Expo Across the River Offers a Rare Opportunity

Jay NehrkornAs the days get longer and things green up, my mind always drifts to turkeys. This is the time of year that I get antsy for my first available day to chase the big birds; opening day of  the earliest Illinois season for which I’ve drawn a tag. This year that day is April 14 – and I’m skipping it.

Typically it would take something catastrophic for me to miss a Saturday morning hunt when I have a turkey tag burning a hole in my pocket, but the NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits are coming back to St. Louis this year on April 12-15 and America’s Center will host the biggest showcase of shooting-related products and services this side of the annual SHOT show in Las Vegas.

Barring any unforeseen changes in plans, this will be my third time to attend the exposition at the NRA meetings, including once at Nashville, TN some years ago and then again when the meetings last came to St. Louis in 2007. To say that the show is on a grand scale would be understating the facts, and this year the NRA publications have announced that there will be 340,000 square feet of exhibits from more than 500 exhibitors. Based on my experiences in the past, you can expect every major player in the industry to show up and show off their entire line for this year, and there’s plenty to look at regardless of what type of shooting, hunting or guns you like.

Aside from the huge scope of the expo, it offers some other unique opportunities. It’s not only a chance to see custom stuff you won’t find in your local gun shop, but the new guns on display are usually written off so you can handle them all you want to see which of the ones you’ve drooled over in the magazine photos actually feel good and balance right when they land in your hands. A good trigger pull and a trigger system that you’re comfortable with is critically important to your ability to shoot a firearm well, and most of the production guns at the show can be dry fired so that you can compare. Manufacturer’s reps are there to answer questions and to take note of the wish list of features that you, the consumer, would like to see on future models. And you might even bump into a few celebrities, if you care about that sort of thing.

The show is free for NRA members and it’s worth the trip if you can make it. Published hours for the exhibition hall are 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. If you can’t make it, stay tuned to the blog here and to Illinois Outdoor News. In the days following the exhibits I’ll try to pass along some information about the things that catch my eye. Make that the afternoons following the exhibits because my mornings are booked – those turkeys can only wait so long.

Categories: Bloggers on Hunting, Illinois – Jay Nehrkorn, Turkey

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *