Last weekend I attended the South Yorkshire Shooting Show held at Doncaster racecourse on 29th & 30th September. I attended the show last year and was very much looking to going this year.
The show is somewhat in its infancy compared to the likes of the British Shooting Show and Northern Shooting Show and doesn't offer much in comparison. However, I always like to support anything that promotes the shooting industry and was keen to attend to meet with the exhibitors and see what is happening in the world of shooting.
I arrived at 8.45 am (Gates opened at 9am). If you are shooting on the day at the clay line you could park in a secure car park right out side the front door which was a bonus. At that time of the morning there was little traffic so I was straight to the venue and parked up in no time at all.
The show consists of a number of exhibitors indoors, ranging from clothing, accessories, artists, gifts and firearms. Outdoors you have a number of food stands, a show ring, a gun dog scurry and clay line amongst other activities. A full list of exhibitors can be found here:
No matter the occasion, I love attending shows like this for a potter and to nosey at trade show discounts and new product releases but I found myself very underwhelmed by the show this year. Perhaps my anticipation and excitement had built my hopes up too much but I did find the show very disappointing.
For a "shooting" show there was a distinct lack of firearms on display and for sale. The only notable exhibitors were Swillington Shooting Supplies, Raytrade and GMK but they only had a handful of guns between them on display. At shooting shows I like to be able to have a look at the guns I have been reading about all year and get a feel for the latest Browning product line or check out a new product release like that of the Typhoon F12 at the Northern Shooting Show. We shooting enthusiasts love guns, and what better place to showcase your product range to a high footfall customer base. But sadly the show did not deliver.
I did spend some time looking at the small range of Remington Shotguns on sale from Raytrade UK, but unfortunately, as with a few exhibitors on the day, there seemed to be no interest from the salesmen to come and talk to me or actually try to 'sell' me anything. The atmosphere was lacking.
Equally, I made the trip to speak with a couple of exhibitors directly and was dissapointed to see that some exhibitors advertised on the shows website and show guide were not infact in attendance at the show and some stands were closed on Sunday. It smacked of a half hearted attempt.
I was in and out of the show in about an hour and half and quite annoyed that I had spent nearly £20 to go. I would have had more from a visit to my local gun shop. That being said, there were some good clothing outfitters there offering some good deals on jackets etc. but nothing you wouldn't be able to get at the Northern Shooting Show.
One small room of sparsely populated exhibitors is not much of an attraction. Maybe this will change as the show grows over coming years, but unfortunately I am not itching to go back to support the growth much to my disappointment.
My advice for the show is to focus on getting the content right. Get the exhibitors there, get guns on display and liven it up a bit. Build it and they will come.