I just got home from the 2018 SHOT Show (Shooting Hunting Outdoor Trade Show).

It’s the largest outdoor trade show in the world. All the big firearm, ammo, optic, knife, outdoor clothing and such manufacturers are there. There is no way that you can visit every booth. There are hundreds.

In addition to all the above, all the big outdoor writers and media people attend as well. You’ll see all of the big stars there. The event kicks off on Monday with the Media Day at The Range event. It is by invitation only. The afternoon has manufacturers and buyers in attendance.

The media day event is fun of course. I mean how can you not love it? You get to shoot all the new guns and ammo. Then Tuesday-Friday is the show.

My week is tied up from daylight to way after dark with breakfasts, lunches, dinners and meetings all day long. All of the manufacturers are promoting their new products. Many new items are introduced at the SHOT.

Buck Knives touted their assisted opening 110 (The 110 was their first locking folder introduced back in 1963).

Leatherman unveiled their Limited-Edition Leatherman in celebration of their 35th anniversary and Benjamin unveiled their new MAG Fire break action air rifle that utilizes a 10-shot clip.

Swiss Army knifes has a cutting board that fits over a 5-gallon bucket for filleting fish and Case XX Knives has a slew of old school knives they’re re-ignited as well as a new Hero line. Then of course I have to drop by and see my buddy Kim to check out what’s new with Irish Setter.

Before I attended my first SHOT Show I thought that I knew all of the optic companies. Ha, not even close. And it’s only gotten more competitive.

Of course Leupold is my favorite optic company and I had a meeting with them on Wednesday to see what they have that’s new.

Smith’s products are the definite leaders in the knife sharpening world. They’re creative and come out with new products every year. They’re light years ahead of everyone else.

Tuesday morning Fredy & Brian that own AmmolandShootingSportsNews had a breakfast for their writers. Fredy comes out backpacking every summer and brought Brian this past summer and if you remember, we had a plane drop us off in the Frank Church. If you like knives, check out their website. I write a weekly Knife Review for them.

I had a dinner Wednesday night with Remington & Buck Knives and got to meet some of their new leaders as well as to see some of my old acquaintances.

The show opens at 8:30 a.m. and I’m zipping back and forth across the floor hitting all my meetings with the various companies and whenever there is a blank slot in my calendar, I fit in as many new companies as I can. I met 3-4 new editors which is going to open up doors to more writing opportunities.

Then of course you line up as many hunts as possible. Right before the show I’d just returned from a 2-week trip to Texas and am headed back for a hog/coyote hunt to test out my new Mossberg Patriot Revere.

Which brings up, we’re trying to line up a hog hunt with Benjamin’s new Airbow. It spits out arrows at 440 fps.

I know it probably sounds like all fun and games but if you want to make a living, you have to hit it hard. I remember the first time Katy attended.

She thought we’d hold hands and walk around doodling. I grabbed her hand and took off down the aisles. She was hitting the ground about every third step.

As the day came to a close I thought I’d better slow down. I told her I’d take her somewhere nice for dinner.

She saw a McDonald’s and said get me a happy meal and let’s go hit the sack. I’m dead. So that’s kinda how you feel by the end of the day.

But my buddy Paige that runs MyTopo maps took a few of us to dinner and a couple of shows. So, I don’t want to say that we didn’t enjoy ourselves at all.

If it wasn’t held in Las Vegas, it’d be the coolest outdoor event of the year.

Tom Claycomb is an outdoor enthusiast and writes a monthly column for the Humboldt Sun.