The second World Predator & Hunting Expo called predator hunters from around the country and beyond to Columbus, Ohio in late March. With most of the pillars of the growing predator hunting industry in house, attendees were treated to world-class exhibitors, live demonstrations and expert seminars throughout the three-day event.
“The expo went over well,” event organizer Brent Rueb said.
One of the main goals of this year’s event, according to Rueb, was to build on the first expo, which was held in August of 2008. And with the expo drawing more than 3,000 attendees, doubling its attendance from the first event, the show was a success.
“We definitely built and increased not only our attendees but our exhibitor numbers and also our sponsors,” Rueb said.
The World Predator Calling Competition was the buzz of the expo for most of the weekend. With many of the world’s top callers participating, it made for an exciting contest.
“The competition was really good. They brought the best of the best out,” said Tad Brown, the manager of Public Relations and Product Development for Flambeau, which sponsored the contest.
Steve Criner of Hunter’s Specialties was crowned the All-Around World Champion Caller while 18-year-old Duffy Statler won the Distress Division and Jason Groseclose won the Coyote Vocalization Division.
Over 300 industry exhibitors set up at the show and most were encouraged to see the expo’s continued development.
“It’s a growing effort,” Ron Dir of GameTraks said, adding that the growth from the first expo to this year’s expo was very apparent.
Following the event, many of the exhibitors had a “Rome wasn’t built in a day” attitude regarding the expo. Attendance wasn’t as high as most hoped for, but they were encouraged to see significant growth in just the second year of the expo.
“It wasn’t where it could be or where it’s going, but it was a step in the right direction,” Brown said.
And the next step might be further West.
“There might be a possible relocation of the show,” Rueb said. “There are talks of Texas and Utah, somewhere South or West. And so we’re looking for venues and places to hold it and that kind of stuff.”
But whether it’s held in the East, West or somewhere between, plans are already in motion for the next event.
“Now we’ve got two under our belt and we’re looking for our third one,” Rueb said.
From left to right: Gerald Stewart of Hunter’s Specialties and Jared Blohm,
managing editor of Trapper & Predator Caller, stand in front of the HS booth