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The skyline of Oklahoma City provides a backdrop for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials May 7-8, 2016.

Paddlesports Retailer, the official tradeshow for paddlers, by paddlers, will move to Oklahoma City in 2018. The new location was chosen for its commitment to creating a spectacular, world-class urban paddlesports venue on the Oklahoma River.

“There are two primary reasons that we’re moving to Oklahoma City,” says Show Manager Marcus Shoffner. “First, we are simply out of space in Madison. We were overwhelmed by the response from both retailers and vendors at our inaugural show. Oklahoma City gives us room to expand with a new 200,000 square foot convention center slated to open in 2020. But most importantly, Oklahoma City offers the country’s premier paddlesports venue which will be the centerpiece of our event.”

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Bill Kueper was in Asia last November when he received an unexpected phone call in the middle of the night. Sutton Bacon, CEO of Nantahala Outdoor Center, was on the line bursting with ideas for a new trade show solely focused on paddlesports. It was a literal wake-up call for Kueper, vice president at Wenonah Canoe, and an overdue impetus for the paddlesports industry to come together.

“Of course I was on board, but I thought he meant we should launch the trade show in 2018,” Kueper says. “I read the press release in the morning and thought, holy cow, he meant 2017.”

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