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Efforts toward a west coast Nats

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When the location of the IPMS Nats has been announced over the last few years we hear from our west coast members expressing their disappointment that it will not be held in their neck of the woods. I’d like to dig a little deeper than the typical rant-based discussions in an effort to better understand the situation out there.



If I counted correctly there are 29 chapters among Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and California. If you’re a member of any of those chapters, I’d be curious to hear if there’s a desire among your club's members to host the convention yourself, or more to the point, if there’s been any actual effort to explore the possibility.



For example, maybe the subject has been discussed in prior years but your club membership is too small or simply doesn't want to put in the work to host the convention. And that’s a fair response. It *is* a lot of work, and I can understand that work/family obligations might not permit the time required. Or, maybe your club is willing to put in the work but after contacting local venues you determined that a convention wouldn’t be financially viable. And that, too, is fair. No judgements here.



But those two scenarios are very different problems. I mention this because understanding these and other challenges would allow us to brainstorm ideas and explore the possibility of hosting a west coast convention. I’ve heard a lot of anecdotes about expenses, etc., but I’m interested in hearing from those of you with “boots on the ground” in those 29 chapters to hear the specific challenges you’ve discussed or faced.



Thanks in advance.



Steven Brown


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Steven,

I am with the Green Dragons in Tacoma. We are a small group of about 12-20 (20 on a good month). There is no way we could do a NATS. Our Seattle Club and the OHMS club I know have entertained the possibility of hosting a NATS. Seattle did one in 1992 and I think the OHMS guys actually bid one several years ago. I know from talking to the Seattle folks it is a cost issue. The gray clouds cover us 9 months out of the year and the 3 months of sun puts an expensive spin on Hotel properties during that time as well as the convention offerings.

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Mark,

 

I had one major goal in my life after I attended my first nationals. That was to someday host the Nats in Oklahoma City. I asked the most influential IPMSer in Oklahoma at the time what he felt our chances were. There were three clubs in Oklahoma at the time and he was a member of the "other" group. He really disappointed me in his assesment of having the Nats in OKC. He told me that after attending many Nationals, it was his opinion that Oklahoma did not present an adequate venue to host the Nats. After being told that (and loving Oklahoma), I made it my goal to have the Nats here if I had to do it myself.

 

In short, the Nationals was held in Oklahoma City after two bids, a butt load of work by a number of folks from IPMS Metro and the "other" clubs, and a lot of help from the E-Board. Financially, it isn't too difficult, because the E-board stood behind us and forwarded us enough money to get the ball rolling. We made the trip to the Nationals the year before ours was to be held and signed up a ton of vendors (more cash in the kitty). If you run into problems, CONTACT THE SECOND VP! His job is to help you out with anything concerning the National Convention. After that I was excited as hell, because I knew it was going to finally happen. When we got the bid, volunteers came out of the woodwork.

 

A number of folks griped on the Net saying we didn't have enough attractions to host a Nats, but we proved them all wrong. Some said we couldn't attract folks because of the tornados Oklahoma experiences and we proved them wrong. Many (locally) thought our club was too small to host a National Convention. We proved them wrong too.

 

In short, don't let the naysayers get you down, but be prepared to WORK. No one ever said it was easy to host the largest modeling convention in the world. You CAN find an adequate venue. I would find the cheapest month you can to hold it and damned the rain, full speed ahead! Just make certain you have really good, qualified folks in your Chairman's positions. Don't worry about the weather either. Last time I checked, the Nats was held indoors. To make up for rain (IF it occurs), just hold more really great seminars. Personally, I never leave the hotel and you'll find that true for many. BE CREATIVE WITH YOUR EVENT! That's what the Convention Committee is looking for. People WILL have a good time if you run and plan everything efficiently. We at IPMS Metro Oklahoma City did it, so can you!

 

Good luck, and I look forward to hearing Tacoma bid next time around.

 

Rusty White

EX Chairman

2003 National Convention

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I remember the OKC Nats as being an excellent experience and very well executed.

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I was the MC at the 2001 Chicago Nationals when the announcement was made from the podium that OKC had won the bid for 2003. I remember vividly Rusty's reaction to the announcement. Come to think of it, it was the same as ours when we were told in 1999 Orlando Nationals that we had won the bid for 2001. There is no feeling like it!

 

Western Zone, go for it!

 

Some years back I suggested booking a cruise ship out of a west coast city to Alaska or Mexico and back, with the contest held on the ship. All rooms and meals would be in the fare, so nobody would be left out. That would be a really different convention experience.

 

Ed

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The concern that was expressed in the vendors meeting was cost. One of the Seattle members mentioned that the hotel cost would be ~$180 per night if I remember correctly (as a reference, Columbus was $140; SC and Omaha are about the same so it would be higher. And to have one is CA would have the same cost issues. I would love to go to San Diego, Seattle, etc. (and I would go back to OKC in a heart beat- it was great too).

 

Time will tell. the letters asking for bids for 2018 will go out in September so all the Chapter contacts will have them by Oct 1

 

Dave

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Portland bid twice -- in 2007 we bid for for 2009. It was supposed to be an East rotation but no one bid in time so it was opened up to everyone. We had a really good grant from the Portland Tourist Bureau which made the Portland Convention Center nearly free but our hotel situation near the Convention Center was less favorable with no big hotels that can handle all of our room needs. I also used some real conservative numbers so our financials were probably realistic but not as good looking as our competition. We were up against Sacramento, St Louis, and Columbus. Columbus won primarily based on their prior experience and I suspect because they were in the East and it was an East year. We tried again in 2008 for 2010 in what was our natural West rotation and lost to Phoenix primarily because I choked on the presentation and Phoenix had the experience card on their side. Our bid that year was worse than the year before because our main hotel we lined up bailed on us for the actual bid and the grant from the Tourist Bureau had shrunk. During the bid meeting one person jumped on me because Portland's airport was not a hub.

 

Since then the economics here in Portland have become increasingly difficult. There are only two places in town with the 50,000 to 60,000 sq ft available but our hotel situation in Portland in the summer does not lend itself to reasonable prices and reasonable supply. On top of that, our club probably cannot support the labor needs of putting on a convention. People talk big ahead of time but I suspect it would devolve down to a very small circle of people doing most of the work. We also end up with hotels in the $170-$180 range in summer months as well.

 

I agree that many factors work against a western bidder especially if up against an eastern bidder. First the large distances from city to city in the west mean the potential number of people in the 500-700 driving range for any western location is going to be far less than anywhere east of the Mississippi. That means western bids are going to be a primarily fly to events which means fewer participants, models, and vendors. All this means if a western bidder (if we even get any) will be at a huge disadvantage if being compared to a central or eastern bidder (witness this year). I am pretty sure the only way a western bidder is ever going to win in the near future, it will have to be a year as a sole bidder or only up against another western bidder.

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We bid for the 2012 Nationals for Santa Clara, but lost out to the Orlando. In 2010 when we were putting together a bid we were in the middle of the recession and Convention Center gave us a good deal, but since then the local economy is hot, 49ers built a stadium across the road from the convention center and when couple years back some people who wanted to put a bid in went back to the convention center with our numbers, those guys laughed at them.

 

Basically as you can see, west coast chapters do bid fairly often but the E-board mostly rejects them, so I do not see a point in going through with another bid just to be rejected again.

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Vlad:

 

So you are saying you lost out on one bid and that is preventing the group from bidding again? That is very sad as many people have lost bids and kept at it (like Rusty and OKC).

 

Unfortunately, our system asks for bids and we have had as high as four I believe and with that system, there will always be people who don't get the "win" but thankfully, most keep at it until they win.

 

Sadly, I do understand the convention center as we require a lot of space for 800 guests or so

 

Dave

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It would appear that there are a lot of factors that have to come together to get a bid awarded-manpower, enthusiasm , site costs, costs to attendees, location, projected profit margin. Then that bid must be at least as good as any other bid. If it is a weak proposal compared to another, the E-Board would be irresponsible to award it the Convention when a better bid is on the table. There is a lot of money at stake and the National organization underwrites any potential loss. Nick Filippone

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I have often wondered about Vlad's point. To go through all the work and get a bid together, travel to the Nationals to present the bid, and then have it turned down. I can see how that plays on a club's mind set. Really shocked that OHMS put in two bids. While I enjoyed my first Nationals (Phoenix) I would have enjoyed the experience more so by only having to drive down to Portland!

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Vlad:

 

So you are saying you lost out on one bid and that is preventing the group from bidding again? That is very sad as many people have lost bids and kept at it (like Rusty and OKC).

 

Unfortunately, our system asks for bids and we have had as high as four I believe and with that system, there will always be people who don't get the "win" but thankfully, most keep at it until they win.

 

Sadly, I do understand the convention center as we require a lot of space for 800 guests or so

 

Dave

 

No, what's preventing me from bidding is the fact that lately West coast bids win only if there are no other bids. I do not see the point in putting together a bid only to lose to some other Central/East coast club by default.

 

Vladimir

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I can speak from my own experience as one who made decisions regarding bids. I never saw any hint of "by default" voting that discriminated against any area of the country. If your intention is to claim a bias toward Central/East coast bids then you are in error. Clearly, not putting together a bid package out of concern of losing to some other club will result, 100% of the time, that the "some other club" will received the bid. Put together an excellent bid package or don't. It's a choice.

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Hurt feelings are a fact of life! And if the Eboard does NOT consider that sometimes their "rejection" is taken very personally, then they need to open their eyes.

 

I'm not implying that the Ebaord ever does things in an dishonest manner...(ok, perhaps awarding Sacramento way back when, when we could have had the convention on the Queen Mary in Long Beach was very questionable) :smiley2: I'm saying that sometimes bidders come in with certain expectations that are not met, and they're left to wonder why.

 

I've attended a LOT of bid sessions, and I've seen good bids, not as good bids, and ill prepared bids (or bid presenters). We get to hear a lot of facts as well as projected financial info. Then, the Eboard retires to a private setting and decides "we're going to "________"; which they announce at the banquet that evening. But why did they choose THAT bid? Sure, we get the idea that they thought one was better than the other, but WHAT was better? THAT is what we don't hear. THAT is what needs to change! THAT is what leads to some very hurt feelings!

 

That explanation doesn't need to be made that night, It can be made here on the forums and in the Journal in the months to come. But, the point is that someone on the Eboard (the 2nd vp?) NEEDS to put forth the specifics of that decision. Will they be opening themselves up to questioning? Sure, but NOT much more than now, and it eliminates the specter of "rumors" as to what swayed their thinking. I'd rather defend specific choices than have the integrity of the Eboard questioned after almost every bid session.

 

We'll never see the Orlando guys host another show (by the way, the last Disney World show was hosted by St. Pete!) due to their personal disappointment. We'll probably never see Dayton bid for another show after they lost out in 2003, the 100th anniversary of flight! Don't plan on going back to Atlanta after the way their crew was lambasted after the awards show fell apart. We might never see Phoenix bid again unless they're given an explanation as to why they were asked to bid this year when there (evidently) was another, SUPER bid already in the works. Some of these hard feelings are merited, others grew out of misunderstandings blown out of proportion, and yet others came in expecting something when they shouldn't. But, all of their hurt feelings are real, and will make a difference as to whether they'll ever even try to bid for the Nats ever again!

 

GIL :smiley16:

Edited by ghodges

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If we had 5 bidders every year, then bidders would expect to lose, but given how hard it is to find bidders to start with, rejecting 1 of 2 good bids seems like a mistake. Seems like we could modify our bidding procedure somehow so we could optionally award two Nats at once (one for 2 years and one for 3 years into the future). That might not always work out - a chapter might not be able to push out their dates by a year, but they would have a head-start on the planning and would at least have a chance to recoup some of the work that went into the bid.

 

Don

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I think a big factor impacting the west coast is cost - I know when I travel for business it is FAR more expensive to attend meetings out there, than when I travel elsewhere. In fairness, it's no different from going up east. Cost is a killer. Not only hotels are expensive, but travel becomes more expensive for a majority of attendees - particularly vendors (I know we are second class citizens - but it's worth noting).

 

The other factor, and this is the less fair part is where the population is. If you have a true west coast show, then those up and down the coast can easily attend, but for the rest of the country it requires flying. When the population center of the country is in eastern Missouri, that's a long way from the majority of the people.

 

Put a 12 hour driving circle around a place like Indianapolis and see how many people you get. Now, put the same circle around Anywhere in the west. Fair or unfair, there's just no comparison.

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Agreed but do we always need to cater to the masses. You say you have to fly to come west, well hell I have to fly every year! So if the East has to fly or not come for a year I think that's the least that the easterners can do.

Who knows, maybe its time for IPMS "Western" USA.

 

Jim

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Hurt feelings are a fact of life! And if the Eboard does NOT consider that sometimes their "rejection" is taken very personally, then they need to open their eyes.

 

I'm not implying that the Ebaord ever does things in an dishonest manner...(ok, perhaps awarding Sacramento way back when, when we could have had the convention on the Queen Mary in Long Beach was very questionable) :smiley2: I'm saying that sometimes bidders come in with certain expectations that are not met, and they're left to wonder why.

 

I've attended a LOT of bid sessions, and I've seen good bids, not as good bids, and ill prepared bids (or bid presenters). We get to hear a lot of facts as well as projected financial info. Then, the Eboard retires to a private setting and decides "we're going to "________"; which they announce at the banquet that evening. But why did they choose THAT bid? Sure, we get the idea that they thought one was better than the other, but WHAT was better? THAT is what we don't hear. THAT is what needs to change! THAT is what leads to some very hurt feelings!

 

That explanation doesn't need to be made that night, It can be made here on the forums and in the Journal in the months to come. But, the point is that someone on the Eboard (the 2nd vp?) NEEDS to put forth the specifics of that decision. Will they be opening themselves up to questioning? Sure, but NOT much more than now, and it eliminates the specter of "rumors" as to what swayed their thinking. I'd rather defend specific choices than have the integrity of the Eboard questioned after almost every bid session.

 

We'll never see the Orlando guys host another show (by the way, the last Disney World show was hosted by St. Pete!) due to their personal disappointment. We'll probably never see Dayton bid for another show after they lost out in 2003, the 100th anniversary of flight! Don't plan on going back to Atlanta after the way their crew was lambasted after the awards show fell apart. We might never see Phoenix bid again unless they're given an explanation as to why they were asked to bid this year when there (evidently) was another, SUPER bid already in the works. Some of these hard feelings are merited, others grew out of misunderstandings blown out of proportion, and yet others came in expecting something when they shouldn't. But, all of their hurt feelings are real, and will make a difference as to whether they'll ever even try to bid for the Nats ever again!

 

GIL :smiley16:

 

Gil

 

Add St. Louis to the clubs that will not bid again

 

tb

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Agreed but do we always need to cater to the masses. You say you have to fly to come west, well hell I have to fly every year! So if the East has to fly or not come for a year I think that's the least that the easterners can do.

Who knows, maybe its time for IPMS "Western" USA.

 

Jim

Jim - if we're approaching this thing without concern for "fair" and just putting this thing as close to the most people as we can, then yes, we do cater to the masses. I'm not saying it works for everyone, but if you're taking a strict, "do the best you can for the most" then that's the ballpark you're playing in.

 

Also for vendors, flying is different, as then not only do you have the expense of flying, you also have the expense of shipping your stuff, which cuts way into profits.

 

Wish there was a better solution, but I can see the economics (higher prices) of western shows really limiting our options out there - all the travel and population center stuff aside.

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Paul, I'm not disagreeing with you but good grief once in awhile it wouldn't hurt to come west. . We have members and vendors out here too so Maybe that's why we may need to look at alternatives if we can't get easterners to come out here once in awhile and support their model building brothers out west.

It goes back to what Gil was talking about. We need people to come out every year and not just wait for one close by. And vise versa we need to get the show across a wider path of the nation so all are not making big trips all the time like we have to.

I thought IPMS was about attracting members , not alienating them. That is what is happening now. When you get chapters making bids and are routinely shot down for no other reason then a bigger profit then yeah that is called alienating members. I understand the need to make money but at what cost and how much is enough? The answer right now is (there is never to much) and (there's the door if you don't like) .

And believe me when I say people are leaving even as early as the announcement came down Saturday night. So when I go to the business meeting on Saturday of the convention and hear people talk about attracting new members and retaining members I have to chuckle. I will always go to the National but the attitude from some in the east really gets me. O it's to far, I can't drive, I can't take a big models so it limits what I can take. Really? Well then once in 10 years build something smaller that you can take on an airplane. I would bet gas for driving and hotel costs along the way are equal to a plane ticket in costs. Flying has forced my hand in what I can take so why not give it up once in awhile and quit being selfish and do what I have to do EVERY year. That's all I ever hear on these boards .... It always revolves around what can I get. What went wrong, complain, complain, complain... Good grief be happy we still have these conventions as the days coming when we won't. Don't sweat small stuff that happens at the conventions, don't wait until they are in your area to attend and lets be a bit more inclusive to all in the society. Is that to much to ask?

 

Jim

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And Jim - you're actually making my point for me, as you just argued both sides in one response (I love that about you).

 

We do need folks to start treating this like a national convention, and come our regardless of where it is, but the behavior that we've build (right or wrong) is that as long as the convention wanders around the country, members feel like they can wait until it gets close. We have essentially "trained" that behavior into the membership.

 

Now, I am definitely not against a west coast show, I'd like the excuse to get out there, hopefully it'll happen in the right place and with the right financial structure.

 

Now, making the convention more attractive - that's a whole different discussion. And that requires eating some sacred cows. We'll save that for another time. I think we need to improve the infrastructure and operation of the existing convention first and THEN, look at ways to make it a more attractive show.

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I will always go to the National but the attitude from some in the east really gets me. O it's to far, I can't drive, I can't take a big models so it limits what I can take. Well then once in 10 years build something smaller that you can take on an airplane.

 

I've taken stuff to the UK Nats, and won with it. I did exactly what you said - build models INTENDED to be flown to their destination. It is possible, guys.

 

Don't sweat small stuff that happens at the conventions, don't wait until they are in your area to attend and lets be a bit more inclusive to all in the society. Is that to much to ask?

 

When I was on the EB, we never once discussed "is it too far out of the way" with regards to the bids. The topics we usually discussed were finances, venues, a little bit about attractions/distractions and finances. I do remember discussing the temps in Phoenix vs Portland for 2010 (but it's a DRY heat!) but the bid was focused on those 4 previous issues.

 

Yes, it would be great to go to the PDT zone but the finances have to work out - but against bids in the other second tier cities we have been to recently they simply didn't compare.

 

On the bright side - Omaha is almost as far from Pensacola as it is from Phoenix (1077 vs 1296 mi) so we can both complain about the drive! At least I don't have to cross the Rockies.

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I am in Orange County, California and we have discussed the possibility of our Orange County IPMS club bidding for a Nats. When I broached the subject here on these Forums and others; I had a few supporters, but considerably more who felt an Orange County-hosted Nats would not be worth attending.

 

Some have stated that no East Coast bias exists, yet that perception is growing more and more out here due to the awarding of 2017 to Omaha. If this organization is "By Modelers, For Modelers" then, along with costs and such, the board should have considered the time spread between the last West Coast Nationals and any future one. We west coast guys are modelers too and part of this organization, but because we don't have the population density of the East Coast, the appearance is that we are being 'punished'; or so the perception seems to most. If this organization was truly "By Modelers, For Modelers", then I feel that Phoenix should have been given the 2017 Nats and Omaha be asked to return next year to re-bid for 2018. The USA organization would still get their massive income, albeit a year later; and the West Coast would have a fair chance of having a Nationals that was close enough for us to attend, without having to wait even longer for one to come around. Yet because we can never provide enough savings to make the profit that Omaha projects, the E-board appears to be willing to pass over any West Coast bid; unless as Vlad suggests; there are only West Coast bids.

 

Another point to consider: I've heard several AMPS members got the impression that the board making the decision could care less if the Nationals was ever awarded to a West Coast city. This is this incorrect, then lets see money where mouths are; everyone knows talk is cheap.

 

As for "waiting for a Nationals to come to us", we are an aging society and most of us can not financially just pick up and attend any Nationals we want. Consider that many of us are retired and on fixed incomes; others of us are self employed and don't get paid unless we get hired by a client. This prevents many from being able to go to any Nationals wherever they are; even if we save up over the course of two or three years. Health issues, unexpected expenses for home and auto repairs, natural disaster that may come along; all these makes saving for an east or central Nationals more dicey. Yes, this all holds true for East Coast modelers too, notice I never specified east or west coast modelers but all. Still, far more East Coast modelers are able to make a Nationals consecutively than West Coast modelers when a Nationals is held in East and Central USA. I already do threat this as a National Convention, yet I still cannot attend every National because of expenses. The organization didn't 'train' this behavior into us; the realities of economics and responsibilities to home and family have done that. For this reason; the decision was made many years ago to rotate the contest because face it; this country is vast. I just traveled most of it by train to get back and forth to this convention so I experienced it first hand. Columbus would have normally been too far for me to attend and I would have certainly skipped it. but I am fortunate that I have a brother that I could stay with. Because of that I was able to save a bundle on lodging and local transportation costs, thus enabling me to come and represent my Orange County California club and not let anyone else forget we are still out there.

 

With all those east coasters complaining that it's too far to drive; well, we have to fly to all your eastern and central Nationals all the time already, so why can't they take the same advice and either wait for one to come to them, or just save up for a Western Nationals. Consider that we West Coast modelers will now have to fly to an eastern and central Nationals two more times; for a total of seven consecutively; while East Coast modelers will mostly be able to drive for the sixth and seventh consecutive times.

 

As I recall, our 2007 Nationals, despite the issues unrelated to the contest itself, had almost the same number of entries as Columbus this year (if not slightly more). So we West Coast modelers can put on a good Nationals, but only if the East Coast modelers are willing to support a Western Nationals the same way they support one in the east. After all, we are all part of IPMS USA; "By Modelers, For Modelers".

 

 

 

 

Something to consider...

 

 

Okay, I've gone on enough; now I'll step aside so people can shoot down my comments now... LOL!

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When I first started being able to afford to go to Nats, it had to be a Western show. The distance to pretty much anywhere further than Denver was just impractical for the budget. I attended San Diego, Seattle, Alburquerque and Orange County as well as the last two Phoenix shows and had a great time at all of them (dry heat and rain included).

 

A few years ago I lost my youngest son and received a settlement that allowed me to make shows back east (and Canada and the UK). Otherwise I would not have been able to go the last few years and enjoy the fun that I always have at a Nats and seeing the people I only ever see at the show. But money has been spent and now I am looking at the next two shows and trying to decide if I can really make those trips again. The possibility of Columbia might work if I combine a visit to my parents in Delaware like I did for the 50th. Omaha is a two day drive for me but I will probably make it.

 

But, I would love to see another show nearby, heck, I would love for SLC to put on another but after the "fun" they had in 1980 I don't see the old guard buying into that in the near future. All the cities from Seattle to San Diego are within a good days drive (maybe 12 hours to the north or south but doable) and So Cal has the benefit of a possible night stop in Vegas (just saying).

 

So, for those out west who want to try, I will be there. For those back east, going to be a big maybe but because the shows have been so much fun, I will try to do my best. Isn't that all we can do, our best, to attend?

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Hey Phil, my condolences on the loss of your son. If you ever want to make that stop in Vegas, feel free to come to any Orangecon. I'd love to see you there!

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