The ATA and SHOT shows are finally over for 2012. We’ve spent so much time pointing out cool gear and favorite products from the shows this year that I think it’s only fair to point out my least-favorite aspect of the shows—the Realtree Sweater Vests.
To my knowledge, these v-neck, Merino wool garments aren’t commercially available (you’d best kiss the ground and then thank the stars above for that). They were custom-ordered as the official “show uniforms” for the male Realtree employees at this year’s shows.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that overall, the reception from those of us required to wear them wasn’t favorable. However, they were the center of many-a-fun conversation over the two weeks. Here’s a sampling of the commentary:
-Jeremy Eldredge, Hoyt (interrupted a meeting to shout this at Tony Hansen): “Look at those things the Realtree guys have to wear. Hey Hansen, nice vest! Bwahahaha!”
- Kristy Barnes, Realtree: “Those would look much better with a big tuft of chest hair sticking out of the v-neck.”
-Dave Hurteau, Field and Stream: “You look quite dapper, Brantley. Kind of like Rick Santorum.”
-Dana Peacock, Realtree: “No sweater vest today? Gimme some knuckles. I’m not wearing my leopard-print show shirt, anymore, either. It gave me a horrible rash.”
-Jonathan Harling, Winchester: “See? Words can hurt. I told you to stop teasing me about my sweater vest last year, and you wouldn’t. The tables have turned, buddy.”
-Tony Hansen, Realtree: “Yeah, of course I know the vests weren’t on the schedule to wear today. I don’t care. I really like them.”
-Brita Hinderliter, Gray Loon Marketing: “I can’t even believe how sexy that is.”
-Dodd Clifton, Realtree: “I’m glad you boys are wearing your vests, but my God, it looks like a couple 5-year-olds put them on. How did you already get them that wrinkled and stretched?”
-Stephanie Mallory, Realtree: “No you weren’t supposed to put them in a washing machine. They shrink like crazy. Of course, that means now they’re skin-tight. Even better!”
-CJ Davis, Nikon (via text message at 1 a.m.): “You sleeping in that vest, Brantley?”
-Art Tucker, Realtree: “Yeah, it’s cold. Vegas gets cold at night. Bet you wish you had a sweater vest, like mine. But you’re not a team player, are you?”
-Michelle Brantley, my wife: “Seriously. Seriously. Just put it on without a shirt underneath and flex for a photo. Just one.”
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