Last month saw Rigby back at The Game Fair. What were the show highlights?
It was fabulous to be back and great to see so many people. There was a really good general vibe running through the whole show: it felt like everyone was extremely relieved to have a bit of normality back again after so long. For once, even the weather joined in with the good spirits and was extremely kind to us – I think this is the first year I can remember where it hasn’t rained on us at the Game Fair for goodness knows how long.
Our stand this year was a large Rigby safari tent, where we unveiled our exclusive Rigby edition Land Rover Defender and, of course, displayed a number of absolutely beautiful guns. The team and I felt very much that it was one of the best displays we’ve put on in recent years. Overall, it was a really good show: we caught up with a lot of old friends and met some new ones and it was wonderful to be out as a team. We also took several orders, as did TEG, so it’s great to see that the traditions of craftsmanship and quality are still valued.
Tell us more about the Rigby Defender.
It’s been an immensely satisfying project and it’s been a pleasure to work on it with Kingsmen Editions and TEG (Traditional English Guncases). We wanted to create a vehicle that would have everything you could want in the field. It looks great, and – of course – style was important, but this project was just as much about making something fit for any challenge and infusing it with a classic sense of adventure. We didn’t just want a showroom piece, but something that would always be game for getting mud-splattered while keeping your guns secure and your lunch chilled. Kingsmen are specialists in fieldsports Defenders and these sort of modifications, and their passion is backed up with plenty of experience in the field. And, obviously, TEG are more than just a safe pair of hands when it comes to beautiful, premium quality firearms cases.
The Rigby edition is based on a classic Defender 130, which is slightly bigger and can carry a greater load than the more common 110 and therefore ideal for use in the field. Kingsmen have added all the ‘must-haves’ for hunting and shooting, plus some ingenious extras, including specially designed drawers for some of your most important kit – one is for guns, and one is for drinks and glasses for relaxing after a hunt. They’ve also added a clever pull-out canvas awning, which is brilliant for setting up a shelter from the rain or sun for lunch, elevenses, or a sundowner. It also has a pressure washer, a roll cage, a two-person safari spotting seat, a front light bar, and twin rear spotlights. The guys at TEG have made some gorgeous inlays for the guncases and the seats and dashboard are made using the same materials, so it’s not just the firearms that get to travel in style!
What do you like most about it?
I just loved the synergy between the three brands that came together for the project. There’s a lot of youth and energy in all three companies and to have that sort of creative space to get together and bounce ideas around with like-minded people had the potential to produce something really exciting. And, as they say, the proof is in the pudding: that’s how we ended up with such a great vehicle.
We saw some wonderful examples of Rigby Art at The Game Fair, what can we look forward to over the next few months?
We’ve got so much creative energy with Rigby art at the moment. After his stunning African and Indian pieces, Geoffrey is now really pushing into European big game animals. We had the fabulous roebuck that he’s just finished on display at The Game Fair and that will be available to order on the website soon. He’s also working on red deer and a fallow buck, and has a number of other ideas that I’m very keen to see come to life.
As well as prints and drawings, Geoffrey’s also now producing some stunning engraved metal plates for the Rigby Art store. They’re the same quality that you’d find in the engraving on a Best Rising Bite, but you can have them on show to appreciate anywhere you like, not just in the gunroom – though they do look exceptional there.