A chat with the President of Daisy, Gamo & BSA: Keith Higginbotham

President of Daisy, Gamo & BSA: Keith Higginbotham

A chat with the President of Daisy, Gamo & BSA:  Keith Higginbotham.

by Airgun Hobbyist

During our summer road trip to visit various airgun companies, we caught up with Keith Higginbotham, just prior to the Daisy BB Gun Nationals.

AH: “Could you tell us a little about the Gamo/Daisy merger that happened last year.”

KH: “I think the previous partner that Daisy had, was looking to divest that asset and we were one of the companies that they came to. It gave us the opening/beginning shooter market. We had the opportunity to acquire it and it made perfect sense to us. It gives us the full gamut. With Daisy being a ‘power brand’ and now you add the Gamo, Winchester and BSA. You can start someone at an early age, teach them correctly and safely, and then they can move up to the adult airguns. And Gamo brings a lot of stuff that we can incorporate into the Daisy line.”

AH: “We’ve seen that there has been a lot more Daisy social media for the Daisy BB Gun Nationals.”
KH: “Yes, that’s for the brand recognition of Daisy. That’s definitely a focus for us.”

AH: “I wonder how many people/firearms owners owe their interest in the shooting sport to getting their first Daisy.”
KH: “I don’t know how you’d prove it, but statistically, I bet we’ve taught more people to shoot than any other brand.”

AH: “And then those inflatable ranges too.”
KH: “Great program! We just did a deal with the Boy Scouts. Daisy is now the official BB Gun of the Boy Scouts of America. We have an actual Boy Scouts of America BB Gun, and thousands of Boy Scouts will learn gun safety at the Boy Scout branded inflatable ranges.”

AH: “Will it be like a Red Ryder?”
KH: “No, it’s more of a 35 style, single-pump gun, with a little less power than our current 35. It will be the Boy Scout gun, it will have their insignia on it. We’re going to make ranges for the troops. And they are going to use it as a big recruiting tool. They realize that in some of these crowded metropolitan places, many kids have never seen a gun, much less had the chance to learn gun safety and actually shoot one.”

AH: “You’re right, for someone who has never shot, when they fire and hit a target, their whole world just changes.”
KH: “We get a lot of single parents come up, and they’re nervous about a gun. And their son or daughter is nervous because they’ve never shot a gun, the instructor walks the child through how to do it safely, and they hit the target and they’re all excited and you see it in their face. It’s like when you catch your first fish! You never forget it. And then you bring the parent in, and let them do it also, so they get that overall understanding of what they are dealing with. They get more comfortable and they don’t have that fear factor anymore.”

AH: “For Gamo, we noticed that the Swarm Maxxim is new this year. Is there anything else new?”
KH: “Yes, we’re really into PCP – Pre-Charged Pneumatic power. So with the PCP focus we have the .22 caliber Urban that shoots around 800 fps. We have a factory in Birmingham, England – where we make BSA guns – and are looking to infuse some ideas from there into Daisy as well. One thing we have done with all of our Gamo guns is simplify the packaging with color codes and key benefits that people are looking for. If they want the quietest gun from Gamo, it’s easy to see on the packaging. If they want one for hunting, or pest control, or are more focused on accuracy, we color coded the boxes to call that out. Throughout the entire lineup of brands and products, there’s a real robust mix, but we don’t mix brands. Daisy is known for producing great products for beginners and a great reputation for teaching kids how to shoot safely. As they get more experience these young people reach the level where they want to move up to another category, and that’s the Gamo’s adult air rifle.”

AH: “So the company is experiencing a lot of growth?”
KH: “I don’t know if you’ve seen it, but we’re building onto the Daisy facility. Everything will be here as of January 1st. We’re excited about that. Everything will be in Rogers, Arkansas.”

An addition is being built on the Daisy facility in Rogers AR.

AH: “What about Gamo Field Targets?”
KH: “That’s another area that we are focused on. Again, you’ve got two segments. The young person, like for this competition, they are trained on the paper, but when you get out in your backyard, and have fun, you need some reactive targets.”

 
AH: “How do you see the future?”
KH: “We think we have a lot of opportunity. One of our challenges is to continue to educate. That’s what I love of this event this weekend. This is the future of shooting sports. These kids are the future of shooting sports. I don’t know if they realize it yet, what we are doing with these young people, they are the ones that are going to continue on the shooting sports. As I get older and you get older and as we start to fade away and exit stage left, these kids are the future.”

“These kids are the future.”