INDIANAPOLIS With whitetail and big game bowhunting seasons either already closed or quickly winding down across the country, the race to opening day 2008 has already begun.
That much is apparent with the opening bell of the 2008 ATA (Archery Trade Association) Archery Trade Show, which began this morning for the more than 8,000 attendees expected to attend including exhibitors, retailers, buyers, and media.
The show, which is being held at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, runs through Saturday evening.
With more than 300,000 square feet of exhibit space in use by some 500 or so exhibitors, ATA officials are expecting good things over the next three days as the show takes place in the shadow of the RCA Dome where the Indianapolis Colts will host the San Diego Chargers on Saturday.
But as NFL playoff fever builds in Indy, inside the Convention Center, where the ATA Show returns after a two year stint in Atlanta, bowhunting and the archery industry is what is grabbing the headlines.
While this year's show will feature the usual unveilings of new bows, arrows, broadheads, clothing, blinds, treestands, and accessories, the show also has several other themes expected to play out.
One of those is the ATA's continuing commitment to invest in the future of archery, something evidenced by one of the show's buzz phrases, "Today is all about tomorrow. Invest in the future."
Another aspect of this year's show is the attendance of some 250 international visitors from more than 14 countries.
According to ATA information, that includes guests from the European Bowhunting Association.
To help welcome all of the show's international visitors, a special reception was to be held on Wednesday evening.
"We want our international attendees and exhibitors to know how much we appreciate their presence at our show," said Cindy Brophy, trade show manager, in an e-mail release.
"They travel from every corner of the world to be here, and we are pleased to welcome them and get to know them a bit better."
Look for ESPNOutdoors.com's continuing coverage of the 2008 ATA Archery Trade Show today through Sunday.