It would be a mistake to say visitor attendance was low. It was almost non-existent if you subtract those who came on non-paying VIP passes handed out by exhibitors. As the two-day event wound down, some exhibitors were saying they had under a half-dozen potential customers come by their booths. Some gave a figure as low as two.
As for the auction part of the program, only two of 10 trips offered drew bids large enough to be considered. One was a $6,000 hunt in New Zealand that sold for $2,000, and the other was a hunt on the White Mountain Apache Reservation that went for $67,000 - $10,000 over the stated value. The latter, mind you, was a plum of an opportunity that gave the buyer the right to hunt anywhere on White Mountain for a full 37 days. The flare of excitement over the hunt provided an inkling of just what the show could have been if attendance had been better. Importantly, the winning bid in fact, most of the bids for this hunt came in by phone, not from the floor from on-scene visitors.
As the show wound down on Monday, the disappointment on the part of exhibitors was almost palpable. But to her credit, Sandra Encinas confronted her critics, offered her apologies and earnestly asked for helpful feedback. She says she was as surprised by the bad turnout as they were. Up until the day of the show, she says she was........(continued)