CONFERENCE RECAP 2018
The "Show for the Tent Professional 2018" was hosted by The Hershey Lodge, Hershey, Pa. Returning after a 4 year hiatus, MATRA members, once again, enjoyed their annual gathering complete with networking, education, awards and plenty of chocolate! Installation was slightly challenging this year with torrential rain greeting us on Monday and Tuesday but all installations were completed on time! Just over 500 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. Monday also featured a four hour Forklift Operation and Safety Certificate class presented by Kevin Gern, Director of Safety, Best Line Equipment.Those individuals completing the class received a Certificate which was valid for three years.
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. One new Board member, Carol Cundey, CERP, from Eureka! The Tent Company was elected. We welcome her to the Board. Look for more information about her in our upcoming e-newsletters!.
The Education Committee again created a one-day education format for this year's conference. All sessions were held on Tuesday. A variety of education was presented that included Tent Fundamentals & Pole Tent Particulars, Who is Running your Business, Care for your Equipment and Warehousing, to name a few. At the end of the educational day, attendees gathered in Fred's Tent for a "Keep Talking: Beer & Business" session where all participated in guided conversations on tips and challenges facing the business world and the tent rental industry. The very popular Wind Demo session returned on Wednesday morning testing different products and anchoring methods. Everyone was "blown away"!!! All sessions were well attended and everyone gained new knowledge in one educational area or the other.
Tuesday evening's Welcome Reception was held inside the Hershey Lodge created as MATRA's version of a "Biergarten". Attendees were greeted by a local German band and they enjoyed selections such as Beer Braised Knockwurst, Potato Pancakes and Pork Schnitzel Sliders. Keder Solutions sponsored "beer" mugs for the group and South Street Linens sponsored the linen decor.
The Annual Awards dinner was held outside in the Grandchamp Structure Tent. It was a beautiful setting to celebrate Hall of Honor winner, Loren Breck from Cornerstone Event Products and Billy McKee from 12 by Event Flooring, this year's Volunteer of the Year. The Scholarship Committee received a matching grant pledge up to $10,000.00 from Bill Pretsch, Mahaffey Tent. Through pledge cards submitted by attendees, they were able to raise over $15,000 and with the matching grant contribution, added over $25,000 to the Scholarship Fund. Choice Party Linens Inc., sponsored the beautiful dinner linen decor.
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 2018 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 2018 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 Allan Elium, Party Reflections. So, we say "Congratulations Allan" on your accomplishment as our 2018 Golden Sledgehammer Winner! Also walking away with the Women's Overall Award was Courtney Tamuzza, Tent OX. Photos of the Games' competition and winning times are located on the MATRA website.
America's First Female Speed Painter and Winner of ABC's New Talent Competition "The Gong Show", Season 1, Jessica K. Haas, was the evening entertainment. Jessica, also a former Miss America contestant, dazzled the audience with her painting skills, combining many colors and shapes on her canvas. No one could decide what it was until, when completed, she turned the painting upside down revealing a rendition of the MATRA logo. The painting was then included in the Thursday brunch prize drawings and was won by Pat Moughan, Losberger DeBoer.
The Diamond Ticket Raffle competition returned again this year and was held during the exhibit hours on Wednesday afternoon 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. Three Jackpot prizes, an Apple watch donated by Choice Party Linens, a Yeti cooler (with inside surprises) donated by Losberger DeBoer and a $500 gift card donated by T-Team Management were available to win. An additional 15 vendor products were generously donated by Exhibitors and given as prizes at the brunch. Attendees had to be present to win.
Next year, "The Show for
the Tent Professional 2019" will be held at a brand new venue - The Embassy Suites Raleigh Durham Research Triangle, Raleigh, NC from November 4th-7th, 2019. Make sure you put these dates on your calendar. Don't forget to renew your membership by January 31, 2019!