Cramped for time and on a restricted schedule, my good friend Milt Inman and I trudged off for the Orlando, Florida Orange County Convention Center to take in some of the 2009 Annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show.

My lack of proper planning left us with a huge question as soon as we arrived and entered a parking area; “Where in the heck are we supposed to go?” I’d passed by the Convention Center a couple times and figured that it’s only a building and it wouldn’t take long to find the media registration area and be on our way.

Little did I know. After about a one mile walk, we at least found the West Concourse, of which a kind lady at an information booth for the Surf Show told us the SHOT Shot was located. (We were tempted to try to get into the Surf Show with our press badges. You know to see the surf boards. Snicker)
long walk at Orange County Convention Center

The entrance to the West Concourse was expansive and impressive, which I guess is nice talk for it was too darn big and we couldn’t find anything.
entrance foyer west concourse orange county convention center

It took a few humbling experiences in asking for directions but we eventually found the registration area, got our badges and went to work. First stop was the press room to check the bulletin board for any messages of importance and to see if I could spot anyone I knew. Actually most anyone I was looking for I have never met, only online. I also quickly realized it would be only an event of fate to find anyone there.

Finding no one, we headed for the showroom floor to have a look around. One of our first stops was the Charles Daly booth. Milt has an old Charles Daly gun he was in hopes of talking with someone about. We met Sean Cowan, a representative of the company, very pleasant, courteous and knowledgeable. This meant a photo op and it was Shawn’s idea to pose in front of the “black” gun display. (And for the guy who reads my blog from time to time and likes to present himself as one of many, many names, I took your snarky advice and got a picture of the black guns….just for you.)
charles daly showcase at SHOT Show 2009 Orlando, Florida

Obviously, the SHOT Show isn’t something anyone can “go see” in one day or part of one day. With over 700,000 square feet of floor space, it’s massive.

During our search we came across some interesting and unusual things. Little did I know that I would run into one of America’s great heroes, John “Duke” Wayne.
the duke, John Wayne

Sneaking up behind me, I became startled by a small grizzly bear. Actually the bear didn’t startle me as much as the extremely rude representative who pounded on my shoulder and TOLD me to leave the bear alone. Odd I thought, that anyone would prominently display a grizzly bear in the midst of thousands of conventioneers, without any warning signs and then rudely tell you to get away.
me and grizzly

Perhaps another year I can arrange my schedule in such a way as to be able to spend a few days and a lot of money and attend another SHOT Show.

Tom Remington