November '20

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NOVEMBER 2020 THE SHOP 81 When it came time to make the tough decision, the entire staff of the Over- land Expo agreed that canceling its three 2020 events was the responsible choice. "The health and wellbeing of those in the overlanding community and beyond are our primary concern," says Nick Jaynes, director of communications. "We refused to risk exposing our exhibi- tors, fans or the communities in which we host our events to the coronavirus." Economics also factored into the deci- sion to cancel all in-person events, he adds, including Overland Expo West, planned for May in Flagstaff, Arizona; Overland Expo Mountain West, planned for August in Loveland, Colorado; and Overland Expo East, planned for October in Arrington, Virginia. "Even if we moved forward with our planned events, we could not guarantee that the events would not have to be canceled with little-to-no warning—as few as 36 hours ahead of the gates opening," he explains. "In the case of a last-minute cancelation, we knew many of our exhibitors and fans would be saddled with significant losses in both time and money. We couldn't in good conscience ask them to roll the dice like that." Overland Expos have been held for more than two decades, attracting approximately 900 vendors to each event and 22,000 attendees. Still, Jaynes says everyone involved under- stood why the shows wouldn't happen this year. "Our exhibitors and fans were very supportive of our decision," he reveals. Losses from this year's cancelations, which were announced in March for the West event and June for the other two, were "significant," Jaynes notes, but necessary. "In the interest of the overland com- munity and beyond, we knew post- poning the event was our only respon- sible decision." Thankfully, they didn't include firings, he says. "Ownership made a great sacrifice to ensure the entire event staff remained employed during 2020." One positive indicator that was revealed during the crisis, he adds, is that the adventure market is strong. "No one can underestimate the resilience and resourcefulness of the overland community." —Jef White Overland Expo: Cancelations Were the 'Responsible Decision' The Overland Expo staff made the tough decision to cancel the group's three events in 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo courtesy Overland Expo)

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