Reno, NV - It's the ultimate hunters' market. At the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, visitors can get a good look at world class taxidermy displays of Africa's big five. They can also learn more about safari adventures and high-end rifles. This isn't the place for people afraid of guns.
"Let me say what a joy it is to be in Reno," Mike Huckabee, a former Arkansas Governor, told the crowd on Wednesday morning.
The Republican talk radio host didn't just talk about his love of hunting, but how he believes it's never been a more important time for hunters to stand up for their values.
"Over the next few years, we're going to be challenged as never before to fight the fight. Not for what was, but for what must be in the future. Because I want my children and now my grandchildren to be able to enjoy the experiences in the outdoors, hunting and fishing as I have grown up and enjoyed," he said.
While he never specifically mentioned gun control, it's what a lot of people were thinking about.
"I think he's absolutely right. There's no question about it," said Mark Brown, president of Brown Precision, Inc., which builds high-end firearms. Brown is a vendor who's traveled from Northern California to be here. This is his 37th year as a vendor at the SCI Convention.
"We're losing some of our values," said Brown. "I think in the world and in the United States and I think we need to get back to our roots."
Not everyone was open to talking about politics at the event. Most just wanted to focus on the actual event, the shopping, and the fellowship.
"I'm going to guess that this is my 16th or 17th convention," said Charles Oakes, who is visiting from Eastern Oregon. "I meet my friends here, we come from all over the country."
All those tourists mean a lot of business for local hotels, casinos, and restaurants.
"21.6 million dollars of an economic impact from this one group," estimated Christopher Baum, President & CEO of the RSCVA. He's also estimating about 20,000 people will attend the four-day convention which runs through Saturday.