SALT LAKE CITY — Governor Spencer Cox suggested the state has moved on from the massive Outdoor Retailer trade show, even as show organizers are contemplating returning to Utah.
Asked about some major outdoor recreation companies threatening a boycott should the show return to Utah, the governor dismissed it by saying "the truth is they threatened to leave and we didn't miss them." At his monthly news conference on PBS, the governor said it would be nice if they came back — but the state has moved on.
"We did not miss them at all. I think it would be great to have them come back and they’re hurting their own cause. I think that’s what they don’t realize is they gave up their seat at the table," he said.
Some of the major companies at Outdoor Retailer have threatened a boycott over Utah's stances on public lands, including lawsuits challenging President Biden's executive order restoring the original boundaries of Bears Ears National Monument. It was the state's position supporting the monument shrinking that prompted a push in 2017 for the show to leave Utah.
Outdoor Retailer left Salt Lake City for Denver in 2018. Now, the show is considering new locations once its contract is up this year in Denver.
Gov. Cox said they were welcome to come back.
"Come back and have the conversation. We would love to have you," the governor said, adding: "It would be amazing. Or don’t. Whatever. It’s fine."