Great American Outdoor Show Back with Strong Showing

posted on February 18, 2022

It was a welcome sight to see so many freedom-loving attendees at the NRA’s Great American Outdoor Show (GAOS) in Harrisburg, Pa., last week.

The show, which was held from Feb. 5-13 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex, celebrated hunting, fishing, the firearms industry and countless other outdoor traditions that are treasured by millions of Americans and their families.

Although the show was unfortunately cancelled last year due to local COVID-related governmental restrictions in the Keystone State, this year’s show was back in full force. With more than 1,100 exhibitors at the show, the 2022 edition saw a record-setting turnout of nearly 180,000 in attendance.

The show floor was packed with many well-known brands and manufacturers.

The show floor was packed with many well-known brands and manufacturers.

“After a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Great American Outdoor Show roared back to life welcoming outdoor enthusiasts and vendors from every corner of the globe and gave NRA members and like-minded friends the opportunity to once again gather to celebrate our cherished hunting and outdoor heritage,” said Joseph DeBergalis, Executive Director of NRA General Operations. “Simply put, there is no show in the world of this size and scope, and we are grateful for the continued support of our members, exhibitors, and local partners in south central Pennsylvania.”

As for the show itself, it’s not difficult to see how one could spend hours, if not days, in the various exhibit halls, which included archery, hunting, boating and fishing halls, all in addition to the main exhibit hall.

I tend to walk rather briskly, but the sheer number of attendees slowed my pace to no more than an amble. That’s not to say the lines were inefficient or disorganized, far from it actually, but the incredible number of show goers was something to take note of, especially given the circumstances of recent years. What’s clear, though, is that GAOS is back and Americans were ready for it.

Starting in the main exhibit hall, I recalled my first GAOS years ago and how I was almost overwhelmed by the sheer size of it. This year’s show is actually my first event since the outset of the pandemic and I must say that it was phenomenal to see so many in attendance. Although I was attending in a professional capacity, I almost felt like a kid around Christmas time, marveling at the variety of products across the outdoors and firearms industries.

I wasn’t the only one thrilled to be back at GAOS and connecting with people. “With COVID, a lot of people moved to Zoom meeting formats. Now that we’re back, it reinforces why we have these shows. I get to meet people, talk to them and connect with them. It’s much more personal,” Charlie Spires, vice president of Black Rain Ordinance, told America’s 1st Freedom.

Of course, NRA-ILA Grassroots was also in attendance, connecting with the countless attendees and continuing their diligent work in the fight for the very rights that this show celebrates.

After making my rounds in the main exhibit hall, I decided it was time to branch out and see the other ones. On the way, I tasted water buffalo for the first time from Wild Meats, a taste that stuck with me for the rest of the day. It’s little experiences like this that make the show even more delightful.

And how could anyone miss the NRA Foundation’s Wall of Guns? With more than 40 firearms on display, including rifles, pistols and more, you have a chance to win any one of them just by attending the show. All proceeds benefit the NRA Foundation and the future of the shooting sports.

For as much time as I spent in the main hall, I spent as much—if not more—time walking the rest of the 650,000 square feet of exhibit-hall space.

To truly grasp the vastness of the show, I would absolutely recommend spending more than one day, especially with the many events planned throughout the shows nine-day run. These include the 3D Bowhunter Challenge, live fishing demonstrations in the HAWG Tank and my personal favorite, the DockDogs Competition.

The 3D Bowhunter Challenge is an excellent display of archery prowess.

The 3D Bowhunter Challenge is an excellent display of archery prowess.

And although I don’t have any kids, there’s plenty in store for them as well, so bring the whole family to next year’s show.

I’m very much looking forward to seeing everyone at next year’s show and if you missed out this year, be sure to not make the same mistake twice!



Hollywood Gets It Wrong, Again

Reality tells a different story than Hollywood on Armed Citizens.

A Look At Some Of What To Expect In 2023

This year, we will push to expand constitutional carry, right-to-carry laws and fight the gun control groups' continued attempts to use the financial sector to effectively get the restrictions they can't get through legislatures. And this is just the beginning of what we will do!

The Politically Incorrect Truth About America's Rifle

For the truth on America's rifle, America's 1st Freedom spoke to the attorney who wrote the book on it.

Gun-Control Groups Present a Demand List to Biden

A long list of gun-control groups recently signed a letter telling President Biden that his gun-control actions are not enough. In his upcoming State of the Union Address, they want him to agree to much more.

Gun Skills: Shooting from Retreat

Shooting at a stationary target doesn't represent a defensive situation; it's important to "get off the X." But even when we do, we often forget rearward motion as an option.

Gun Review: Springfield Armory DS Prodigy

The DS Prodigy provides the same magazine capacity as most striker-fired polymer pistols; however, it also provides the familiarity–and much-better trigger–of the 1911.


Get the best of America's 1st Freedom delivered to your inbox.