For the first time in 65 years there will not be a Wannenmacher’s Tulsa Arms Show in Tulsa this spring.
Due to coronavirus concerns, the owner and directors of the show decided Friday to cancel the world’s largest gun show, which draws a crowd of 35,000 to 40,000 people each November and April. It was set for April 4-5.
“I tell you what, I’m mentally shot,” Joe Wanenmacher said. “I think the kids saw the handwriting on the wall, and maybe I did, too, but I didn’t want to believe it.”
Wanenmacher has personally directed the show for 52 of its 65 years.
“I held out, but as a convenience to our exhibitors and spectators and everybody involved we cancelled while we have time to contact everybody,” he said.
Wanenmacher said that seeing a show in Baltimore cancelled with a week's notice and an Indianapolis show called off with just 24-hours notice led him to make the decision.
“We have three states and the city of Dallas where you can have no meetings with more than 250 people and I was pretty sure that would trickle down to us sometime before April 4 and 5,” Wanenmacher said.
The show is letting those who purchased advance VIP tickets or reserved a table carry those forward to the Nov. 14-15 show.
“We’ve carried on through some hard times, the 1968 gun laws, and we’ve weathered some storms but overall I personally have had such a success with the show it’s been beyond my wildest dreams,” Wanenmacher said.