Sunday, May 5, 2013
Random Thoughts About The NRA Annual Meeting
I made it home this evening from Houston about 6:30. I came home to heavy rain and flash flood alerts as opposed to the clear but cool weather we had in Houston. To put this in perspective, we'll probably have half the annual rainfall of San Diego in one day.
Like everything in Texas, the George Brown Convention Center was bigger than past venues for the Annual Meeting. I heard that it was about 10% larger than the America's Center in St. Louis. That would explain why on Friday it didn't seem as crowded. That changed on Saturday when it was packed even with the extra space. From everything I've heard, the number of attendees will probably set a record.
Houston is a big city! It is especially big when you are driving hither, thither, and yon and getting lost more than once in the process.
While the big companies get most of the attention, it is fun to cruise the outer aisles of the convention center as that is where you find the small companies. The little guys often have some of the more interesting items.
Speaking of big companies, I was impressed that the Ruger's CEO, Mike Fifer, not only worked their booth but could be seen out and about on the floor of the convention center walking about without any assistants or other marketing staff.
I finally got to meet the people who run God'A Grip. They had stayed in the same motel that we did in Pittsburgh and I never knew what they made. I got to try their Sorbothane cheek pad and pistol grips. The grip additions gave me a tighter grip on the test pistol than either skater's tape or checkering. I'll be buying some of their grips. This is one of those small companies on the outer rows that I mentioned earlier.
I talked to the people at PTR Industries. Their workforce had more than doubled in the past year due to demand for their PTR-91 rifles. Despite this, Connecticut doesn't consider those "good" jobs and they'll be leaving. The guy I spoke to was a production worker and didn't know where they'd be moving.
The media room was over twice the size of the St. Louis one which, in turn, was larger than the one in Pittsburgh. There were plenty of times when the media filled every table and every spot. I saw a lot of foreign press and even was interviewed by a reporter for a Norwegian newspaper.
Finally, the best thing about the NRA Annual Meeting is not the guns and gear, it is the people. This includes both the attendees and the bloggers I got to meet. I made new friends, renewed old acquaintances, and had a great time with "my tribe".