ORLANDO, Fla. – LiveTarget was among the companies that doubled down Wednesday night during the New Product Showcase “Best of Category” Awards reception at the Orange County Convention Center.
Grant Koppers and his team added to their growing list of ICAST accolades with two Best of Show awards. LiveTarget won the soft lure freshwater and saltwater categories for their Hollow Body Crawfish and Fleeing Shrimp.
“It’s them,” Koppers said pointing to his team of about 15 all donning red company shirts. “They’re now coming up with the ideas. They’re now coming up with the development. They’re designing it.
“Remember when we launched, it was Koppers LiveTarget. We dropped the Koppers. Everybody wants a piece of that.”
Koppers said he believes his team is the hardest working in the industry, and he can prove it with photos of the company parking lot.
“I call it my Friday 5 o’clock collection,” he said. “You’re going to see our parking lot full of cars, sometimes at 9, 10 o’clock. These guys are working long hours. We spend a lot of time on product development. These guys have their heart in the game.”
And the work is paying off. For the first time, they had back-to-back awards. ASA president Glenn Hughes, who presented the awards, gave them the freshwater trophy, then while still on stage, told them to stick around as he named the saltwater winner.
It was a night of multiple wins for several companies as media and buyers voted on the best products in 25 categories.
Shimano America did a double take in reels, winning in freshwater with the Curado DC and taking saltwater with the Tekota 500 Levelwind.
YETI won the for Fishing Accessory with its Tundra Haul and its Panga Backpack 28 took top honors in Fly Fishing Accessory.
AFTCO also won twice. It’s Hydronaut Heavy-Duty Waterproof System took best Technical Apparel, and the Hexatron Performance Fleece won in Lifestyle Apparel.
Walking away with the most hardware was St. Croix, the big stick in fishing rods. It won three Best of Shows: the Mojo Yak in Saltwater; the Legend Glass in Freshwater; and the Mojo Trout in Fly Fishing.
The 25 winners (the remaining awards are listed below) will be on display Thursday near the ICAST registration area, and, new this year, credentialed media and buyers can vote for the Overall Best of Show from 8-11 a.m. The Overall will be presented on the showroom floor at the New Product Showcase at 2 p.m.