They just kept coming and coming.
A single-day record 40,894 shoppers flooded through the turnstiles on day-one of the combined Cowboy Channel Cowboy Christmas and RMEF Hunter & Outdoor Christmas Expo, presented by Cinch, in the South Halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center. When it ended a week and a half later, nearly 280,000 people attended.
And Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation volunteers and staffers were there to greet them.
The RMEF membership booth, along with the Great Elk Tour and Shop RMEF saw a steady flow of traffic. The booth offered raffle ticket packages with a vast array of prizes including a new Polaris Ranger, firearms, merchandise from our many sponsors and even chances to get in on the Yeti Ford Bronco giveaway. Those who stopped by were eager to contribute with the dollars generated to help further RMEF’s mission.
“The hard work and dedication of a great team included volunteers and regional directors from all over the nation. And that helped to make it a banner year,” said Kris Lofstrom, RMEF director of eastern operations. “That included more than 30 life memberships sold and a busy day every day at the membership booth.”
And when the expo doors closed at the end of the day, many volunteers helped with evening RMEF Calcuttas, where Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) contestants were auctioned off to the highest bidder with winners decided by results of the rodeo. The daughter-in-law of an RMEF state chair was lucky enough to win one of them. So, what did she do? Head to the casinos to try her luck? No, she visited the RMEF membership booth the next day to buy her life membership, rounding out another entire family of life members.
Open to the public daily with free admission from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and running in conjunction with the NFR, the expo featured hundreds of exhibitors with the latest in hunting gear and apparel, firearms, optics, hunting and fishing trips, western décor, fine art and much more.
RMEF also organized the Cowboy Revival show hosted by Nashville songwriter Shane Minor featuring music and stories with country music artists at The Cowboy Channel Cowboy Christmas’ Ariat Rodeo Live Stage. 24 Oxford at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas hosted a nightly NFR viewing party with RMEF Calcuttas, rodeo action on the big screen and Calcutta payouts followed by more live country music from Cowboy Revival artists. There was also a new nightly RMEF Calcutta at the South Point Hotel.
“This ten-day run is a celebration of elk, hunting and our mission,” said Steve Decker, RMEF chief revenue officer. “We appreciate our volunteers for their good work, our partners from across the outdoor industry and so many other supporters who came together with them to help ring in the holiday season.”
The 2023 RMEF Hunter & Outdoor Christmas Expo, presented by Cinch, is scheduled for December 7-16 in Las Vegas.