Wednesday January 9, 2018
New Year, New Gear, New Editor

This time next week, the archery industry will have a good feel for what the future holds -at least from a business standpoint. 

The 2018 edition of the Archery Trade Association’s annual show will be in the books, having closed after it’s January 11-13 run at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis. 

Manufacturers are hoping ATA leaves behind a long trail of orders from dealers who trekked to Indianapolis to see first-hand the new products for the coming year.

For the 9,500 or so registered attendees, it’s the annual industry gathering where old and new industry friends gather to look at new products and gather a collective sense of what’s hot (or not) in new products. 

239,000 square feet of exhibits and not a consumer in sight. ATA 2018 is first and foremost an order-writing event. The socializing is great, but only a benefit of the gathering. Archery Trade Association photo with permission.


For the 650 exhibitors spread across the 239,000 square feet of exhibit space, it’s one of those shows where you know you’ll  talk your products’ features and benefits, but you’d better be equally prepared to talk margins and incentives. If not, it could be a long three days.

The ATA is, after all, purpose built to “promote commerce within the archery and bowhunting industry.” It’s decidedly not a consumer event, despite the fact enthusiastic industry members queue up to try the latest new products with the same zeal as consumers. 

The big difference is that orders here aren’t “onesies” they’re the kind of orders that can make the difference between a great year and an average one.

ATA is an order-writing event of the first magnitude - and a bad experience in Indianapolis this week virtually assures a less than stellar year ahead. 

We’ll be there, but the Archery Wire will have different representation than in the past. Since our beginning, longtime industry member J.R. Absher has carried our colors, using his experienced eye to spot trends, identify fads and generally keep you up to date with what’s happening.

This year, he’ll be conspicuous by his absence rather than his unerring willingness to let you know what’s ahead in 2018. After more than three decades of being in the industry, he’s decided to step back and spend more time enjoying the outdoors than writing about the industry.

Today, I’m pleased to introduce readers to our new editor, Michelle Scheuermann. Many of you don’t really need an introduction, because you’ve been around the industry long enough to know her credentials are legit and she’s no rookie to the industry.

Michelle Scheuermann assumes the Archery Wire editor’s slot beginning with this week’s  ATA Show. She’ll be dressed for business (above) in Indianapolis, but she’s equally comfortable -and adept- when dressed for the outdoors (below).

In fact, this is one of those too-rare instances where I’m excited to be replacing one great friend with another. The Outdoor Wire Digital Network’s worked with Michelle since our beginnings, and we’ve always found her to be both professional -and fun- to work with. Like J.R., Michelle’s been around long enough to spot trends, talk technical details- and still enjoy a good laugh.

I hope you’ll all take advantage of the ATA opportunity to say hello to Michelle and wish her well in the new gig. She’ll still be providing services to the industry via her own company, BulletProof Communications ( but we’re looking forward to her adding her voice to our staff of editors. 

She’ll be working hard to keep the promise we made when we began: we’ll keep you posted.

--Jim Shepherd

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