Paddlesports Vets Launch New September Paddlesports Show


Outdoor industry veterans Sutton Bacon and Darren Bush have formed a new tradeshow, Paddlesports Retailer, to service the specific needs of the paddlesports industry.

“Paddlesports Retailer will be for paddlers, by paddlers; for retailers, by retailers,” said Bacon, Chairman of Nantahala Outdoor Center. “The concept of a paddle-centric show is something Darren and I talked about years ago. Now, the timing is right.”

Paddlesports Retailer will debut on September 12-14, 2017 at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison. The demo day will be September 11. Dates are reserved for 2018 through 2020.

“After hearing that OR was moving to June, it became clear this meant the end of paddlesports in Salt Lake City,” said Bush, owner of Rutabaga Paddlesports. “There’s just no way vendors or retailers can leave their factories and shops in peak season. Even if they could, the product presented there would obsolesce all current inventory. That won’t fly with retailers.”

Rutabaga Paddlesports produces Canoecopia, the world’s largest paddlesports consumer show, featuring over 130,000 square feet of exhibitors. Bush has been leading Canoecopia since 1994. “We’ve been running this show for thirty years, and the process is pretty dialed,” said Bush.

The location of the show is fortuitous. Bush already produces Canoecopia in Madison and Paddlesports Retailer was able to obtain the same space. “Most paddlesports vendors are already familiar with the hall,” said Bush. “Add to that its central location in North America and we have an event that for the first time can attract buyers from both coasts.”

“We asked a number of paddlesports retailers and vendors what they wanted in a trade show,” said Bacon. “We intend to deliver a working show with a lower overall cost of attendance, while providing a cultural experience that’s authentic to our tribe.”

“We are excited about this opportunity to pull our entire industry together into a focused show that could become the destination for all things paddle sports,” said Sue Rechner, president and CEO of Confluence Outdoor. “We look forward to learning more as the show develops.”

“Madison is built on five lakes, so the demo day will require minutes of travel, not hours,” said Bush. “Madison is an iconic outdoor town, and has been my home for over 30 years. It’s the perfect place to gather. Sutton and I started with a goal to provide a service to the industry we both love. We’re looking forward to creating a home for all of us.”

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