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Record sales recorded at ‘pandemic proof’ fishing shows


A strong indication that tackle shows will return in 2021 has come from O’Loughlin Trade Shows in the US.

The 80-year-old company ran two ‘pandemic proof’ events in Oregon in March – the Central Oregon Sportsmen’s Show in Redmond and the Pacific Northwest Sportsmen’s Show in Portland.

The organising company was the first to hold large-scale consumer-based trade shows in the North West and one of the few to stage events of this size in the US, according to President Bill O’Loughlin. “Somebody had to be first and I’m glad it was us,” said O’Loughlin. “We spent ten months working on these shows and trying to figure out how to best execute them. It wasn’t easy, but in the end we held safe and successful events.

“The volume of rods and other fishing tackle, apparel, hunting gear, boats, guide and outfitter trips, rifle scopes, coolers and ATVs sold was incredible.  And there will be lots more sold following the shows. We warned exhibitors to expect quite a bit of pent-up demand, but no one could have predicted how good it was going to be.

“The amount of business done at these two shows was staggering. Several companies reported record sales – the best they’ve ever had.”

O’Loughlin said that sanitation and safety protocols were obsessive and included the mandatory wearing of masks as a condition of entry, safe distancing and a timed ticketing strategy that eliminated crowding at the entrances. Both shows were also run at a lower attendance threshold.

“A couple of exhibitors and attendees were asked to leave because they didn’t want to wear face protection. We researched what other industries were doing and stayed on top of the medical and scientific information on a daily basis,” added O’Loughlin.

However, the company’s show in Washington was cancelled after the State ruled that only a maximum of 200 would be allowed at any one time.

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