SITREP: March 2002

By Dan Shea

On my way back from the incredible SAR 2001 Show and I am very, very happy. Truthfully, I had planned to spend most of my time at LMO’s tables, but I ended up leaving and spending almost the whole show running around in one or the other of our two buildings. I can’t begin to tell you how exhilarating it was to see that many of the Class 3 community in one place at one time. It was a real, honest to goodness gun show, with guns of all types everywhere you looked, parts, tripods, pieces, accessories, displays, and wall-to-wall people walking around talking guns and buying and selling. Thank God for the Free State of Arizona.

I heard so many conversations where people were exchanging knowledge about firearms history and technology, so many people planning upcoming shoots, shows, projects, new products. It was amazing. If you missed this show, you missed something that was worth being at.

We are doing another one in Phoenix next December. The show promoter - Bob Templeton of Crossroads of the West, told me this was the biggest show to every hit the SouthWest- excluding the now apparently defunct “Great Western”. We had over 1600 tables in five buildings. Regarding the Great Western Show at Pomona, SAR has always been a cheerleader for that show, and if they start up again, you will read about it here. Unfortunately, the California climate towards firearms ownership is tightening more and more, and the shows there are losing a lot of support from local government. What a great feeling it was for people to come to the Free State of Arizona, and see a good, old fashioned gun show with a Class 3 presence.

I dare say I haven’t seen a setup like the one we just had, other than at the Knob Creek Shoot. We didn’t have a machine gun shoot, but we didn’t have any dust or crushed stone under foot either, no rain, and you could talk with people and be heard. Knob Creek will always be The ‘Creek, but our show certainly had its own alluring points.

The SAR 2002 show will be held on December 6-8 at the Arizona State Fairgrounds, in conjunction with the regular Crossroads of the West Phoenix Show. From the initial reports, we are planning on an even bigger show next year, with many more activities- rumors of a machine gun shoot out in the desert are circulating, and we are also discussing making this a three day show- dealer setup on Thursday, and open on Friday at Noon till 6 for the public, then our regular Saturday and Sunday hours. There are also discussions of more outside entertainment, a larger contingent of military vehicle and cannon displays, and more class 3 dealers coming in from around the US.

I want to take a moment to thank all of those who worked hard to put this show together. It went smoothly, and we had a great time meeting our readers.

For our readers overseas, in the military or not, we hope you can make it to the next SAR show as well. The Brotherhood of Arms was definitely in evidence at our show, veterans from WWII on were there, and many great conversations were had.

We have been asked to do the show twice a year- but we have declined. We would like to keep our show special to the Southwest, a yearly event that won’t get too old and tired. The promoter is considering juicing up his April show with Cowboy Action Shooting, to make another “Mega show” happen in the Spring. If he does it, I will go, as will a lot of the other SAR readers who have a crossover interest.

We might consider an SAR East show, if we can find a suitable show and location to tie it to- without conflicting with the Spring Knob Creek or the HMHS show- we want to be supportive of other events.

It was great seeing you all, out there, and I hope to see you all again at SAR 2002!

- Dan

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V5N6 (March 2002)
and was posted online on February 28, 2014


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