Inside the Reptile Industry with Loren Leigh – January 2013


As we wrap up 2012 and move into 2013 we close another amazing year of reptile events throughout the US.  Reptile shows are a huge part of our industry and allow us the opportunity not only to come together as a hobbyist group and share information, see new breeding projects, trade and sell our reptiles and equipment but also  to be part of this vast reptile industry.

I have been a part of the reptile community now going into my 19th year.  I personally have attended almost every show in the US, and traveled across the country countless times to be a vendor.  It is a huge part of our industry and I am lucky that our company LLLReptile and Supply Company is part of this segment and affords me the ability to attend.

Some of the highlights of this year included the kick off of the show year with the Reptile Super Show in Pomona, CA (Los Angeles area)  This show has grown 110% in recent years and has proven to be one of the best, if not the busiest show in the US.  Ramy, the promoter of this event has a style of promoting and accommodating his vendors that has never been seen in this industry.  This show drew 10,000+ people and hundreds of exhibitors from all over the US.  The show is full of events like fundraising auctions, daily auctions, and much more.  A must attend show in my opinion.

One of the most pivotal shows this year was the NARBC Tinley Park, IL (Chicago area) March ReptileSummit.  It was a chance for breeders, reptile industry stake holders, and owners of reptiles to meet and discuss laws and pending legislation in our industry.  It was a huge step for us in the fact that it was the first real chance to look at laws and the challenges that face us, and come up with solutions and game plans to tackle these issues moving forward.  The fund raiser for PIJAC and USARK was a huge success as well, and raised valuable money and resources to continue our lobby and fight.  This year the summit will take place at the NARBC show, I encourage everyone to take part and be active in this event.

As the year moved on there was a show almost every other month that again should be on anyone in the area’s show calendar.  The White Plains, NY Show (just outside Manhattan/Bronx) is a very unique show taking place 8 times a year.  This show is a one day show, and a mad house of selling, trading, and showcasing animals in a brief period.  People travel from states around to attend this show and it brings some of the top names in the industry time and time again.  One of the highlights of this show for me is the huge amount of breeders that flock to this event from all around.  The East Coast has many hobbyist breeders and seeing species being bred and kept that are not popular and seen at most events can always be found at this event.

Moving into the fall one of my favorite shows to attend and one of the hidden gems of all reptile shows is the Seattle Reptile Expo taking place in Puyallup, WA.  This show promoted each year by the Bean Farm brings some very exciting animals to the local fairgrounds and brings 1000’s from all around the Seattle/Tacoma area.  The Pacific Northwest is a very strong reptile community and they are one of the most passionate groups of keepers around.

In the fall there is another must see show – the Sacramento Reptile Expo in Sacramento, CA.  This show ran by Jeremy who owns two local stores in the area run one of the busiest shows in the US.  The show started in a small Red Lion Hotel Convention room in the beginning and today takes up the largest hall in the Sacramento Convention Center.  This show has a flavor all its own.  Shows programs, interactive animal displays, auctions, breeders from across the nation can all be found here.

In all the US has many great events and personally I enjoy them all.  There is always a great time taking place at the show, and the chance to see an amazing array of new species, new morphs, and some great examples of the livestock available, but it is also the chance to catch a meal and have good times with good people.  The Reptile Industry is full of some of the most interesting people, dedicated to their interest inreptiles.  We all come from so many walks of life, and have different interests in what we may keep and breed, but in the end of the day we all have that unique reptile bond.

I take great pride in being part of this segment of what we do here at LLLReptile and hope that you can one day take part in a event in a town near you.

Inside the Reptile Industry with Loren Leigh

Inside the reptile industry

So as another National Reptile Breeders Expo, NRBE, in Daytona Beach passes it is something I use as a bench mark of the year to come.  It is a chance to see the state of our hobby, where we are at on our legal efforts, what’s hot and what’s not, and how the hobby is functioning as whole.  One thing I can say for sure – Ball Pythons are still hot, and the morphs are amazing.  The amount of floor space taken by Ball Python breeders was at an all time high and they did not disappoint, the color and patterns produced today are amazing.  The show did not stop at just Ball Pythons, though: frogs, lizards, turtles and tortoises were also well represented.

But one thing that I am always in awe of is the auction that takes place and people’s participation.  This year was a record for the auction (Proceeds going to USARK) in which almost $50,000 was made.  This auction is very important financial tool for the reptile industry and it is just awesome to see our hobby step up to the plate and first donate but also take part in bidding and spending the much needed money for the USARK legal fight.  So I wanted to personally take a second and thank every person that took part and every vendor that donated.  Your donation (big or small) to this event will translate into huge things in the years coming forward.

The NRBE, if you have not been, is always a great social event and always proves to be a good time.  Anytime you have 1000’s of die hard reptile folks descending down on a beach front hotel in Florida good times are to be had.  The show, the turtle and frog talks, auction, everything there is a good time to be had.  We at LLLReptile did our part in some good times, had a great show and really enjoyed getting to hang out with fellow herpers.  It was nice to see familiar faces and friends and to meet new ones as well.  Hope to see everyone at show soon in your local cities (We will be there I am sure) and if you make to NRBE 2013 stop by and see us.