And what's the biggest story of the show? Not mega-hucking spey rods. Not fiercely snappy ultralight rods. Not a surging film industry nor a boom in flyfishing bloggers. No sir.
The biggest story is whether or not the show might move to Las Vegas beginning in 2007.
The truth is that the show is in, and will remain in, Denver until the AFFTA board and the show exhibitors decide otherwise. (An official announcement will be made regarding the 2007 dates and venue on Aug. 29) Our friends at VNU are very clear about their intent here: their job is to listen and respond directly to the market's desires.
Yes, it's true that the show organizers looked at a venue in Las Vegas earlier this summer (the Sands CC). But ... and here's the news flash of the day for you ... they look at new venues EVERY summer. They do it for FFR, for OR, for Interbike, and so on, and so on. It's their responsiblity to continually evaluate the best possible dates and venues for every market which they support, and if they didn't snoop around for better deals ... well, they'd be doing a very poor job indeed.
The instigator du jour is the publisher of Tackle Trade World, Sean O'Driscoll, who penned an editorial entitled "Flying to nowhere!" which ran hand in hand with a tabloid-style piece labeled "FFR: The End is Near." His main grind? One is that VNU has been delinquent in investing in the show. Another is that the fly-fishing industry would be better off merging forces with the conventional fishing market.
The cool thing about FFR is that it's the only show devoted to the survival of the specialty fly shop. Admittedly, it's a small show compared to OR and Magic. But it's a huge show when you realize that it's the biggest congregation of fly-only businesses in the entire world. Should we dilute this character by moving into a bigger pond? I don't think so.
It's up to VNU to host FFR in the best possible place at the best possible time. It's up to the rest of us to get people fishing.