ICAST 2013 Highlights


Big Rock Sports sales, merchandising and management teams attended the 2013 International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades (ICAST) Show in Las Vegas, and we came away very impressed with the increased attendance and size of this year’s show, as well as the enthusiasm of the attendees. Over 9,500 registrants attended the three-and-a-half day show, which was highlighted by the addition of the International Fly Tackle Dealer (IFTD) Show for the first time this year.


On Tuesday afternoon prior to the start of the show, I attended the ICAST board of directors meeting where a variety of issues were discussed, one of which was the location of future ICAST Shows. Big Rock retailers in the Southeast region will be pleased to know that for 2014 and 2015, the show will be held in July at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, and will include the IFTD Show. In addition, discussions for future shows in 2016 and 2017 will also include Orlando, as well as Las Vegas, New Orleans and Chicago.


Following the board meeting, Wednesday morning’s Industry Breakfast kicked off the show with guest speaker Johnny Bench, Hall of Fame catcher from the Cincinnati Reds and an avid fisherman and outdoorsman. Johnny’s message resonated with everyone in the audience on the importance of family and fishing, and how important being involved in advocacy efforts like the new KeepAmericaFishing (KAF) membership campaign is to the future of our industry. Also at the breakfast, ASA provided the January 2013 “Sportfishing in America” study, as well as a “Special Report on Fishing and Boating 2013” provided by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF) and the Outdoor Foundation. Both studies point to recent increases in participation in fishing and boating, with continued opportunities for growth in our industry in the coming years. Future studies will include ways to engage groups such as Latin-Americans who are becoming a more pronounced segment of the population. Test markets will initially focus on Florida, Texas and California. I’ll be providing more details on both reports and the test markets in future blogs.


Thursday afternoon marked the kick-off of the KeepAmericaFishing (KAF) new paid membership program, the re-launch of its website with a much greater focus on mobile applications and the announcement that through its two-year-old advocacy campaign, KAF had registered over one million advocates for our sport, with a five-year goal of reaching three million. Big Rock Sports has been a part of this advocacy campaign committee from its inception, and continues to support KAF as a Primary Partner for 2013–2014. I encourage you to visit their newly redesigned website at KeepAmericaFishing.org.




Big Rock was also the Title Sponsor for the Picture your Family Fishing Sweepstakes that just concluded. The goal of this joint advocacy campaign was to encourage consumers to join KeepAmericaFishing (KAF) by driving traffic to Big Rock’s customers’ stores through a multimedia campaign that included email, online promotion, in-store retailer advertising and ICAST in-show promotion. Here’s a quick recap of the promotional and participation efforts:


– 670 Big Rock Customer stores participated

– 868,000 unique email marketing eblasts were sent to KAF members

– 24,250 “hits” back to the KAF website were received

-140 television sweepstakes ads were aired on the World Fishing Network (WFN)

– 200,000 WFN web and social media contacts were reached

– The sweepstakes resulted in 1,599 photo entries from 874 consumers in the US

– Winning entries received a Grand Prize fishing trip for a family of four anywhere ReserveFishing.com had a guide, plus in-store gift certificates and in-store Tackle Grab bags. Final results of the membership drive are still being tabulated.




Shifting to the shooting sports side of the business, Big Rock has joined the Treestand Manufacturer’s Association (TMA) to help promote treestand safety across the US, and bring more detailed information about these efforts to our customers. TMA’s purpose is to “promote hunting, hunting ethics, hunting safety, wildlife conservation, public awareness of the hunting experience, product safety improvement and fostering relationships with organizations with similar goals.” If you are interested in learning more about this association’s efforts, their website is tmastands.com, and they have a category for Retailer/Buyer Class Members. John Louk is the Managing Director.




On a final note, Big Rock is helping support the National Rendezvous Living History Foundation (NRLHF) with a donation of animal and box targets for their archery and shooting competitions held September 20–28 in Slippery Rock, PA. The organization’s mission is “To promote and educate about early American history.” Over 1,500 attendees will camp and compete in the Pennsylvania outdoors for the NRLHF Eastern Primitive Rendezvous, wearing and using gear from the period of 1640 through 1840 in North America. The organization is a federal non-profit organization that was formed in 1998 for the management of Living History Rendezvous. If you’d like to learn more about the Rendezvous, the website is easternprimitiverendezvous.com. Their “Booshway” is Chuck Grabenstein, and the Public Relations Manager is Greg Bagshaw.

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