I recently attended the Safari Club International (SCI) convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. Despite the OTT crass glitziness of Vegas, I greatly enjoyed the convention and met some great subject matter experts who kindly shared some details about terrain, climate hydrology, fauna, and flora of a region of Africa that will be featured in my next novel.
While the African “Big Five” guides predominated, one thing that surprised me was the number of exhibitors at the show who hailed from The American Redoubt . I’m sure that there were others, since the convention floor was enormous and I just zoomed through walking it, but I did meet the folks from:
- Caribou Creek Log Homes  of Bonners Ferry, Idaho. They build traditional round log and Appalachian Dovetail log homes, as well as custom timber farm homes.
- Brockman’s Rifles  of Gooding, Idaho. They make innovative, lightweight folding stock bolt action rifles with integral bipods an free-floating barrels on both M700 and Kimber actions.
- Schnee’s  of Bozeman, Montana. They have a full line of outdoor clothing, packs, and boots– nearly all of them American-made.
- Horse Creek Outfitters  of Challis, Idaho. They guide hunts in Southeastern Idaho.
- Proof Research  of Columbia Falls, Montana. They build custom, bolt actions with carbon fiber-wrapped stainless steel barrels, in stocks that include both carbon fiber and Kevlar.
- Gary Neese’s Outdoor World  of Hamilton, Montana. They make a fantastic, patented, hunting jacket with a hidden daypack, removable pocket panels for both rifle cartridges and shotshells, plus sleeves that accordion-fold up so that the jacket becomes a vest. The jacket also has a clever hidden deployable optic orange vest in the back, to meet Fish and Game regulations and for emergency signaling use. I bought one right on the spot.
- Mountain Riflery  of Pocatello, Idaho. They make gorgeous big game hunting rifles on custom M70 controlled feed style actions with Oberndorf-style release floorplates. Most of their rifles are in California English Walnut stocks with amazing checkering and fitting.
- Rand’s Custom Hats  of Billings, Montana.
- Holland’s Shooter Supply  of Powers, Oregon. Darrell Holland is famous for his EDMed muzzle brakes, and he also runs a premier long range shooting school. His school is known for small class sizes and even individual instruction. He also recently started producing a very highly-rated American-made survival firestarter, under the trade name Lightning Strike.
All in all, the SCI convention was a hoot. I got to meet and talk with both NRA President Wayne LaPierre and veteran screenwriter and filmmaker John Milius. Just seeing all of the great taxidermy pieces was worth the price of admission. – JWR