Mason County News
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A SHOT in the Vegas
Wednesday, January 19, 2011 • Posted January 19, 2011

By the time you read this I plan to be in Las Vegas, attending the annual SHOT Show. SHOT is an acronym, which stands for Stolen Harleys Outside Texas.

Not really. It stands for Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade. SHOT is by far the biggest outdoor trade show in the world, and it’s held in Vegas every year because, uh, well, I don’t know why they have it in Vegas, but they do.

Which is not good. I plan to complain about the SHOT venue, because the governor of the state of Nevada has irritated me. Not that I know the governor of Nevada, personally, but he seems to be a jerk.

When I found out I would be going to SHOT I did some checking, and found that Nevada’s governor has not signed a reciprocal agreement with Texas in regard to concealed handgun licenses. Which means that, as a Texan, you can’t legally carry a gun in Nevada, even if you have a Texas Concealed Handgun License.

This is just, pardon my French, rude. About five years ago Rick Perry signed a reciprocal agreement with Nevada, so Nevadans who have CHLs can carry their guns in Texas. But Nevada’s governor has not, to date reciprocated.

So already I’m not happy with Nevada, but then, I don’t have a lot of experience with the state. I’ve only been there once before, and I didn’t stay long enough to even have to look for a bathroom. I was on my way to a writer’s conference in St. George, Utah, and flew into Vegas, because it’s the closest major airport to where I was going. I rented a car, and as I was leaving town I decided to drive down the strip.

The buildings, signs, lights, decorations, and everything I saw was magnificent. You can’t really describe it, and you can’t get an idea what it’s like from looking at pictures. The whole place is done in what I would call ‘Modern Overabundance Extravagant.’ What astounds me is that someone, anyone, could ever be so insane they would go there thinking they will win money, when that entire monument to greed was built using money people went there and lost.

Anyway, that’s where SHOT is, and I’ve wanted to go to the SHOT Show as long as I can remember. The problem is that, if you want a room in Vegas for SHOT week, you have to make your reservation a year in advance, and I can’t plan what I’ll be doing in half an hour, much less a year from now. So I’ve never seriously planned to go to SHOT.

And then my friend, Gordo, who owns KNS Precision in Fredericksburg, invited me to come out and sleep on the couch in his room during SHOT. Gordo goes every year, and has a booth to show folks how badly they need the parts and accessories KNS makes for guns, so it’s a business trip. Which is tax deductible. Is this a great country, or what?

When Gordo offered his couch, I had to think about it for, oh, two or three seconds before I accepted. Me getting to go to SHOT is like the average football fan getting to go to the Super Bowl, and mingle with all the players, plus all the players of all his favorite teams, for a week. And then coming home with a jersey and the game ball.

You can look up the SHOT Show on the internet and kind of get an idea of what goes on there, I guess. Lots of the Big Dogs of the guns and hunting world are always there, such as Wayne LaPierre, and Chris Cox, and Ted Nugent, although they usually don’t fraternize with the little folks like me, except by accident. R. Lee Ermey, better known as the terrible Gunny therapist in the commercial, is always there, but I plan to avoid him. I’m afraid he’ll make me do pushups or something.

SHOT is put on by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which is an organization that probably does more to promote guns, hunting, and the outdoors than any other group in the world. They’ve been running SHOT for, um, a specific number of years, the specific number of which I’m not at liberty to say, because I don’t know. But it’s been going on for a while.

The whole thing encompasses about 700,000 square feet at the Sands Convention Center in Vegas, and last year there were over 1,600 exhibitors. There’s a waiting list almost as long, and the story I’ve heard is that you can’t see it all, even if you get there early and spend every day running from one booth to the next. And I’m opposed to running, on general principles, anyway. But everyone unveils their newest merchandise at SHOT every year, so I’ll try to see as much as I can.

As long as I don’t have to do any pushups, it should be a blast . . .

Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and public speaker who never does pushups unless absolutely necessary. Pushups are never absolutely necessary. Write to him at PO Box 1600, Mason, Tx 76856 or

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