I’ve attended KMI as well as displayed there, also Kartfest down in NC.
Additionally I used to be in the business setting up booths, AV, etc. for many other shows, conferences and the like.
KMI was great when it was doing well and I really enjoyed it back then, very international….
Kartfest was a whole different (still good) experience, especially with Mike Clements who everyone wanted to talk with.
Maybe I’ll pull it together and try this winter kart show since I have a bunch of used and NOS stuff I would like to unload. As it stands right now karting really is more of a “swap meet” proposition as opposed to a big, glamorous trade show kind of industry. Try CES if you really want to see what a trade show is like ;^)
The point about shows with races has been covered with the obvious exception that the race really is a show. Since everyone agrees that support is king for kart products seeing how manufacturers/importers work under pressure will tell you a lot more than kicking tires at a trade show.
Karting is a diverse sport so it will always be hard to come up with any event that covers the entire industry. Trade shows are expensive…. For the promoters, exhibitors, and attendees they represent a significant outlay of cash that might not justify itself in the Internet age. Also, not a whole lot changes fundamentally in karting from year to year. It doesn’t take racers long in the sport to figure that out so unless we start seeing some serious innovation in karting I’m willing to say that trade shows without a big swap meet attached are probably dead.