When I came to the NRA in January 2014 as the Firearms Specialist, I missed the SHOT Show by a week. (Why I thought they'd send the brand new guy even if I had been there is something I hadn't thought about!)
At any rate, plans for the 2015 SHOT Show are well underway and it will be my inaugural attendance. Add to that fact that I'm the only NRA Museums staff member going and it could prove to be a baptism by fire.
What goes into planning the NRA Museums' involvement at SHOT Show, you ask? Well, first and foremost, we have to decide what firearms we're going to display in the booth. This involves a number of questions, including: what are our themes, what went last year, what are the crowd favorites, and so on.
Once we settle on the guns we'd like to take, we have to make sure they'll fit in the cases we have. (Good thing we checked this year! Wink wink!)
Then we tackle the exhibit text panels. This involves drafting what we're going to say, how we want to present it, and making sure everything is up-to-snuff from an editing standpoint. Much more goes into it than simply slapping a few lines of text on a label.
Once all of that is figured out, it's time to handle the biggest issues: shipping and security. Rest assured that we don't take either of these two aspects of any show lightly. When dealing with absolute treasure pieces, we take it very seriously.
Scattered throughout this whole process is the logistics side of rental cars, airport security, flights, hotels, and more. While I may be the only one going this year, it takes our entire museum staff to prepare for a show like this.
Once I get there, I've got to get everything set up and secured for the week before reversing the process and heading home four short days later.
With less than two weeks left before I fly to Vegas, it feels like the calm before the storm. Many of the old pros have the same description when it comes to summing up SHOT Show: exhausting but rewarding. Attendance at such a prestigious firearms event is something I feel honored to be going to and representing the NRA Museums.