Expo spreads out this year

Nearly 900 exhibitors and an estimated 15,000 dealers are expected to attend the 35th annual International Powersports Dealer Expo in Indianapolis, Ind., Feb. 15-17.
Held at the Indianapolis Convention Center and RCA Dome, the event traditionally attracts attendees from all areas of the powersports industry – from service providers to manufacturers to distributors and dealers. This year, it’s also expanded to the nearby Westin Hotel.
Jeff D’Entremont is show manager for Advanstar’s TEAM Powersports, and is helping put together the Expo. D’Entremont, who also serves as a show manager for the International Motorcycle Shows presented by Cycle World and Toyota Trucks, says that the consumer shows have experienced some of the best attendance numbers in years and serve as a good barometer.
“There’s quite a buzz out there in the industry right now. There’s a lot of new models and accessories, and what we have seen so far this year at our consumer events is that the industry is still strong – the economy may appear to be flattening on the surface, but the growth is still there,” D’Entremont said. “We’re in a feel-good business, people really enjoy the motorcycling industry, and that’s been evident in all of our events.”
D’Entremont says attendee pre-registration as of Jan. 20 was up about 8%, or “well ahead of last year,” and says the exhibitor base also has grown – 887 firms signed up by Jan. 20.
“There will be a significant number of new companies, many of which will be housed in the Westin Hotel Ballroom – connected to the dome by a sky bridge,” D’Entremont said. “I believe about 100 booths will fit in that ballroom, which we expanded into for the first time this year. So, if people are looking for new products, that will be a great place for them to go.”
In addition to the Westin Ballroom location, look for other new exhibitors and products in the new Chinese pavilion, located upstairs in the Orange Zone; in the “bigger and better” American-made section; and in the revamped New Product Studio at all four entrances.
The OEM presence at the Dealer Expo has been fairly consistent over the years and, for 2003, the Expo welcomes first-time attendee Victory Motorcycles, as well as such firms as Swift and Rolling Thunder – or, as D’Entremont says, “good representation from the larger vehicle manufacturers and from the smaller vehicle manufacturers.”
So who is the go-to person at the event?
“The most recognizable face out on the floor is probably Tracy Harris. She has been with us for 15 years,” D’Entremont said. “But we’ll be keeping our staff out there, so finding someone shouldn’t be a problem.
“The most important thing for everyone – attendees and exhibitors – to remember is to plan in advance. Advance preparation is always the key to this show because of its size,” says D’Entremont.

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