The premier outdoor sporting goods distributor in North America, Big Rock Sports, LLC, is focused on supplying more than 15,000 retailers with the best products from over 1,200 manufacturers as well as the tools needed to navigate the complexity of today’s marketplace. The company is strongly committed to protecting the rights of hunters, anglers and all outdoor enthusiasts.
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At Big Rock Sports, we believe in giving back to our industry and our communities. It’s one of our guiding principles and written into our company’s Core Values. That’s why we created the Big Rock Sports Conservation Foundation.
This non-profit foundation supports the fight to protect the outdoors and our industry, while encouraging participation in outdoor sporting activities. It is managed by an independent board who ensures that our contributions go to causes that make the biggest impact such as:
Events that encourage participation in hunting and fishing
Community events aimed at the next generation
Organizations that serve our industry, such as ASA and NASGW
Strength Through Collaboration
For years, distributors, retailers, manufacturers and consumers have independently supported advocacy efforts. Through the Conservation Foundation, we can work together to collectively make a difference. This non-profit foundation will enable us to combine Big Rock’s resources with those of our customers, employees and vendor partners for a much greater impact.
The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) PAC and the National Shooting Sports Association (NSSF) PAC are organizations that financially support the Congressional election campaigns of individuals who help protect our rights to hunt and fish. These PACs are bipartisan, and base their contributions on the voting records of Senators, Congressmen and -women—not their party affiliation. They need the help of outdoor retailers and distributors to raise funds for candidates who will protect our industry.
What are the goals of these PACs?
Their mission is to ensure the outdoor shooting sports and fishing industries have an influential voice and presence in the American electoral process, advancing our mutual interests of conservation and promoting a healthy and vibrant outdoor industry. This is done by taking your donations and participating in key fundraisers for candidates that support the outdoor industry.
Why do we need the support of Congress?
Every two years the entire House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate are up for re-election (November 2018). This Congress will need to address key issues like reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act that governs all marine fisheries, and the passage of the Sportsmen’s Act, which provides more access to hunting and fishing, reduces industry regulations and improves access, habitat restoration and other sportsmen’s rights too numerous to mention here. Now more than ever, we need a unified voice and the ability to provide funds for re-election campaigns if we want to be heard in Congress.
How can you help?
If you are an NSSF or ASA member, you can visit their respective websites and learn more about NSSFPAC and SportfishingPAC. You can also sign up and contribute to the PACs. Each site is open to members. To learn more about joining NSSFPAC, contact Kayla Berube at email@example.com or 202.220.1340 ext. 206. For SportfishingPAC, contact Ashley Brinkman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703.519.8681 ext. 255.
The SHARE Act, more commonly known as The Sportsmen’s Act reincarnated, is currently in the House of Representatives as HR Bill 3668. After several attempts under a different bill name and number, it failed to pass. Now, the SHARE Act is back with a vengeance and this time it stands a very good chance of passing under party lines.
Key hunting and fishing components of House Bill 3668 include:
Prohibiting the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Interior (DOI) and the Forest Service (AG) from banning lead in fishing tackle and other outdoor equipment.
Requiring the National Park Service (NPS) to get prior state approval before enacting any marine fishing closures. This is vitally important to many of our retailers in park areas like Key Biscayne, FL, Cape Hatteras, NC and Cape Lookout, NC to name just a few.
Prioritizing hunting and fishing in federal land management planning discussions and negotiations, something not done in previous administrations.
The Bill is currently in The House Natural Resources Committee hearings and then will go through markup before passing out of committee and going to the full House. We’ll let you know when the time comes to write or call your Representative and let him or her know we need their support for this Bill.
In July, President Trump proclaimed it “Made in America Week.” While that might not sound very important, it was an opportunity for Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to promote the administration’s goal of strengthening “America’s tradition of outdoor recreation on public lands.”
During “Made in America Week,” the Department of the Interior hosted a roundtable with outdoor recreation leaders to brainstorm ideas for joint public-private efforts to improve and strengthen the outdoor experience in National Parks and other public properties. The efforts generated ideas that included energy-efficient cabins and more fishing access points.
Via our website, you can read an article written by Zinke that Fox News originally published on July 17. This is the best example that I have read to date on the Trump administration’s vision to use the resources of both the public and private sectors together to improve the access to outdoor recreation on public lands. In the article, Zinke offers his support to improve the experience Americans can expect when visiting our national parks, whether they are on land or in the water.
The previous administration’s disinterest in working with the private sector is well known. The Trump administration welcomes the private sector’s ideas, input and involvement, and brings hope and promise to many outdoor retailers and anglers alike. This is especially important in areas like Florida’s Key Biscayne National Park and North Carolina’s Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout National seashores, to name a few. Secretary Zinke and this administration are saying and beginning to do all the right things for our industry. Let’s hope this public-private joint effort continues for many years to come.
For more than 20 years, Big Rock Sports has led the fight to protect hunting, shooting sports and recreational fishing across North America. As Senior Vice President of Industry Relations, I am involved with several advocacy organizations, including the NC Sound Economy Coalition and the Board of Directors for the National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers (NASGW). I have also been a member of the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) Board of Directors for 12 years and currently serve on these ASA committees:
Keep America Fishing
Keep Florida Fishing Advisory
Trade & Commerce, Freshwater, East/Gulf Saltwater and West Coast Saltwater sub-committees
But I’m not the only team member taking part in advocacy efforts for our company. Bluefield Brands President Dave Martin serves on the Board of Directors for Coastal Conservation Association of NC and is a member ASA’s ICAST Show Committee.
Senior Communications Manager Shannon Farlow was recently selected to serve as a member of ASA’s Membership and Communications Committees. Shannon has been asked to use his communications knowledge and position as Sporting Retailer editor to connect Big Rock customers with the ASA.
Territory Account Manager Dave Strahan serves on the Board of Directors for the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association (NSIA) while Inside Sales Representative Brian Kurzbein is a past member of NSIA’s Board of Directors. These Big Rock team members—and countless more who are involved on a local level—are helping to ensure that our industry thrives.
When you think of “State of the Industry,” you immediately think of a Visioning Statement or even a comprehensive plan. For the fishing industry, the Center for Coastal Conservation (CCC), in collaboration with other marine industry partners, recently published A Vision for Marine Fisheries Management in the 21st Century: Priorities for a New Administration. This very well-thought-out and detailed visioning plan is a great first step for the marine fisheries industry in developing a working relationship with the new administration and incoming congressional members.
To quote Jeff Angers, President of CCC, “The recommendations outlined in the Vision seek to more effectively manage the marine recreational fishing sector—to improve the public’s access to public resources, to create jobs and to enhance conservation of fish stocks.”
According to Angers, “The report recommends a shift away from using the same tools to manage commercial fishing and recreational fishing at the federal level. It suggests new approaches should reflect the reality of the demand for recreational access to US marine fishery resources, the current economic activity associated with that access and the scientific data of the light footprint recreational access has on our fisheries access.”
My compliments to Jeff and his industry associates for the very proactive approach to enhancing recreational fishing access with the new administration and Congress. With recent victories allowing recreational fishing access in several marine monument designations by the Obama administration, it is imperative we keep the momentum going and the message that the recreational fishing community are the leading conservationists and visionaries to preserving resources and our access to them. The 11 million saltwater marine fishing activities and byproducts contribute $70 billion annually in economic activity and over 450,000 U.S. jobs. It is critically important for the new administration and Congress to understand the economic value that results from preserving and growing recreational saltwater marine fishing in this nation. Our future depends on it.
On August 26, President Obama announced a major expansion of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands National Marine Monument, otherwise known as “Papah?naumoku?kea,” to the maximum 200-mile limit allowed by the US Exclusive Economic Zone. It previously was limited to a 50-mile protected area created by President George W. Bush in 2006. Both of these proclamations were enacted using The 1906 Antiquities Act, which empowers the president to take such actions without the consent or approval of congress.
What does this have to do with recreational fishing getting its just due in conservation? Well, plenty. The original Act, passed in 2006 by President Bush, banned all commercial activities in these waters—including recreational fishing. The expanded 2016 Act from President Obama further restricts commercial activities in waters up to 200 miles from Hawaii, with the exception of recreational fishing and boating, which is allowed in waters 50–200 miles out—a major exception specifically written in and made for the recreational fishing and boating community.
While you might say this has no effect on me or where I live and fish or boat, it indeed does. It sets a precedent for all future presidents who may use The 1906 Antiquities Act to enhance their conservation legacy to make sure recreational fishing and boating are not part of the commercial restrictions, and are acknowledged for their conservation efforts. Separating us from commercial fishing, offshore oil explorations and drilling, mineral extraction, etc. and showing how recreational fishing is compatible with conservation is a big step forward, and would not have been possible without the diligence of ASA President Mike Nussman and special advisor George Cooper. They spent many hours on Capitol Hill outlining the conservation and economic impacts recreational fishing has on this nation. For that, a special thanks to both of you is well earned.
Big Rock Sports is proud to be one of 37 voting members of the National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers (NASGW), and also proud to serve on their Board of Directors. The NASGW works behind the scenes for the most part and is an unknown to most retailers, but provides a valuable service to all of you. Here is a brief rundown of who and what NASGW is, based on a recent survey conducted by an independent third-party called Growth Strategy Partners:
The NASGW core consists of 37 voting member shooting sports wholesalers across the US who provide two-step distribution for the industry
There are over 500 affiliate non-voting members of NASGW, consisting of shooting sports manufacturers, manufacturer rep agencies, international suppliers, media agencies and service provider companies all aligned with NASGW to support shooting sports retailers
Collectively the 37 wholesalers making up the NASGW provide the following service and support to our industry’s retailers:
4,000 total employees, of which nearly 1,000 are in sales and customer service
Over $1 billion dollars in stocked inventory to provide you next-day service from coast to coast
Over 4 million square feet of warehouse space to stock inventory for immediate shipment
Provide next-day shipping over 90% of the time with real-time inventory status look-up
Provide credit lines to all their retailers to expedite shipping of merchandise
With the upcoming election trending toward the biggest threat to our Second Amendment rights in may years and for the foreseeable future with Supreme Court justice nominees under the next President’s control, Big Rock Sports, the NASGW and many other shooting sports industry partners like the NRA and the NSSF stand united in support of your Second Amendment rights and the two-step distribution system to best service your retail stores.
By now, you have received my numerous emails from Big Rock Sports, as well as from the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and other organizations asking for your help in getting passage of the SHARE Act (HR2406) and the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015 (S405) that is currently being considered in the US Senate.
In the space here I won’t bore you again by going over the many, many positive provisions included in these acts that will benefit all outdoorsmen and -women whether hunter, fisher, boater, camper or hiker. The only thing I hope to achieve in this Sportsman column is to convince you that not contacting your Senators and Congressman is the equivalent of a “no” vote against these bills. Every letter, phone call, email and face-to-face interaction counts. The opposition to these two bills is using every means possible to derail this legislation for the third time. They don’t want us to enjoy the outdoor natural resources of this nation. No hunting, no fishing, no boating, no camping, no hiking! Help protect what is rightfully yours, contact your US Representative and Senators today.
Big Rock Sports, LLC ? 1141 Jay Lane, Graham, NC 27253 Phone 252.808.3500 ? Toll- Free 800.334.2661 Fax 252.726.8352 ? BigRockSports.com
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Big Rock Sports
The premier?firearms, ammunition, fishing, marine and camping distributor in North America, Big Rock Sports is focused on supplying local retailers with the tools needed to navigate the complexity of today’s marketplace. The company is also strongly committed to protecting the rights of hunters, anglers and all outdoor enthusiasts.