PARK CITY RESORT, UTAH… I just remember the phone call from Head of T.A.C, Sean DeDrey. “Ryan, your booth is gone and you should get up here as fast as possible.” Travis and Maranda Hough and I were in Park City for our fifth Total Archery Event (TAC) of 2021. All day we had been on the top of the mountain watching dark ominous clouds in the sky, and were worried that at any moment the high altitude weather could change our day quickly, but the stormy clouds just seemed to pass over or go around. Things changed quickly around 5:50 in the afternoon, we had already locked up our booth for the night and had taken the gondola down to the base area of the resort.
It was late July, and we were in our 5th month of non-stop travel, and not gonna lie, the three of us were a bit tattered and beaten by the road life. The Total Archery events were our favorite events though and we were looking forward to another weekend of promoting FORLOH to the bow hunting community, hanging out with all our new industry friends, and hopefully getting some time to get out on the course and shoot for ourselves. TAC events have a special energy, great people all getting together to hike around the mountains and be challenged by the sometimes psychotic courses the TAC staff sets up. I still swear they are paid by the arrow companies, because the whole goal of shooting a TAC event is not to keep score, it's just how few arrows you lose or break.
"Within minutes, we watched a half dozen tents get destroyed or blown away."
Back to Park City. We started to notice the wind picking up when we got down to the base area, and the dark clouds were getting darker. Some booths were still wrapping up, but for the most part people were off to happy hour and relaxing for the night. Exhausted and dehydrated, we went straight to a restaurant to get a snack and a cold beer. While ordering, I heard people start screaming and many just started to run out of the restaurant to try and help save their vendor booths, which were starting to be challenged by the winds that seemed to come out of nowhere. Within minutes, we watched a half dozen tents get destroyed or blown away. Travis, Maranda and I were silent with each other for a few minutes, but we were all thinking that if it was this bad at the base area, our booth at the top of the mountain must be destroyed; that's when I got the call from Sean to confirm our fears.
Immediately, we hopped in the FORLOH truck and followed the TAC crew up a now muddy dirt road, in the rain, lightning and thunder. The speed in which we were headed up a steep mountain got the adrenaline going and made the situation feel much more dire. The visibility was quite bad and we actually lost our lead driver, but eventually found the top. The place looked like a war torn village with piles of twisted metal tents, tattered canvas covers and the TAC crew running around desperately to save as much as possible. Where our booth was just two hours earlier, was now just a pile of tables, chairs and some FORLOH apparel on the ground. Our tents were completely gone, our apparel racks destroyed, Travis’s bow was missing, and also a laptop bag.
"...this could be the most expensive day in Archery industry history."
Luckily for us the TAC team is full of solid/hardworking people that deeply care. They had been quick to gather up most of our FORLOH gear and get it safely stashed under the Prime Archery tent. Once our gear was more or less “safe”, we continued to help them with other booths. I remember making a comment that this could be the most expensive day in Archery Industry history when I looked at the Hoyt booth with 10’s of thousands of premium bows spread out on the ground. Eventually we made it back down the mountain in the dark, finally had dinner and a few drinks.
We woke the next day to perfect blue skies. Got to the top of the mountain to collect what remained of our booth and gear. We spent the rest of the day in the parking lot letting our product dry out and taking inventory on what was still sellable. Within a few hours the TAC team had found us replacement tents, offered us a new booth space and we set up the next day to salvage the weekend. Many other brands offered us help and supplies and encouraged us to stay. I’m sure it will be a story that comes up every year when we go back to Park City, and we learned a few valuable lessons.
- Get better tents and make sure our gear is nailed to the ground.
- Don't leave our personal bows or computers in the booth. Bows are expensive, take care of them.
- Always offer help to the other industry brands, because one day you might need their help.
By RYAN GUAY, FORLOH VP of Sales