When archery retailers, ad-sales staff and manufacturing reps round the corner to scout the ATA’s Innovation Zone at the ATA Trade Show, they hope they’ll find a product or two that’s impressive enough to trigger an order.
In turn, this year’s IZ features 36 fledgling manufacturers who are hoping their products intrigue retailers and, just possibly, an established manufacturer. These innovators might not be ready to buy a full-sized booth on the Show floor, but they hope their products generate enough buzz to launch them there within a year or so.
Perhaps no other area on the Show floor captures archery’s entrepreneurial spirit as well as the IZ, with everyone wondering which companies will make that leap. The excitement reminds you of a comment by Malcolm Snyder, vice president and marketing director of Pape’s Inc. When asked recently what he liked most about the ATA Trade Show, Snyder said:
“I like that you never know what will happen next. You’re sitting in your booth, talking to a dealer, and you see a guy over there with a briefcase, waiting to meet you. You assume he’s got nothing, but what if he’s about to hit the next homerun? The dealer leaves, and the ‘briefcase’ runs over and asks five minutes of your time. He opens his briefcase, you look, and you say: ‘Holy sh--! How many can you make and when can you deliver them?’ That happens more often than you think.”
Possibilities like those lured innovators like Wade Hamlin of Bowsnatcher, Duane Harding of TruStump Wildlife Feeders, Chris Tuckel of FieldTorq’s Field Dressing Super Tool, Robert West of Lightning Rod Stabilizers, and Ed Boll of EBI Products’ Bow Holder/Gun Holder Dual Season Hunters Combo Kit to this year’s Innovation Zone. Each exhibitor reported solid interest from those visiting their booths Tuesday during the Show.
The bowsnatcher will keep the bow from swinging or otherwise hinder you while hiking, stalking, crawling or climbing trees. Photo Credit: Patrick Durkin
“The Show’s going great for us,” Hamlin said. “I brought a couple-hundred business cards, figuring that would be enough. I went through them so fast we had the FedEx office next door make us more so we don’t miss out.” Hamlin’s Bowsnatcher attaches to the backside of hunting packs, and securely holds the bow without using any straps. The bow won’t swing or otherwise hinder you while hiking, stalking, crawling or climbing trees. Bowhunters can pull the bow free in seconds without removing their pack, and then return it to the Bowsnatcher by simply sliding it back into place – again without removing their pack.
TruStump is the snazzy new way to lure out wildlife you want to see. Photo Credit: Patrick Durkin
“We wanted to make a wildlife feeder that works in the woods, but also looks nice in someone’s backyard,” Harding said. “People who enjoy watching wildlife don’t want a steel barrel in their backyard. They want something that’s aesthetically pleasing.” Harding developed the TruStump, which resembles a tree stump, in 2015. He and his wife, Jowanna, started shipping it in October. He said retailers like its look and solid polyethylene construction.
EBI presents treestand holders which attach to your chair to hold either a bow or firearm within grabbing distance, just in case the right animal comes around the corner. Photo Credit: Patrick Durkin
“We’re here hoping we can get into more stores and pick up another rep company,” Boll said. “The feedback we’re hearing is great. A lot of people are talking about it and said they’ll come back later in the Show to place orders, so we’ll be hoping for the best.” Boll’s creations attach to any treestand without tools. Both holders keep your bow or firearm close and secure so you can keep your hands warm and ready for action.
FieldTorq Super Tool
FieldTorq brings you a tool that can take care of big game with ease. Photo Credit: Patrick Durkin
“The Show’s working out very well for us,” Tuckel said. “We’ve had several contacts here with celebrities and pro-staff members from a large organization. When they see what our tool can do, they get interested and want to try it.” Tuckel spent the past 25 years developing and perfecting the FieldTorq tool, which quickly and precisely slices the hide, abdomen and diaphragm of big-game animals, and uses a ratchet-like action to cut/break the sternum and pelvic bone.
Lightning Rod Stabilizer
Looking for that pazazz to add to your bow? These Lightning Rod Stabilizers are just the thing. Photo Credit: Patrick Durkin
“We’ve had a lot of people showing interest because they like the look, feel and performance of our stabilizers,” West said. “Our stabilizers come in 6, 8 and 11 inches, and they have a unique head design. We also hand-dip them in bright patterns we created ourselves. We’ve been very pleased with the response so far, and it’s only Day 1.”
The Innovation Zone has plenty of products to explore. Check them out over the next two days and see what they have to offer! Visit them in Halls I and J.