Outdoor Retailer trade show is leaving Denver for Salt Lake City

Despite boycott threats by environmental groups and outdoors industry executives, organizers of the Outdoor Retailer trade show have decided to move the massive event from Denver back to its initial home of Salt Lake City in 2023.

The trade show, which puts on summer and winter events, moved to Denver in 2018 in response to industry boycott threats after Utah legislators asked President Donald Trump to repeal the newly designated Bears Ears National Monument. Last month Patagonia, REI, The North Face and other groups announced they would boycott the event if it moved back to Utah.

Prior to the pandemic, the Denver shows had economic impacts of $40-60 million, according to Richard Scharf, president and CEO of Visit Denver. Since then, some shows were canceled due to the pandemic, while others had diminished economic impact because of lower attendance. Denver’s five-year contract with Outdoor Retailer ends this year.

“I would have to say we’re very surprised,” Scharf said. “We’ve been working very closely with them for probably two to three months to put together what we thought was a very aggressive package — exactly what they wanted. Yeah, we were very surprised by this announcement, especially with hearing what the industry had to say about it.”

The Outdoor Retailer summer show will be held at the Colorado Convention Center June 9-11. The winter show will be held in Salt Lake City next January.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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