This month’s official announcement that the Outdoor Retailer summer and winter markets are moving from Salt Lake City to Denver came as a surprise to almost nobody. On the eve of a July 6 news conference with industry and Denver-area government officials, The Denver Post, citing unnamed sources, reported that the twice-yearly show would be based at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver starting in 2018. But the move had been widely rumored since Salt Lake City’s falling-out with show organizers earlier this year over Utah officials’ attitude toward Pres. Barack Obama’s designation of the Bears Ears National Monument.
Outdoor Retailer, owned by publicly traded Emerald Expositions LLC, has already begun setting up for its final Salt Lake City show, scheduled July 26-29 at the Salt Palace Convention Center. Although Emerald was contracted to hold its shows in Salt Lake City through 2018, local media reported that Visit Salt Lake, the entity that coordinates the city’s convention business, had reached an agreement allowing the early departure of the twice-yearly expositions.
Through recent agreements, Emerald will combine the Outdoor Retailer winter event with the annual Snow Show to create one large expo, the first of which is scheduled for January 2018. Emerald said that it will also move the Grassroots Connect convention, a meeting of members of the Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, to Denver. That show is currently scheduled for November and June 2018 in Knoxville, Tennessee.
“We received submissions from truly incredible outdoor cities — a testament to the strength of the outdoor community,” said Marisa Nicholson, Outdoor Retailer show director. “Denver is the undeniable industry choice. Bringing these organizations together and basing the show in a state that places such a high value on outdoor recreation is the best move we can make for the outdoor industry. As outdoor recreation evolves, outdoor businesses need to stand together and adapt to those changes to successfully move forward. We look forward to building a future together and thank Gov. (John) Hickenlooper, Luis Benitez (director for the Colorado Office of Outdoor Recreation) and (Denver) Mayor (Michael) Hancock for their gracious support.”