Four hundred and fifty people are headed to Portland, Oregon today for the Outdoor Industry Rendezvous. That's right.... 4 5 0.
To be sure, the Rendezvous has more than it's share of top flight, high-draw speakers -- including Washington Governor Christine Gregoire, para-climber Chris Waddell, numerous cool kid CEOs and a record-setting list of future-predicting marketing & design consultants. It's also got the traditional trail service day at the end of the two-day agenda, when the group slaps on their Mtn. Khakis and rebuilds a few bridges and trails in the local area.
With such a broad diversity of speakers and sessions and activities, the "official" reason that most people attend the Rendezvous can be tough to pin down.
But when you look at the sobering economic conditions happening outside of the outdoor bubble, and compare it to the remarkable recession-defying growth that's continuing to fuel outdoor industry expansion .... the reason for attending this year's outdoor mega-player gathering is simpler than ever.
It has to do with a year-round business cycle that's tied to leisure time, personal health and environmental stewardship. It has to do with a competitive marketplace anchored by brands of integrity. And it has to do with designs that are both aspirational and inspirational, continually bringing the best out of both designers and end users.
In other words, people just want a little of that outdoor industry fairy dust.