The biannual trade show (and gear extravaganza) Outdoor Retailer is moving to Denver according to the Denver Post. Tomorrow, representatives of the state of Colorado are expected to make it official.
Today, nobody will talk (at least not publicly) about a major press conference scheduled for tomorrow morning. Nobody, that is, except the media.
The Denver Post blew the lid off the announcement this afternoon with a headline touting the event is on the way to Colorado. So much for the press conference surprise.
GearJunkie spoke with an official at the state level to try and verify the claim. The official would not comment.
Outdoor Retailer: A Long Trip To Colorado
The Outdoor Retailer convention is among the largest trade shows in the United States. It is dedicated to gear for camping, hiking, climbing, and other activities.
For the past 25 years, thousands of attendees gathered in Salt Lake City twice a year for the event. It pumped an estimated $45 million into the city annually.
That will change soon. After Utah Governor Gov. Gary Herbert signed a resolution urging the Trump administration to rescind the Bears Ears National Monument, several brands vowed to boycott the trade show in Utah.
That led to a cascade of events that eventually forced the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) to vow to leave the state.
Colorado: Outdoor Retailer Coming Soon
With OIA and show owner Emerald Expositions on the march away from Utah, several states started bidding to host the show.
Many people expected Colorado, with its massive outdoors economy and large (although possibly not large enough) convention center, to win out.
It appears, at least according to the Denver Post, that it has won the bid.
Official Announcement Coming Tomorrow
The city, state, or organizing bodies in Colorado have not yet made an official announcement. We hate speculation, but the Denver Post claims sources “confirm” the move now.
On Thursday, we will attend the press conference where the Gov. John Hickenlooper, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, and Luis Benitez, the head of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, will fill in the blanks.
One of the biggies is how the show will utilize the Colorado Convention Center, which alone is probably too small for the convention.
A second question is how Emerald Expositions, which recently acquired the SIA Snow Show for $16.7 million, will meld it into the event.
Emerald Expositions announced it will call the event the “Outdoor Retailer Snow Show” for 2018. But the integration of the Outdoor Retailer Convention remains unclear.
Those and other questions will be answered tomorrow. We look forward to learning more about how the largest industry event in the country will shake out.
But for now, it seems like one thing’s for certain — Look out Denver, here we come.