The first SSAA SHOT Expo held in Perth has been declared a huge success by organisers, exhibitors and attendees alike. The two-day event in December welcomed more than 10,000 people to the Claremont Showground as local target shooters, hunters and outdoor enthusiasts took advantage of the Expo on home soil. The Perth Volunteer Rifle and Artillery Regiment put on a display volley of fire to open both days as crowds streamed through the doors.
SSAA WA President Ron Bryant said the response by visitors, volunteers and exhibitors exceeded expectations.
“It was a fantastic turnout for our first SSAA WA SHOT Expo and we have our WA members and volunteers to thank for their support by attending or helping to run the event,” Ron said.
“Our exhibitors were running out of stock by the middle of the first day and we had a lot of interest in our SSAA indoor shooting range. More than 13,000 pellets were shot through air pistols and air rifles, with almost 1200 people having a go and about 35 per cent of whom were juniors trying shooting for the first time.”
Both days of the Expo featured displays of the latest products in all areas of shooting, hunting and outdoor pursuits. Hunt, Catch, Cook’s Jason Spencer drew crowds with his cooking prowess, using recipes from the SSAA’s Field to Fork - The Australian Game Cookbook - while demonstrations by the SSAA Working Gundog Association also attracted bumper numbers of onlookers.
By lunchtime on the first day, exhibitors were expressing excitement at the number of visitors and the interest in their products. Daryl Lenkic, from Meplat Firearm Services, said the response from the Perth shooting community was pleasing. “I have already fielded several orders for products and expect to receive more,” he said. “We also had a record number of people enter our free raffle. I’m glad that we made the effort to attend.”
Josh Raymond, from Raytrade, said attendance and feedback was far beyond his own forecasts. “I think Western Australia has been craving for ages to have a show like this,” he said. “It also gives us the chance to meet with our end consumer and in a state where we haven’t been able to do something like this before.”
Glen Curyer, from Wolf-Eyes, marvelled at the hordes cramming into the venue, selling out of excess stock of his Seal torches within the opening day and taking orders during the second day. “This was a great inaugural Perth SHOT Expo, good crowds, great organisation and very easy to be involved with,” he said. “We sold out on the first day.”
Outdoor Sporting Agencies fielded a large presentation at the Expo, including its lines of Zeiss and Nikon optics, which catered to both ends of the market. Tom Hall, from Outdoor Sporting Agencies, said the mood and the support shown by the industry for the WA shooting community was totally positive.
“The numbers through the door have been surprising,” he said. “It is obvious that WA shooters have wanted something like this and while people may have been concerned about making the trip over, we can see that it has been worth it. It is good to see WA shooters banding together and turning out in big numbers.”
All items on display at the Lokaway safe exhibit were creating a buzz and the majority had been sold by the end of the first day of the Expo, with sales representative Nathan McDonnell organising direct shipping to customers throughout the second day.
Perth SSAA SHOT Expo major sponsor Swarovski Optik provided a wide range of optics for shooters, allowing people to try before buying. Representative Johannes Nothdurfter felt the SSAA SHOT Expos were a great way to meet customers and talk them through their optical needs. He said interest was always high on Expo days and sales would continue for months after the event as people remembered the face-to-face interaction and advice they received from Swarovski Optik representatives.
Jackie Martin, from Expo major sponsor Winchester Australia, was also pleased at how things had gone. “After our first show in Perth, we are very impressed with the attendance and the support shown by the Western Australian shooters,” she said. “This event was another success for us, thanks to the vision and support of the team at Exhibitions Group. We look forward to the new two-show per year agenda and hearing from those that matter most, the Australian shooters.”
The feelgood factor of the Perth SSAA SHOT Expo lies with the efforts of volunteers, according to Ron Bryant, who said signing up hundreds of new members throughout the weekend was a testament to their hard work.
“I would like to say a huge thank you from the SSAA WA State Executive and myself to all those involved for their time and efforts. It was very humbling to see we have so much support from you all and it is deeply appreciated,” he said.
“To the Discipline folks, well done, you were open, friendly and helpful to everyone interested. It was the first time a central display of guns was done for the Association and thanks to those who showed off their prized possessions.
“The Regiment and the Working Gundog crew excelled and we all did WA proud.”
Ron said the support from the industry could not be ignored and the success of the two days showed the importance of catering to WA shooters within the Australian market.