By Lars Dalseide | January 15 2014 12:23

3-time National Champion travels from Georgia to Nevada to build business relationships

3-time NRA Long Range High Power Rifle Champion John Whidden partakes in the 2014 SHOT Show Las Vegas, Nevada - SHOT Show is more than a few football fields worth of fancy guns. Sure it's fun to ooh and aah over the latest innovations in the industry, but for most in attendance SHOT is about business. Police Department reps are here to upgrade their gear, reporters are getting the skinny on the new and improved, and vendors are meeting with customers.

Big or small, domestic or international, companies of all shapes and sizes are here to get things done. That's especially true for the smaller operations like Whidden Gunworks of Nashville, Georgia.

"As you can imagine, a face-to-face relationship always does more than a phone call or an email ever will," explained John Whidden, owner of the custom rifle and accessory shop. "At the end of the day, the relationships you make here at SHOT Show turn out to be the most valuable thing for us at Whidden Gun Works."

As a three-time National Long Range High Power champion, you could say Whidden knows a thing or two when it comes to rifles. But knowing how to pull the trigger can only take you so far in today's economy. For the savvy small business owner, you have to scramble to keep things rolling. SHOT allows owners like Whidden to do just that.

"I was just pow-wowing with the Sinclair-Brownells guys. Whidden Gunworks is one of their vendors. We also have a good relationship with MidwayUSA. That's what you can do at SHOT.

"It's an opportunity to build those relationships, get face to face and see what they need. There are also the companies we buy from like Pacific Tool and Gauge. A lot of custom gun folks and gunsmiths do business with them. To be able to stand here, tell them what you need and what you don't need, it's very valuable."

Held for the last five years at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, SHOT Show offers almost eleven football fields worth of opportunities to build relationships. Relationships that can make or break the small business owner. Some of those relationships may only last a season while some go on for decades.

For operations like Whidden Gunworks, the sacrifice of jetting across the country for a few days of maintaining those relationships can make all the difference in the world.

"It's a quick trip in to visit with the folks I need to see and jumping back on the plane to go back to work.

"A lot of people might think we're here having a good 'ole time, but it's all about business. And if being away from the business and family isn't challenging enough, I'm doing all on East Coast time."

A sacrifice most are willing to make for a few days a SHOT.

John Whidden winning his third NRA Long Range High Power Rifle Championship at Camp Perry

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