so I knew I had to find my bearings and create a great way to sell our products. Industry Day turned out to be a perfect fit for my dilemma. I was able to create a baseline for FAQs while also soaking up some of the Nevada sun.

Jennifer, Katie Lynn, and I went out on Sunday afternoon to set up a few items to prep for Industry Day. As always, we had a great time. After setting up at the range, we decided to check out the Hoover Dam. I think the memorials built to honor the workers were beautiful, and the dam itself was awesome. I’ve heard that concrete can take years and years to cure, so I imagine that some of the concrete in the dam is still curing.

On Monday our Industry Day group met up at 5 a.m., and after coffee we headed out to the range. Industry Day was about what I had expected – we were at a range with guns upon guns and everyone (manufacturers, media, & business owners) had some kind of grin on their face. It proves my theory that it is impossible to be sad at a range. The range officers seemed to be having a good time there too. They weren’t as intimidating as I thought they might be.

Our range lane was underneath this lean-to, so it was about fifteen degrees cooler than being out in the direct sunlight (and the wind chill probably made it worse). One of the range officers must have noticed that my hands were freezing so he offered me some extra hand warmers that he had stashed. That guy was awesome.

As for SHOT Show itself, it was a blast and I felt silly for all the nervous energy that I’d brought upon myself. After the practice I had at Industry Day, I was more than ready to talk to any and everyone about Unique-ARs. I tried to talk to everyone.

The people in the gun industry are seriously the nicest and most sociable of any I’ve met. I talked with people from all over the U.S., and lots from all over the world, and they were all a hoot.

If I’m being perfectly honest though, my favorite people were the fluffy kind. There were so many dogs at SHOT and I even got to pet some of them! I missed my dog something awful, so getting my puppy fix helped me to pull through.

Katie Lynn and I were able to wander a bit throughout the week, and every day we picked out a “favorite find”. We found lots of cool stuff (like the pictured armored vehicle that is ESSENTIAL), but we probably didn’t even see half of what was at the show.

I attended coffee & breakfast put on by the Women’s Outdoor Media Association and it was lovely. It’s great that more and more women are attending SHOT, and with them come more events for women to network and reach out to other women in the industry. That being said, I also attended a dinner for any women that were attending SHOT. That crowd consisted of competitive shooters, business owners, instructors, media members, and other manufacturers.

After the show at night, my room was like a little sanctuary. It did feel good to kick back for a few hours and be a bum. We stayed in the Venetian, so it was a quick walk back and forth from the expo center. Our room had a good view with comfy beds, and that’s about all I needed to recharge.

Dinner was one of the best parts of the day for me – every night we tried out a different restaurant, and they were all exquisite. We mostly stayed in the Venetian & Palazzo for food, but we did try the Benihana on the strip. Sushi Samba was the best sushi I’ve ever had! We noticed that they had a drink on their menu, a glass of Japanese scotch, for $588/PER GLASS. We were most definitely not in McCall anymore, Toto.

Overall, SHOT Show 2018 was the most fun I’ve ever had. Most of that has to do with Unique-ARs company culture, which is all about inclusion of employees and our Idahoan roots. We can work hard and play much harder. But the gun industry stands all on its own.

We had a little help desk next to us, and the ladies that were working it work the other shows that take place in Sands Expo Center. One of them told us that out of all the shows that she works, the people from SHOT are the most polite and understanding. To me, that speaks volumes.

If you ever get the chance to attend SHOT, don’t pass it up!