2008 SHOT Show: Sunday Notes


Photo gallery

LAS VEGAS — Michael Ellison of Maxit Designs, which produces head coverings for hunters and pro athletes, was wondering Sunday morning whether he'd get to take in any of Super Bowl XLII while he was working his exhibit.

Since the late 1980s, the company has sold gators and thermal wear to NFL teams — the 49ers were wearing Maxit when they beat the Bears on Soldier Field in the 1988 NFC Championship game, Ellison said, and the Packers were wearing the black head coverings two weeks ago when they lost to the Giants at Lambeau Field in the third-coldest playoff game in NFL history.

Asked whether he'd get to a TV by gametime, Ellison said, "I hope so. I don't know how long it's been since I've been at home to watch the Super Bowl."

Dang SHOT Shows — Ellison has attended about 20, he estimates — keep getting in the way.

Budweiser announces Lowell Baier as Conservationist of the Year

Lowell wanted to read the inscription on the award before he took the stage to give an acceptance speech.

"Lowell Baier, Budweiser Outdoor Conservationist of the Year," he read off a plaque anchoring a statue of an eagle spreading its wings before turning and smiling with watery eyes.

Backed by support from the Boone and Crockett club, Baier became the 13th winner of the award, which was created in 1995.

"What this award celebrates in the conservation world is the power of one," Baier said. "It shows how the courage, enthusiasm, power and example of one person can make an incredible difference.

"But make no mistake, conservation is not the action of one person alone, but this is the collaboration of many."

For 24 months, Lowell Baier led a battle to facilitate the Federal government's acquisition of the largest remaining piece of Theodore Roosevelt's historic Elkhorn Ranch still in private ownership.

The 23,550-acre ranch was acquired on April 25, 2007, following a national campaign led by Baier to secure the Congressional political will and funding to support the acquisition.

Key to the transaction was a $500,000 acquisition challenge grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, one of the largest grants they ever made.

Baird, who beat out finalists Dr. Jim Hulbert, Marion Burnside, and Bernie Lemon for the award, was given $50,000 by Budweiser to donate to the conservation project of his choice

"It is an honor and a duty to be a conservationist," Baier said. "This award is a celebration of what is now known as cooperative conservation."

Familiar faces, different show

There are plenty of celebrity faces endorsing products around the SHOT Show.

Just sitting on our perch in the ESPNOutdoos.com office, we can see R. Lee Ermey sitting at Glock autographing photos and Medal of Honor winner Sammy L. Davis etching names into Gerber knives.

But walking past the Wiley X booth there are two huge, eye-catching photos the heads of two of bass fishing's biggest names. Skeet Reese on the right and Boyd Duckett on the left, both sporting Wiley X's latest innovation in sunglasses called Brick.

Built to keep debris out of soldier's eyes, the selling point on this item for anglers is 99.9 percent polarization.

The sweet smell of new products

Scent-Lok took a hit late last year when a group of Minnesota hunters claimed in a lawsuit that the company's signature odor-eliminating technology doesn't work. The company is at the SHOT Show with an expanded sock line, new bow hunting gloves that have a hole cut in the release finger and their Base Slayers base layers in camo.

"People who are using our stuff love it," said Amy Derby, a marketer for the company. "Dealers who sell our stuff are still selling it."

Hook 'em young

Buck Wear Inc., out of Baltimore, sports a plethora of novelty hunting and fishing shirts with illustrations to fit such lines as, "There's a place for All God's Creatures … right next to the Potatoes & Gravy!" and "Fishermen have all the best pick-up lines." Beyond the usual snappy collection of "big rack" puns, the company this year is introducing a line of shirts specifically for children.

Maybe a kid who gets hooked on a "Little Muddy Hunting Buddy" T-shirt, or one that reads, "This Kid Likes Big Trucks & Big Bucks" may actually grow up to drive a big truck and shoot deer.

"Parents will dress their kids in this," said Vince Pelesky, the company's Mid-Atlantic sales rep, pointing to a "Cute as a Button Buck" shirt. "Maybe it starts there."

Not knockin' at your door

Quote of the day might go to Ted Nugent, the rocker/hunter seen stalking around the SHOT Show. As he strode out of a Las Vegas Convention Center men's room Sunday, he said to a friend, "There's no question, that's my favorite booth in the whole place."

ESPNOutdoors.com will be on the floor for all four days of the SHOT Show, with continuous updates of the latest products, features and trends in the world of hunting and firearms.