CONFERENCE RECAP 2017
The "Show for the Tent Professional 2017" was hosted by Mohegan Sun Hotel & Casino, Uncasville, CT. Returning after a 12 year hiatus, MATRA celebrated its 30th Anniversary in the Tent Rental industry during the entire week. The weather was New England warm - only a little rain on Sunday and no rain for Thursday takedown again this year! Just under 600 attendees gathered during the four day Conference beginning with all tent installations completed on Monday and ending with the Conference's traditional Thursday morning brunch.
During the Annual Meeting held on Monday evening, MATRA's finances were reviewed before the member attendees, a conference education overview was presented and the current Board structure was introduced. Three new Board members were elected. Billy Hill is from Rainbow Rentals, Ian Sherwood from Tents Unlimited and Steve Campbell from L & A Tent Rentals. We welcome them to the Board. Look for more information about them in our upcoming e-newsletters! It also became official that the MATRA association has changed its name! We are now known as Manufacturers and Tent Renters Association. The membership vote took place during the Annual Meeting and we are excited to move forward under our new name and the retention of our branded logo and acronym.
The Education Committee created a new one-day education format for this year's conference. All sessions were held on Tuesday. A variety of education was presented that included mobile photography, crisis management, social media strategies, and preparing for an OSHA visit to name a few. A very popular session this year was the Staking, Ballasting and Wind Demo. Everyone was "blown away"!!! All sessions were well attended and everyone gained new knowledge in one educational area or the other.
All the MATRA Parrotheads gathered at Mohegan's Margaritaville for the Tuesday evening Welcome Reception. It was the largest attended Welcome Reception to date and everyone had a great time networking to the tunes of Jimmy Buffet in the background.
The Annual Awards dinner was held inside the Mohegan Sun in the Incas Ballroom. It was a beautiful setting to celebrate our 30th year. Returning to provide musical entertainment was Sean Reilly, our vocalist in the Frank Sinatra style. Mike Tannen, Executive Director, paid tribute to the past 30 years of MATRA Presidents, many of whom were present. In addition, Mike introduced a great video presentation, made on site during the conference, highlighting many aspects of the tent installations, education, attendees and the MATRA Games. Closing out the evening's entertainment was Jon Stetson, America's Master Mentalist, who performed for us at our previous Mohegan conference 12 years ago. Go to the MATRA website to watch this amazing video and see all of the photos from the Conference!.
Again, the ever popular and much anticipated MATRA Games Winners were announced at the Annual Awards Dinner. With over 80 participants, the field to capture the Golden Sledgehammer for 2017 was extremely intense. With competition in nine different categories, participants had to be the best in staking, throwing, lacing, carrying and had to be be quick on their feet. The individuals with the best achieved times of the 2017 Games advanced to the final round for the coveted title of the Golden Sledgehammer Award. Only one individual was entitled to receive this award and bragging rights until next year and the winner was Mikel Martin, Special Events Virginia. So, we say "Congratulations Mikel" on your accomplishment as our 2017 Golden Sledgehammer Winner! Also walking away with the Women's Overall Award was Lindsay Romano, PTG Event Services. Photos of the Games' competition are located on the MATRA website. Click here for Games' winners and their winning times in each category.
A new and exciting competition in the Exhibitor tents took place this year. A Diamond Ticket Raffle was held during the exhibit hours on Wednesday and Thursday morning. Conference attendees received a raffle card with 24 "diamonds" on the top and 6 MATRA Games' competition "pictures" on the bottom. The attendees had to get all 24 "diamonds" ink stamped by stopping by exhibitor booths and had to return on Thursday morning to get the final six spots acknowledged by an exhibitor with a sticker. Two Jackpot prizes, a Go Pro donated by Choice Party Linens and a Farm Table and benches from Flash Furniture were available to win as well as three beautifully arranged "swag" baskets thanks to the generous donations from the exhibitors. Attendees had to be present to win. Matt Smith, from Virginia Special Events won the Choice prize and Jeff Phelps, from Virginia Special Events won the Farm Table. Robert Clay, Bryant's Rent All, Anthony Labadie and Roger Labadie, A & R Party Tent Rental won the three baskets. Thank you to the following exhibitors for their very generous basket donations: Aggreko; Anchor; Aztec; Bock N Roll; Eureka; Fiesta; Fred's, Grand Champs; Green Monster; Hogan Stakes; Jomar Linens; Liri Tent; Losberger, Pioneer; Shelter Structures; Top Tec; and three beautiful red carpet runners from 12 By and 3 sledgehammers from PHP that wouldn't fit into the baskets!
Next year, "The Show for
the Tent Professional 2018” will be returning to Hershey Lodge, Hershey, PA. The dates are from November 5th-8th, 2018. Make sure you put these dates on your calendar. Don't forget to renew your membership by January 31, 2018!
Golden Sledgehammer Winner, Mikel Martin, Special Events Virginia
Women's Overall Winner, Lindsay Romano, PTG Event Services