It may seem a little late to recap a trade show that I attended two weeks ago, but as my Twitter feed can attest, people are still talking about the IHRSA show in San Diego, most notably, the folks who operate the @IHRSA Twitter page, who were retweeting reactions to the show as late as yesterday afternoon.
So it gives me some comfort in knowing that I haven't procrastinated, er, set this mega blog post aside for too long. Last week, we gave you our IHRSA 2014 photo gallery, the Bash for Augie's Quest recap and Pam Kufahl's blog post to tide you over until I could roll out this mega-post today.
Overall, I think our group came away from the IHRSA show thinking that this was one of the best IHRSA shows that we've attended. From conferences to keynote speakers to the exhibit hall to parties, this show covered all the bases. The main star, for me, was San Diego itself. With the convention center, the proximity to hotels and the airport, and of course, the weather, it's hard to top San Diego. I think I'm going to start a petition to have San Diego host every trade show for every industry every year. I'm sure the San Diego Chamber of Commerce would not mind that at all. The only other city that I would do that for is…Chicago! (Have I mentioned yet that the Club Industry Show is in Chicago, Oct. 22-24 at McCormick Place?)
Unfortunately, I had to say goodbye to a dear friend during the show: my suitcase. The zippers closed just enough to get me from Kansas City to San Diego, but too many trips and too many trade shows later, the suitcase just wouldn't open anymore. I am thankful that the Westfield Horton Plaza Mall was just a couple of blocks away from our hotel, so before the show kicked into high gear, I snuck out to get a new suitcase for the return home and for many years to come. (I hope.)
In other travel news, did anybody use Wi-Fi on their flight to the show? And could it have been any slower than mine? I almost felt like I was back in the dial-up Internet days. Don't get me wrong: Technology is amazing these days. But it still could go faster.
Pam touched on the receptions we attended in her post—we got to three on Wednesday night—so I'll add my thanks to the folks at the Gold's Gym Franchisee Association and the folks at World Gym for inviting me to their receptions on Thursday at barleymash (all lowercase) and the Hard Rock Hotel, respectively. Again, the great thing about San Diego is everything is just a few blocks away. (And did I mention the great weather?)
I met World Gym's Guy Cammilleri at this show last year in Las Vegas. This year, after finally completing my feature on Guy and his family, I met his mother, a sweet, sweet lady. I also said hello to World Gym advisor Mike Uretz, who had on an awesome Arnold Schwarzenegger campaign-for-governor jacket. That jacket rivaled the Nautilus jacket I saw Dean Sbragia wearing at the Med-Fit Systems reception that I checked out just downstairs at the Hard Rock.
Three more random notes: Congratulations to The Alaska Club's Robert Brewster for his selection as the next chairperson of the IHRSA Board of Directors. Also, our best to Steve Ayers of ABC Financial, who was scheduled to undergo foot surgery after the show. And we missed seeing our friend Karen Woodard-Chavez at the IHRSA show this year, so all the best to her and her family.