At its Spring Outdoor Show in Phoenix, Ariz., Sports, Inc. announced its annual awards. Lafayette Shooters & Western Wear won Store of the Year; Wigwam Mills, Vendor of the Year; and David McDaniel, Smith & Wesson, Salesperson of the Year. The national sporting goods buying group also awarded its outdoor “Sporting Chance” grant, eclipsing the $400,000 mark for a program that promotes the sporting goods industry in communities around the country. 


Sports Inc. noted that Wigwam Mills has been a long-time supporter of Sports, Inc.’s independent dealers, working closely with Sports, Inc. staff to implement profitable programs. Wigwam also earned high marks from all departments at the Sports, Inc. headquarters office for ease of doing business.


“Chuck Toal and Jim Einhauser have really made this relationship a collaborative effort,” said Sports, Inc. Footwear & Apparel Marketing Director Travis Elam.  “Independent dealers and the customers who shop at their stores appreciate Wigwam’s commitment to USA Made products.  Corporately, Wigwam is a fantastic business partner, and they continue to support our dealers with programs that help them remain profitable.”


The buying group said David McDaniel of Smith & Wesson was named Salesperson of the Year was one of Sports, Inc.’s top five vendors in terms of overall dollar volume in 2008.  McDaniel was recognized for his role in implementing a program that has tripled Smith & Wesson’s volume with Sports, Inc. over the last three years.


“Salespeople like David are hard to find.” said Sports, Inc. Outdoor Marketing Director Andy Eames.  “He sees the big picture, understands our goals, and simply works with us to continue adding value to Sports, Inc. Membership.”

Lafayette Shooters Wilderness & Western Wear in Lafayette, La. has been a Sports, Inc. member since 1991, and is owned by Russell Jackson. 


“Lafayette Shooters typifies the ideal Sports, Inc. member,” said Sports, Inc. Vice President Nancy Wilson.  “They support the programs of the manufacturers who support our group, they support and attend shows, they have a solid financial status and excellent credit and payment history, and they have a good reputation in the sporting goods industry.”


Lafayette Shooters Supply also was the winner of the drawing for Sports, Inc.’s “Sporting Chance Award,” which is a $20,000 grant to be used for a sports related project in the winning store’s local market. 


Each year for the last 12 years, Sports, Inc. has funded this grant program.  From 1997 to 2003, one $30,000 grant was awarded to an SI member.  Starting in 2004, two $20,000 grants were given, one to an outdoor member and one to an athletics member.


The winning Sports, Inc. member uses the funds to advance sports related activities and facilities in its community.  Sports, Inc. Vice-President Nancy Wilson, who conceived the idea and conducted the drawing, said, “This is an opportunity for all of us to give something back to our communities and to the industry.”


Over the 12 years, Sports, Inc.’s $410,000 donation has been used to build sports fields and shooting facilities, fund shooting programs, and buy supplies and equipment for a variety of sports activities and groups.