The first Annual Women’s Outdoor and Shooting Industry dinner exploded with excitement on Tues., Jan. 15, in Las Vegas, Nev. The planning for this event began as a small meet-and-greet for no more than 30 attendees.
When word got out, the attendee list grew exponentially. Hosts Britney Starr, of Starr & Bodill African Safaris, and Jacquelyn Kelly, of Armed in Heels, found themselves hit by increasing attendee limits as they spent many hours planning a wedding-sized event that eventually numbered 150 guests. Sponsors began appearing, eager to underwrite such an event, held at Gilley’s Barbeque, located in Treasure Island Casino.
The number of women attending was said by some to be “amazing” and by others to be “well expected.. Kristen Oxley, one of the event’s Platinum sponsors, Lasermax, said, “The response shows how pent up the need for an event like this is.” She also mentioned that she expects an explosion in the number of women who want to attend next year’s event, especially when they hear how well this one was received.
The guest list was diverse, but the sisterhood of the industry stood out above all. Among the crowd were SWAT docs, creators of lady hunting apparel, shooting and tactical apparel and accessories, archery champions, shooting instructors, hunting guides, mentors, gunsmiths, army veterans, police officers, shooting champions, magazine editors, photographers, writers and more. With such a dynamic list of backgrounds, it was inevitable that friends were made and right before our eyes partnerships were formed. As guest Cristy Crawford said, “It’s the ‘wow factor.’ That is why we do what we do.”
Other quotes heard amongst the group included these:
“We’re all about helping each other to do better.” Karen Butler – Shoot like a Girl
“It’s nice to see some of the younger women getting involved and taking it seriously.” Stacey Huston – A “Focus” in the Wild
Referring to instructing new shooters, “It’s so great when they turn around after that first shot and smile.” – Jessica Merlino – Guns and Lace
“It is cool to see so many women here with similar interests.” Ruth Cusack – 2013 Próis Hunting Apparel Award Winner
“It is wonderful to see the networking here. It is phenomenal!” Rachel Ahtila – Canadian hunting guide
The Women's Outdoor News, aka The WON, features news, reviews and stories about women who are shooting, hunting, fishing and actively engaging in outdoor adventure. This publication is for women, by women. View all posts by The WON