Last week, we traveled to the Outdoor Retailer at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. It’s the outdoor industry’s largest event for buyers, media, and others to gather, place orders, and show off new products. More importantly, it’s an opportunity for the outdoor recreational community to flex its muscle and assert itself as the $887 billion economic driver that it is.
At the OR, we like to remind folks that horse owners are the most outdoors-y of this outdoor community. We’re two million strong and have a $100 billion impact on the domestic economy. Individually, we tend to be smart, active, and loyal to brands that prove themselves tough, savvy, and worthwhile. We care about what companies are doing behind the scenes, be it sustainability or making product in America.
We love to attend the Outdoor Industry Alliance breakfast, held at 7 am every year. It consistently elevates the outdoor recreation conversation and inspires us to do more, collaborate, and think big. Plus, what’s not to like about complimentary breakfast and coffee?
This year’s keynote was no exception. Afdhel Aziz may not have climbed El Capitan without ropes, as past speaker Alex Honnold did, but he had bucketfuls of ideas for how to do more and pivot with industry challenges.
“The biggest problems are the biggest opportunities,” he said.
Watch his keynote address “Good is the New Cool” here.
On to the show, which features more than 1,300 vendors and is visited by more than 20,000 attendees. Here are some of our favs:
Stanley. Look for their Go Tumblers at the Best Horse Practices Summit.
All Good, among other offerings, they make the best lip balm on earth.
Ranger Ready, a Deet-free bug repellant.
Flow Fold, a Maine company that makes fantastic dog leashes as well as other products.
Bronwen Jewelry, pretty and pretty affordable earrings and necklaces, made in Oregon.
Darn Tough, hands down, the best socks around.
Chill Angel, luxurious, superfine merino dreamwear.
Shar Snacks, super yummy organic trail mixes.
Good to Go, scrumptious gourmet camping food made in Maine.
Cotopaxi, this youthful Utah company has come a long way since we started loving it in 2015.
Nuun, think Airborne tablets but with better ingredients.
Sweetwood Smokehouse, from Colorado, great beef and turkey jerky.
New Mexico, yes, this state is making all kinds of initiatives to attract business while also greening-up and doing more to engage us outdoor recreationalists.
Kimes Ranch Jeans, perfect for us riders, made in America and Mexico.