SUWA = outdoor retailer = overland expo


Currently without Jeep
So Jo, Ut
Doing a little reading online.
We all know the outdoor retailer show moved from Utah for a few years over our leaders trying to keep public land open. SUWA is often present and supported by the outdoor retailer show.

My reading has learned me that Emerald expositions owns outdoor retailer.

Emerald expositions is the same as emerald holding.

Emerald holding owns overland expo.

Overland expo claims:

‘The Overland Expo was launched by Roseann and Jonathan Hanson around 13 years ago in 2009. The idea of the expo was germinated by these two along with a group of like-minded friends who wanted to promote conservation and responsible overland travel.’

This all seems to me that overland expo and SUWA are one and the same.


Sandy, Ut
No, ORS moved from Utah because they needed/wanted more space and hotel rooms at or near the convention hall. The land situation and 'Take Back Utah' was a red herring. The issue was far more from some of the major vendors at ORS versus the Expo company themselves. Many vowed to not participate in ORS if it came back to Utah.

I've been to many ORS over the years and far more Overland Expo's. While ORS has plenty of SUWA supporting companies that I disdain, I've never seen SUWA proper there. There are also many companies at these shows that are the antithesis of SUWA. Moral of the story, Emerald is a tradwshow company and will sell booth space to anyone with a pulse and a checkbook.
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Who Dares Wins
Supporting Member
Trip Leader
I've been a contractor for Overland Expo for the last two and a half years, so I can categorically say that Overland Expo ≠ SUWA.

There are many valid complaints one can have about Overland Expo, but being a front for radical environmentalists is not one of them. Jonathan and Roseann, two people I've had the chance to get to know reasonably well, are certainly more "Liberal" than your average RME'r, but they are still people that fully support motorized access to the back country (they're also big gun collectors, BTW). They sold OE in late 2019 to a company called Lodestone Events, which was primarily owned by two sisters, Lindsey and Jessica, out of Indianapolis. These two women have worked in event management forever, and they do a very good job at it. But, they came from the motorsport/sandsport side of things and have never been 4-Wheeling/Overlanding in any real capacity. But, they held onto most of the staff from before they bought it and recruited people (like me) who came from the community to fill most of the positions. They grew it from two events (West and East) to four (MTN West and PNW), and along the way did a good job of engaging with groups like Tread Lightly! and COHVCO. They also had a big initiative to work with OEM's to change their advertising from showing vehicles blasting through the desert kicking up rooster tails to showing responsible use with limited success.

All that said, Lodestone did not buy OE to turn it into a voice for Multiple Use, they bought it to make money. So when Emerald made them an offer, they sold for a pretty decent payday. Since Emerald took over, a lot has changed and the operations side has become a lot more corporate. You're also seeing that in the events, and this will change even more next year when they phase out most of their outside contractors and bring everything in house (my contract expires next week). But again, while Emerald occasional panders to the radical left to keep some of their ORS vendors happy, they're mainly there to make as much money as they can. As Kurt pointed out, the real reason that they moved ORS was not because of Take Back Utah, but rather because the state wasn't quick enough to build a taxpayer funded hotel attached to the Salt Palace. Once that was there, guess who came back and told Patagonia and REI to suck it up or see you later?
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Currently without Jeep
So Jo, Ut
Thanks Kurt and Stephen. I knew both of you would have good info.

However, as you’ve said, even if they are just chasing the dollar, not having a compass and direction and being loosely associated with and occasionally pandering to a group like Patagonia and SUWA, it shows that they have no true backing or support for open land and access.

At best they are complacent, at worst an occasional advocate for closure.