NSSF held its first SHOT Show in January 1979
with 290 exhibitors.
By Russ Thurman
Shooting Industry covered the first SHOT Show in the March 1979 issue. Dealers rated the show a “success” and a “long overdue forum.”
FMG Publications was one of those inaugural exhibitors and the longtime publisher has exhibited at every SHOT Show since that first event in St. Louis, Mo. January 2019, FMG Publications will once again join a handful of those original exhibitors, along with 1,600 others, for SHOT Show 41 in Las Vegas.
“We’re proud to have been a part of the SHOT Show since the beginning,” said Tom von Rosen, FMG Publications president and CEO. “Contributing to the show’s growth, witnessing the industry’s expansion over the past 41 years and being able to share it with so many outstanding people has been an honor.”
FMG Publications is committed to SHOT Show, beyond exhibiting. Through its business magazine, Shooting Industry, the publisher has devoted hundreds of pages of editorial to promote SHOT Show and the importance of attending the mega trade show. In addition, through its commercial titles American Handgunner, GUNS Magazine and four Special Edition magazines, FMG Publications reports on the hot trends, product innovation and exciting changes within the firearms industry.
“The faces have changed over the years but our mission is still the same, to help grow the shooting sports for this generation and the next. The SHOT Show has always been both a launch pad and sounding board for what’s new, what works and how brands can bring business ideas and consumer engagement closer together,” said Randy Molde, FMG VP of business development, who has coordinated the company’s SHOT Show operation for 34 years.
FMG’s booth is the epicenter for the company’s operation at SHOT Show, with a seemingly endless number of business meetings with advertisers, dealers and range operators, and manufacturer and distributor representatives. It’s also the coordination center for FMG’s SHOT Show Task Force, which includes key staff members and numerous outdoor writers. At the booth, FMG gives away thousands of copies of American Handgunner and GUNS Magazine, and Shooting Industry’s December and January issues.
The two New Business Year issues of Shooting Industry are packed with SHOT Show information and schedules, hundreds of new product briefs and perspectives for the upcoming business year. The January issue includes a SHOT Show exhibitor directory and pullout map of the show floor. The goal is to ensure SHOT Show attendees have in advance the tools they need to maximize their attendance at the show, according to Jade Moldae, Shooting Industry’s editor.
“Even in today’s increasingly digital age, there’s still no substitute for quality face-to-face interactions — SHOT Show provides an abundance of such opportunities, every year,” Moldae said. “Shooting Industry readers are privy to numerous New Business Year features like the latest information on the show, new product announcements and other related news. There’s so much information packed in these issues, in fact, we actually had a dealer complain they were too heavy last year!”
The coverage of SHOT Show also includes FMG’s all-important digital and social media focus. In additional to publishing all-digital editions of its magazines the company has a dedicated video producer. Shari LeGate capitalizes on her years in the industry and SHOT Show attendance to gather digital reports to support FMG advertising and promotional efforts.
“Video is an important part of our clients’ overall marketing mix. SHOT Show is the perfect venue for us to capture interviews with industry leaders, cover product launches and get the footage for a comprehensive video strategy. This gives us the opportunity to not only promote our clients and their products, but the shooting sports as well,” LeGate said.
FMG, just like the 1,600-plus other exhibitors, takes advantage of the opportunity SHOT Show offers for sales — with the primary focus on advertising.
“SHOT Show provides the perfect opportunity to meet with advertisers. With a full menu of advertising options including print, digital, email blasts and video, our goal is to expand an advertiser’s reach and increase their sales,” said Paula M. Iwanski, FMG advertising and marketing manager. “And don’t underestimate the power of print advertising. One dealer who stopped by our booth to pick up copies of our magazines told me, ‘I know there is an app, but technology is finicky and I prefer the printed copy in my hand.’”
FMG has also played an important role in the SHOT Show Auction program.
“FMG Publications has been a terrific partner in the coordination of the SHOT Show Auctions for the past several years, both in terms of obtaining Auction guns from manufacturers and in publicizing it to our trade and consumer media,” said Chris Dolnack, NSSF SVP and CMO. “As we began to develop plans for the 2018–2020 SHOT Show Auction campaigns, we looked to FMG to lead the effort and are delighted they accepted.”
FMG’s commitment to NSSF goes beyond SHOT Show. In 2013, NSSF presented FMG Publications the Ken Sedlecky Lifetime Achievement Award during the SHOT Show State of the Industry reception.
“We are proud and honored to present this award to one of our greatest supporters. One which has done more than any other to support the NSSF’s First Shots program. It is the highest honor we can give,” said Steve Sanetti, NSSF president and CEO. “To date, FMG Publications has donated almost $150,000 to our First Shots program, and that, in turn, is made possible by the industry’s participation in the Shooting Industry Masters competition, which FMG instituted, nurtured and has grown to be the premier industry shooting event.”
In total, FMG raised $338,600 during 13 years of the Shooting Industry Masters to support First Shots.
“We are very proud to be part of this industry and to support NSSF and First Shots,” Molde said. “Considering how much Ken Sedlecky did to grow the shooting sports during his lifetime, it’s an honor to receive this award on behalf of the many Shooting Industry Masters participants who joined us on the firing line.”
FMG was also the first publishing company to become a Voting Member of NSSF, the highest level of membership. In addition, Russ Thurman, Shooting Industry’s publisher, has served on NSSF’s Board of Governors since 2011.
“We at FMG Publications have never wavered from our commitment to this industry. We’re ‘all-in’ when it comes to the Second Amendment, support of the industry and loyalty to our business and consumer readers. That is what we’ve done for 64 years of publishing and 41 years of SHOT Shows. You can count on us to continue to do; that’s who we are,” Thurman said.