15 Things Overheard at the SHOT Show Women’s Meet and Mingle

15 Things Overheard at the SHOT Show Women’s Meet and Mingle
“Free drinks in a testosterone-free environment? Sign me up!” and some other observations made by gun-industry women (and a few errant men) at this now-popular event.staff photo

The women’s market is the fastest growing segment of the firearm industry. We’re choosing to learn how to shoot for fun and/or to protect ourselves and our families, but we’re also a growing presence in the shooting sports industry.

I saw first-hand our presence when I attended the SHOT Show, the world’s largest firearm-related tradeshow, in Las Vegas last week. SHOT isn’t open to the public—it’s for industry members only. It’s the one place each year I look forward to seeing men on a line for their restroom, while the ladies’ rooms are clean and vacant.

Because our numbers are increasing each year, supporting each other is vitally important. Networking is a great way to do that, so last year, the Women's Meet and Mingle was created as a ladies only networking event at SHOT Show.

Hosted by the Bonnier Corporation, the parent company of Range 365, along with The Women's Outdoor News (The WON), the event was so successful that both Bonnier and The WON decided to host the 2nd Annual Meet & Mingle at the 2017 Show.

It was attended by scores of women from all facets of the shooting industry—manufacturing, marketing, sales, media, and even competitive shooters. Julie Golob,

Gabby Franco, Kim Rhode, members of the U.S. Olympic Shooting team, and several other notables in women's shooting were there.

And when you’re in a room full of women, what you can overhear can be downright hilarious. Here’s a list of the most interesting, funny, and completely random comments I overheard while working the room:

“Wait, aren’t we Facebook friends? Yes, yes we are, nice to meet you!”

“So who’s watching your cats?”

“Mind if we continue this conversation sitting down? I’m about to fall down…”

“Sorry honey, I just saw you were from New York… I feel so bad for you!”

“Did you get a look at Kim Rhode’s gold medals? How cool is she!”

“Walked 9 miles yesterday, mostly in heels. My feet are filing for a divorce.”

“We are one good-looking group of ladies!”

“Thank you to all of you ladies out there breaking those glass ceilings in this industry!”

“Free drinks in a testosterone-free environment? Sign me up!”

“Look at all the husbands standing awkwardly outside the door like they don’t know where to go or what to do while we’re all in here!”

“I didn’t bring business cards. I’m not looking for any new friends.”

“You don’t compete? Why not? I mean, I guess that’s OK that you don’t, but…”

While ladies from all over the country networked and made new contacts, some of the funniest comments came from men who either entered by mistake or tried to get past our door crew:

“Ladies event with free drinks? Great, because today I’m identifying as a woman…what do you mean you don’t believe me?”

“In the military we refer to this as a target-rich environment… are you sure y’all don’t want some company?”

“Women’s event? Can you even do that in today’s world? Isn’t that a little sexist? You should be ashamed for not being inclusive… I need to go to my safe space and color now.”

The jury’s still out on whether that last guy was kidding or not, but it doesn’t matter—getting to spend a few hours with like-minded, professional women from the industry was a wonderful break from the chaos and craziness on the show floor. The event appeared to be a huge success by the smiles on the attendees’ faces, and the laughter that erupted around the room. Let’s do it again next year!