The ATA Board of Directors honored Outtech President Jay Scholes and his team with a “Special Recognition Award” in April for their dedication to growing the archery industry and making their “Innovations” party the can’t-miss kickoff of the ATA Trade Show since 1999.
Jay McAninch, president/CEO of the Archery Trade Association; and Scott Shultz, ATA Board president and owner of Robinson Outdoor Products, presented the award April 8 to Scholes in Minneapolis at the Board’s annual spring meeting.
The electrifying Innovations party, held the night before the ATA Trade Show, is the archery industry’s largest gathering of retailers and wholesale professionals. The 2014 Innovations event filled the 64,000-square-foot Grand Ballroom at the Music City Center in Nashville, and featured country music artist Luke Bryan and a guest appearance by Rhett Akins. Previous Innovations parties featured such celebrities as Jeff Foxworthy, Ron White, Craig Morgan, Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert; and special appearances by Olympic archers and TV personalities.
“Jay Scholes’ energy and passion for archery and bowhunting have stood out as long as I’ve known him,” McAninch said. “He and his vice president, Ron Rette, have made Innovations a fixture of the ATA Show. We wanted to show our gratitude to them and their team. They do a remarkable job building their clients’ companies with their commitment to archery and bowhunting. You see it in everything they do.”
Shultz said he wouldn’t be in the industry and owning/operating Robinson Outdoor Products if not for Scholes’ help and friendship the past 20 years. “I know many people in this industry who would say the same thing,” Shultz said. “Jay Scholes is a matchmaker who knows how to make deals and get things done. A lot of us wouldn’t have our products or companies if not for him.”
Scholes said when Outtech held the first Innovations party, they simply wanted to give retailers their first look at new products from Outtech’s clients. That remains part of the show, but the extravaganza quickly became a fun, popular social event that also gives retailers money-saving opportunities through one-night “Door Buster” discounts and other Show-only programs.
“If dealers take advantage of all the deals at Innovations, they’ll make significant headway improving their profit margins,” Scholes said. “Innovations gives them price advantages that drive traffic to their stores the rest of the year.”
During the Innovations party, Outtech also keeps everyone well-fed and feeling welcome. “Innovations has stood the test of time,” Scholes said. “It occurs at a magical time. We’re just coming out of the hunting season, everyone’s been hunting hard and working hard July through Christmas, and this is the first time they all get together after the hectic season. Everyone flies in full of excitement, and they can’t wait to talk about their hunts and how business is going.”
Scholes credits his staff, the ATA, and key clients like Realtree and Easton for making Innovations a success. “You can’t do something that big without hard work by lots of people,” he said. “It starts long before the Show and lasts long into the night after our guests back to their hotels.”
Innovations also features prize giveaways, including hunts to Alaska, New Zealand and Western states. “We try to come up with something every year to surprise people,” Scholes said. “We want people to have fun and appreciate how good we all have it. We’re lucky to work in this industry. We can get all serious and wrapped up in our business and responsibilities, but we get to play with bows and arrows every day. How great is that?”