Curt Beusman, our Lifetime Achievement Award winner, was a blast at dinner on Wednesday night. I was happy to finally meet him in person when we arrived at Harry Caray's. I thought I knew him so well after we chatted on the phone several months ago. But when we first met, he leaned toward me as if to ask me who I was. I knew what he looked like, but he didn't know what I looked like. With that in mind…
When you are introducing other people before a large audience, it helps to introduce yourself first. I forgot to do this before I introduced Bill Rancic.
About an hour before Rancic's presentation, I met him on the show floor then walked with him to the lecture hall. As we were about to board the escalator down, our new senior associate editor, Lara Hale, was on the escalator up eating a banana for breakfast. Seizing the perfect opportunity to put the new gal on the spot while she still had part of a banana in her mouth, I said, "Hey, Lara! Meet Bill Rancic!"
Rancic mentioned in his presentation that when he was trying to get publicity for one of his early businesses, the only TV show that would have him on was the short-lived Danny Bonaduce show. This gives us a perfect opportunity to relive one of the all-time great blog posts in Club Industry history. This is about our staff dinner a few years ago that included a waiter who looked just like Danny Bonaduce.
Richard Simmons told me I reminded him of his brother. Take that, Stuart's real brother Scott!
Did anybody else notice how Curt Beusman told the audience to raise their prices and how Richard Simmons followed him by saying they shouldn't raise prices? Keep in mind that Beusman was reading from his "Ten Commandments" published 30 years ago. It was a different time and a different industry back then. Two great showmen, two different views on how to be successful.
We had three past Club Industry Lifetime Achievement Award winners at Thursday's keynote session: Curt Beusman (2010), Alan Schwartz (2007) and Rick Caro (2006).
My thanks to Jay Del Vecchio, Richard Cotton, David Herbert and Sara Kooperman for their great presentations at our personal training licensing roundtable. Be sure to read Pam Kufahl's coverage of the session.
Two of the presenters, Kooperman and Cotton, brought netbooks with them. I've been touting these laptops since August of 2009! Take that, iPads!
The poster outside the hotel bar for the NFL DirecTV package already was out of date on Wednesday. Randy Moss was pictured in a Patriots uniform. He was traded to the Vikings that day.
Speaking of that hotel bar, with Pam and Lara waiting ever so patiently for me in the lobby to meet them for dinner Wednesday night, I held them off just long enough to see the final three outs of Roy Halladay's no-hitter. Hey, certain priorities take precedent when you're witnessing something that hasn't happened in 54 years.
I didn't have many booth visits this year. The one to Lifeline USA was interesting, though. Lifeline was introducing its new Pullup Revolution Pro and Jungle Gym XT. While I was talking to the Lifeline sales rep, somebody from TRX, Lifeline's competition in the suspension training sector, was taking photos of his demonstration!
Bruce Carter, one of our columnists, told me he liked the colors of my suit that I wore Friday. Knowing that Bruce is in the club design business and has an acute sense of colors, I'll take that as a win for me.
It was great weather in Chicago for our show! Good enough to stay inside all day.
President Obama was in Chicago on Thursday during our show stumping for Illinois Democratic Senate hopeful Alexi Giannoulias. Despite unrealistic expectations, Obama was a no-show at our show. Oh, well. Maybe next year.
As we were leaving on Friday afternoon, McCormick Place was buzzing in preparation for the Chicago Marathon. Once again, I did not enter.
While we were waiting for our flight Friday night, one of my daughters got on the phone and asked if I was bringing home any presents. I told her no. After I hung up, Pam and Lara urged me to go the gift shop and get them something. So I did. Pam and Lara now owe me $14.25.
Getting back home on Friday meant two days to recuperate from the show instead of just one. I could've used a third day. How about you?