Annette Doerr is a freelance writer, self-employed businesswoman, wife, mother, equestrian, and is active in Greyhound rescue. She and her husband Bob are avid shooters and are both NRA Certified Pistol Instructors and NRA Certified Range Safety Officers. Photographs courtesy of Bob Doerr.
I am back. I am recovered. I had an amazing time hiking the miles and miles of trail that is SHOTShow. But I will admit… I have some regrets. In fact, I have five.
1. I was honored and flattered to be one of the selected media outlets to be invited to attend NSSF Media Day at the Range. Media Day, if you have never been, is an amazing day at Boulder Rifle and Pistol Club in Boulder City Nevada, held the Monday before SHOTShow opens. Attendance is by invitation only. This was my second time at the event so I should have learned my lesson last year; but I never gave it a thought. I did not bring my own eye protection. Crosman was wonderful in supplying every attendant with a pair of safety glasses and I thank them for that. But shooting the Stoeger M3K directly into the sun about blinded me. I will never go to a range, near or far, without the addition of tinted sunglass-type protection. Ever.
2. As for my ears, I KNOW those little foam plugs don’t work well for me. I know this! Did I bring my ears with me? Sadly no. I spent half the time trying to get my foamies to do their job. I don’t know if I have some type of weird ear defect making the plugs not work right, but I will also never enter a range again without proper hearing protection. If I had been shooting .22lr all day, maybe the foamies might have been acceptable. But that Daniel Defense DDMK18 at full auto, and the Stoeger M3K 12-gauge, were no match for the little orange foam pieces. (Plus, with my hair up, they show in every.single.picture!)
While I am thankful they were provided for us, I should have remembered from last year that they just do not work for me. Never again.
3. SHOTShow draws wonderful people in and out of the actual industry. The manufacturers, the attendants, media etc; the show floor is chock full of very cool and famous people. I regret not asking for a photo with some of the people I ran into. I scroll through other attendees Twitter feeds and Facebook pages and see their picture standing with someone famous that I also saw (or even spoke with) but didn’t ask for a picture. It comes down to shyness I guess. I didn’t want to bother them with fangirl photo’s. Do I regret this? Sure! Will I change this for next year? Not likely, it’s just not in my nature. (I would love to insert a photo here, but I don’t have any!)
4. Pictures, more pictures! I regret not taking more pictures on the show floor. Afterall, I had media credentials; I had the proper credentials to photograph on the show floor. Did I? Eh, I took a few, with my iPhone. I left the good camera back in the room. She came with me to Media Day at the Range, but after that she stayed back in the room. Why? I thought it was heavy and a pain to carry around. I regret this because while my iPhone is convenient and takes decent pictures, there is no substitute for a good camera while covering a trade show.
5. While I was honored to be invited again this year to the Women’s Outdoor and Shooting Industry Dinner (also know as GunGirlDinner), I once again did not network as much as I would have liked. Put me on the range with a group of guys and I’m happy and confident. Put me in a room full of women… #notsomch. If I had a few close girlfriends who were going, it may have been different. But for someone somewhat shy, I was painfully uncomfortable. I was lucky to buddy up with a wonderful women that I met early on that evening who was also attending solo, so we used the buddy system and networked together and enjoyed ourselves; right up until she left early. Should I have been uncomfortable? Heck no, this was a room full of my peers. Was I? You bet I was, and it was apparently obvious because I was rescued by a “WONderful” woman who saw I was alone and refused to let me linger on my own (and you know who you are! Thank you again for the rescue!).
Overall my four days at SHOTShow were wonderful. My husband and I had a terrific time. I saw some old friends, made some new ones, and met a few wonderful friends that I only knew online prior to finally linking up at SHOT.
Were there regrets, sure there were. Would I do it all over again? Of course, it’s SHOTShow after all! It is what you make of it. I just need to work on a few things before next year (and make a packing list so I don’t forget those eyes and ears!) But all in all, it was fantastic, and like the song says:
Regrets I've had a few
But then again too few to mention
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption
I planned each charted course
Each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way