Outdoor Retailer's Healthy SLC Break-Up

As Jeremy Pugh said in his blog, the big break-up is finally upon us. That’s rightafter decades of a tumultuous relationship between the Outdoor Retailer convention and Utah, OR has found a better, more stable and encouraging new partner in Denver. Read about the sad romance here. And click on everything. 

Though Pugh claims that SLC is now the dorky, less coordinated Archie Andrews to Denver’s Fonzie-esque cool. I’d like to paint a different portrait:

OR is the sexy, active Gal Gadot that everyone wantsand SLC had ‘er. How did we do this? By being ruggedly handsome as wellno joke, just look around you. With all our national parks, Utah is the idealized dreamboat of the adventurer in all of us. So, we got OR. Was it because of our brains? Of course not. But it was definitely because of our state’s body like a backroad.

Then comes Denver. Denver posts ad after ad, courting OR with easily-fulfilled promises like protections for public lands and other things (*cough* weed *cough*) that appeal to OR’s natural sensibilities. A threat to SLC? As if. But then SLC, like the James Dean-style rebel without a cause that we are, we thumped our chests and passed H.C.R. 001declaring that the federal government should hand all public lands back over to the state of Utah for really important ventures, like oil drilling, instead of, like, you know, hiking and stuff.

OR told us that they would leave, but we didn’t listen and took the tens of thousands of people who come here twice a year to support our restaurants and local business for granted. All of a sudden, Denver started looking really goodsupportive and demonstrating a commitment to shared values rather than dominance.

OR doesn’t regret their time with us; it was a learning experience, a time to grow and find out who OR is and who they could become. But OR has outgrown the attraction to the four-wheel riding, careless, impulsive (and, face it, a little dim) boyfriend of their adolescent years and embraced the stable, laid-back (aka weed!), condo-owning Denver of its Prius-driving dreams. 

Let this be a lesson to all the legislators out there: Utah needs outdoor enthusiasts, and we can’t afford to keep losing them to really cool places like Denver.

Ashley Szanter
Ashley Szanterhttps://www.saltlakemagazine.com/
Ashley Szanter is a contributing writer for Salt Lake magazine as well as a freelance writer and editor. She loves writing about everything Utah, but has a special interest in Northern Utah (here's looking at you, Ogden and Logan).

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