When the National Rifle Association sets out to host a show, we really host a show! The year 2019 marked our sixth annual Great American Outdoor Show at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, over nine days in February. A record 179,000 outdoors enthusiasts (okay, so we rounded up a little in the title) came from all over America to explore the world’s largest consumer outdoor sports show...and, as always, GAOS served up the surprises and entertainment in spades.
When we say the largest consumer outdoor sports show, we're not just talking about the 180K attendees (ok, fine, 179,000). The exhibit hall encompasses 650,000 square feet, showcasing everything from firearms and accessories, archery equipment, and fishing tackle to hunting apparel, boats and recreational vehicles. More than 400 hunting outfitters and fishing charter captains were on site, booking adventures across the U.S. and around the world. Attendees experienced world-class education and training in more than 200 seminars from outdoor celebrities and experts, watched nearly 50 angling demonstrations at the popular Hawg Tank, and earned culinary chops at nearly 30 cooking demonstrations featuring wild game and fish recipes.
“The NRA Great American Outdoor Show is a great opportunity to meet our customers, hear their needs, and share some of our Magpul insights with them about current and upcoming products,” said Scott Creed, Director of Marketing for Magpul Industries Corp. “There is nothing like it out there.”
The Great American Outdoor Show united fans with their favorite celebrities, with huge crowds lining up for autographs and chances to meet stars including Phil Robertson of Duck Commander and Duck Dynasty and hunting power couple Lee and Tiffany Lakosky. The NRA’s new Hunter Education program showcased its award-winning, comprehensive and 100% free online course, while the Eddie Eagle Kids Zone continued its tradition of engaging children with fun and educational activities, handing out more than 5,000 Eddie Eagle prizes to kids while providing life-saving gun safety and accident prevention instruction.
Nearly 7,000 shooters of all ages took their best shots at the NRA Air Gun range—firing 85,000 airsoft rounds into more than 500 targets—while the NRA Range Experience welcomed its most participants ever firing more than 250,000 airsoft rounds. The Kids Casting Contest welcomed more than 830 kids, with Pennsylvania Bass Federation volunteers teaching them how to cast, pitch and flip a fishing rod before competing in a friendly contest and walking away with a free rod and reel! Even man’s best friend joined in the fun, with 102 dogs making a splash in the DockDogs competition that drew thousands to watch the five daily performances. On the expertly landscaped Archery Range, more than 650 shooters competed for trophies and cash prizes in the 3D Bowhunter Challenge and Spot Shoot.
TheFriends of NRABanquet on Feb. 7 and The NRA Foundation’s Wall of Guns raffle raised more than $90,000 to support firearms safety training and education programs in Pennsylvania and beyond. The NRA Country Concert roared back to the Show, bringing Lee Brice and special guests Easton Corbin and Tyler Farr to the New Holland Arena on Feb. 9 for a sold-out night of sensational music and celebration.