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Fastest 50 Growing Trade Shows
By John Kilroy on March 4, 2014

We’ve recently publicized the fact that the business magazine for trade shows, Trade Show Executive, published its list of Fastest 50 Growing Trade Shows in its February issue, and the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show scored in all three categories: Attendance, Exhibiting Companies and Exhibit Space. There are thousands of trade shows held in convention centers throughout the US each year, and only 90 made at least one of these categories in Trade Show Executive’s list.

Yes, it’s a big deal to make this list in all three categories. And I thought I’d post a quick note here to share my thoughts.

First, I’d like to take this news as a sign of the returning strength of the racing industry after the shock of such a serious downturn in the economy a few years ago. Things are by no means easy, but the times do appear to be getting better. The fact that the industry rallied in such large numbers to exhibit at the 2013 PRI Trade Show, and attend the PRI Trade Show, has to be a good sign. The fact that the racing industry had one of the most successful trade shows in the country is good news. All the activity on the show floor resulted in a very positive vibe. A lot of business got done. There was optimism for the future.

Also, at PRI, we feel a big obligation here to deliver one of the best trade show experiences in the country to all of our friends and colleagues in the racing industry. I’ve been here for 23 years, and we have tons of longtime PRI veterans throughout the building. Whenever exhibitors or attendees visit other trade shows, we want them to rank the PRI Trade Show at the top for such things as ease of participating, affordability, customer service, promotion, ROI and, yes, fun. It’s a personal mission for us at PRI. This is what we do. It’s the only thing that we do. And we feel we owe a top-notch experience to the tens of thousands of folks who make the commitment to particpate in the PRI Trade Show. Making this list is one potential way of verifying we’re doing alright.

Making the list for 50 Fastest Growing Trade Shows in Attendance was particularly gratifying.  The whole point of combining of the IMIS Show with the PRI Trade Show, and PRI’s big return to Indianapolis, was to get everybody all in one place at the same time again. All segments of auto racing were represented in the attendance, with motorsports professionals travelling far and wide to get to Indianapolis for the Show. During PRI’s time in Orlando, there were familiar faces who had gone missing. In Indianapolis, there’s was a terrific sense of returning to one’s hometown and seeing a lot of old friends again. Of course, the exhibiting companies were also quite pleased to see such a strong turnout of attending buyers. At PRI, we printed up more credentials for the 2013 PRI Trade Show than ever before.

When it comes to growth in number of exhibiting companies, the PRI team has always viewed the strength of exhibits as the number one tool in developing buyer attendance. The 1200 exhibits of the latest in racing products and shop machinery serve as a powerful magnet. A big part of the ROI for a motorsports entrepreneur to make the trip to Indy is the ability to take a true reading on evolving technology, and make plans to have the hot new racing parts in stock for the start of the next racing season. There was an extraordinary array of racing products on display throughout the Convention Center. We received many generous comments from attendees that they sure felt like they were seeing it all.

Finally, making these lists confirms the value of the big adventure we entered into with SEMA to purchase the IMIS Show, combine it into the PRI Trade Show and move PRI back to Indianapolis. SEMA’s leadership and resources made this happen. As with any bold action, there was risk. But, if we could pull this off in just the right way, it would be a great thing for the racing industry. And making the Trade Show Executive Fastest 50 Growing Trade Shows in all three categories confirms the racing industry’s enthusiastic response to the move.

About the Author
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John Kilroy is the Publisher of Performance Racing Industry magazine.
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