Exhibitors in Logistics Snafu at Dallas Convention Center; Good Thing Nobody Was Packing Heat

After outgrowing the space at Dallas Market Center, where it was held for years, the mother of all Texas hunting-and-fishing expositions is set to open tomorrow at the Dallas Convention Center. But right from the get-go, the Dallas Safari Club’s First Light 2010 show ran into some rough sledding at the DCC.

Charles Snider of Argentina’s Estancia Alicura, one of 1,100 exhibitors, said he and three employees were stuck in line at the DCC from 12:50 p.m. yesterday until 4:30, waiting to unload their truck and trailer and set up their booth, before finally giving up for the day in frustration. At Market Hall, where there were just two loading docks–the DCC, by contrast, has 30 to 35–the process typically took 30 minutes max, Snider says.

Frank Poe of the Dallas Convention Center says the Dallas Safari Club, not the DCC, is in charge of loading and unloading. (We’ve traded phone messages but not talked yet with the DSC). Poe also said the club apparently has made some “modifications” to speed the process along. Must have; Snider says he and his crew returned today and it (only) took them three hours to get ‘er done. Twenty thousand people are expected to attend First Light, which will be spread across 300,000 square feet of space during its four-day run ending Sunday.

UPDATE: In a voicemail, DSC executive director Ben Carter says he’s surprised the DCC is blaming the “inefficiencies” on the Safari Club. The club was promised enough loading docks to get the job done, he says, yet wound up Tuesday with only four. Despite the “limitations that the convention center failed to tell us about,” Carter says, the issues were resolved today and “next year will be a lot smoother.”

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