The 2018 Mississippi Valley Bike + Outdoor Expo (MVBO) eclipsed organizer, vendor and attendee expectations on Sunday, January 14. The 40,000-square-foot Gateway Center in Collinsville, Ill., was packed to capacity with 112 exhibitors and 178 booths, the largest number in the event’s 16-year history.
The expo also boasted the largest attendance in its history, with 2,500 people coming in from across the region and several states. The MVBO included vendors spanning the gamut of outdoor items and information, from cycling-related to running/walking, fitness/nutrition, camping/hiking, water activities/sports, climbing, multi-sport and more.
A larger attendance also meant that St. Louis Bicycle Works, the non-profit organization that benefits from event ticket sales, saw a significantly larger donation, with this year’s final amount exceeding $7,240.
“This is an incredibly exciting time for the local outdoor community,” said Brad Kovach, editor/publisher of St. Louis-based Terrain Magazine, the producer of the event. “People are really pulling together, learning about and embracing the outdoors, and moving forward with plans for new outdoor programs and initiatives. We saw that come together at this expo, which was our largest and best attended yet.”
Both exhibitors and attendees agreed.
“The expo did an excellent job of bringing together multi-sport organizations and vendors that appeared to attract a huge crowd,” said Bryan Adams, board member for Gateway Off-Road Cyclists (GORC), a longtime MVBO exhibitor. “The hard work showed on how well it was run. I don’t think we have ever had that much interest at the earlier events. The day went by fast, and I was almost hoarse from all the talking.”
Other feedback included:
- “We needed to increase contact with our clientele, and that’s who came to the expo. Perfect.”
- “This is one of the busiest expos I’ve worked in my career! Full of like-minded folks seeking outdoor adventures.”
- “Great event for families, athletes and those with a passion for the great outdoors.”
- “I attended the bike swap for years before it became the expo it is now. It just keeps getting better. Keep doing what you’re doing.”
- “I really enjoyed it and was surprised with all the vendors and information dispersed regarding biking and running.”
- “Keep up the good work. Your show adds much value to the bicycling and trail-riding community of St. Louis.”
With the success of this year’s expo, plans are already underway to expand the event in 2019. Stay tuned to bikeandoutdoorexpo.com for more information as it becomes available.