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On The Road to SHOT Show: Day 1


People from Arkansas and Oklahoma say that if you don’t like the weather, just wait a little bit and it will change. That couldn’t be more true during the winter months.

Our company, Umarex USA, is located in the border town of Fort Smith, Arkansas. Oklahoma is to the West, the Arkansas River confines our city to the North. Beyond the river lies Interstate 40, which runs East and West. Umarex USA, home to Axeon Optics, Umarex Airguns, and Exude lights by Optical Dynamics, is on the East side of town, opposite of Oklahoma. The location is great because it’s just a short ride to Old Fort Gun Club, which is handy when we want to shoot our Umarex Airguns and Axeon Optics outdoors at 100 or 300 yards, which are longer distances than our indoor range will allow.


Before I go on, keep in mind that we’ve already shipped our awesome new products to Las Vegas for SHOT Show. The Umarex SynergisRuger® 10/22® Air Rifle and all of our Axeon Optics, new EXUDE lights, and of course a fantastic looking Umarex Hammer are already there. You just have to see and hold the Hammer to feel how nice it is. It might sound cliche, but it’s definitely going to be worth the wait. All that was left is to get to Vegas myself.


Friday night when I went to bed at midnight the wind was calm, there was a light rain and the temperature was in the mid-50s. It changed in a hurry. An hour and a half later a loud clap of thunder woke me, and the dog too. It didn’t seem to wake my wife and kids. The wind was gusting and the rainfall had increased. The dog wanted outside. When I opened the back door a North wind blew in. The temperature had obviously dropped. I knew it was coming but wasn’t expecting it so early. Now I was awake.


I did manage to get a couple of hours of shut-eye after that. I fell asleep about 3:00. I awoke at 4:45 to shower, load the car and get to the airport by 5:35 or so. When it came time to step outside I was not expecting the blustery windchill in the mid to lower 20’s that seemed to cut right through my jacket. It was still raining and I knew it was only going to get worse. Needless to say, I scurried to the car and threw in my bags. I hurried from the airport parking to the terminal too.


Mark, who manages Umarex, Axeon, and Optical Dynamics social media, was already there. A couple of people from our sister company, Walther Arms, were sitting near him. Of the four of us, I was the last one there and I think I live the closest to the airport. Go figure. I still had 20 minutes before we boarded though.

The weather didn’t let up, which attempted to challenge our 6:37 am departure. The temperature was 33 degrees and was expected to fall by three to five degrees over the next three or four hours. I boarded the plane, got settled and raised the window shade not expecting to see ice! It was stacking up on the window and had formed a solid layer on the wing. Despite a lady panicking at the back of the plane, Fort Smith is prepared for this sort of thing and had the de-icing truck out in short order. It delayed us some, but it wasn’t detrimental to our scheduled flights. 

Dallas was surprisingly cold and windy too. No rain, at least not in the short time we were there. I had about 40 minutes to get on my plane by the time we parked at our gate. The rest of the trip was smooth sailing. After we landed, Mark and I got a rental. We drove to a print shop to pick up our new publication, UMAREX 2019 Show News (Read it next for a glimpse at all of our new products.) Then we had to run to a craft store because I had last minute project to assemble for the show booth. I completely neglected having pictures of all the beautiful animals that have been harvested with an Umarex Hammer. After that, we picked up a colleague at the airport and headed to our hotel.

The show floor on Saturday is clambering with disorder. At least seemingly so. Our electricity hadn’t been done on time so that threw set-up of our primary booth structures behind. After 12+ years of doing this though, I wasn’t surprised. Nothing left to do but do a little writing, relax for a few minutes, and look forward to dinner. Be sure to subscribe to the Umarex USA e-newsletter for more from SHOT Show 2019.

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