Denver in running for trade show

Denver is making progress in snatching the $45 million behemoth Outdoor Retailers trade show from Salt Lake City, the head of the state outdoor industry office told Club 20 on Saturday during the organization’s spring meeting at Two Rivers Convention Center.

Officials with the Outdoor Industry Association and leaders of several large recreation-oriented companies decided to move the show after a stare-down with Utah officials over public lands issues.

The decision to leave the Beehive State didn’t come with a definitive answer about where to go, and that’s where Colorado’s interest comes to the fore, said Luis Benitez, director of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office.

“We’ve been identified” as one of the potential locations with the size and scale of convention facilities to handle a trade show of such size, requiring hotel rooms for as many as 30,000 people, Benitez said.

The difficulty from Colorado’s perspective is finding space in an already busy convention schedule, Benitez said.

For instance, a show that is five years into a 10-year contract might already have the space and dates that the Outdoor Retailers show needs to stage its summer and winter events.

It’s difficult to make changes when promotional materials have been printed, reservations made, and websites built for those events, Benitez said, likening the process to turning around the Titanic.

“We’re in the running” Benitez said, and the hope is still that the show can take place in Denver in 2018.


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