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HARRISBURG — The National Rifle Association said Tuesday it was selected to run an outdoors show next year in Harrisburg, stepping in after organizers canceled a similar event in February because their assault weapons ban created an uproar.

The NRA said the nine-day event, to be held at the Farm Show Complex, will be called the Great American Outdoor Show.

The show will be the successor to the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show, which drew a backlash and vendor boycott after organizers imposed a ban on assault weapons in the wake of the Connecticut school shooting.

The NRA said its show will feature shooting, hunting, fishing and boating.

NRA president David Keene, in Harrisburg for the announcement, said the organization would encourage firearms manufacturers to participate.

WHTM-TV said Keene envisions a national event that would include a country music concert and celebrity appearances. He said the contract was for two years but hoped to extend it after that.

The NRA beat out 16 other hopefuls to take over the show, which had been run by Reed Exhibitions.

Posted earlier on Cumberlink:

The Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center selected the National Rifle Association to host the annual outdoor show in Harrisburg, the NRA announced Tuesday.

Renamed the Great American Outdoor Show, the new event taking over for Reed Exhibitions’ Eastern Sports and Outdoors Show will debut in February and take place from Feb. 1-9, 2014.

The NRA said outdoor enthusiasts will be able to enjoy nine days of shooting, hunting, fishing, camping and boating exhibits, plus seminars, demonstrations and evening entertainment.

"The NRA's deep-rooted heritage in the outdoor lifestyle makes this partnership a perfect fit," said David Keene, National Rifle Association president. "Exhibiting in 50 sport shows annually plus producing the NRA convention uniquely positions NRA to deliver a great experience for sportsmen and women across the country. We look forward to expanding this event by inviting national firearm manufacturers to join more than 1,000 hunting, fishing, and camping related vendors as well as outfitters from around the world."

“We’re eager to welcome outdoor enthusiasts, families and NRA members from across the country to enjoy all that Central Pennsylvania has to offer," said Jeff Haste, chairman of the Dauphin County board of commissioners. “This show will have a tremendous positive impact on the local economy, particularly for retailers, hotels, restaurants and other businesses. We couldn't be more excited for the upcoming show in February."

For information about exhibiting at the Great American Outdoor Show call 1-866-343-1805 or visit

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