The outdoor and winter sports segments of the sporting goods industry were the pretty girl at the dance in 2004 as private equity firms hovered at trade shows looking for the next opportunity to get into a business that to most internal observers looked like a rather flat year.

Perhaps it was the allure of the potential on the military side of things after 9/11 and the Iraq war bought many outdoor companies front and center on the USA Today so frequently over the last two years. The industry isn’t just getting attention on the vendor side either as we look at the changing face of outdoor retail over the past year as retailers either got gobbled up, grew rapidly, or launched IPO’s.

With all this in mind, The B.O.S.S. Report looked back over the last year to find the themes that became the central story lines for the year. With that in mind, we humbly present the top stories of the year for 2004: