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It’s an interesting thing, this tradeshow industry. We’ve had lots of conversations about how we all seem to fall into this business, from all walks of life, and once we get in, it’s hard to get out.

All you have to do is walk a big show once or twice and you’ll be scratching your head wondering: I see guys in suits and ties; I see guys in jeans and T-shirts – all hanging out together. I’ve been in formal presentations in corporate board rooms and loose conversations in dusty bar rooms – with some of the same people. And everything in between.

But there is one event every year where all these people come together and share the same space and the same passion for the same great cause – supporting our industry’s people in need. The Randy Smith Memorial Golf Classic is celebrating 20 years of helping our industry’s people get through some of the absolute toughest times of their lives.

It is amazing to me that the same guys who started this thing in 1995 are still at it – still part of the core team that puts this event on every year, still spending hours and hours and days and days of their own time creating this event. There are some deeply passionate folks on this team.

I joined the team this year because I felt like it was time for me to quit bouncing around the outskirts of this thing and get more involved. Little did I know how quickly I would be drawn into it.

If you have not heard of the Randy Smith Memorial Golf Classic, or what it represents in our industry, I could go into all the details of the history, who the volunteer board is and all the past recipients, but you can see all of that on the Randy’s website at www.rsmgc.org. I encourage you to check it out. But I’d rather focus on what is going to happen at this year’s event – the 20th anniversary year.

A couple of things happening this year that are new: With it being the 20th Anniversary year, the board is working on a couple of unique ways to recognize this milestone year. If you’ve been to the Randy in the past, you’ll definitely want to be there for this one!
• The Exhibit Designers & Producers Association (EDPA) Foundation has formalized its support of the Randy, and committed a significant amount in donation to the event. While the Foundation has been a supporter of the Randy in the past, this year marks the first year for this level of commitment from a financial perspective.
• This year the golf tournament will be broken into two groups, played on two separate courses at the venue; for ‘serious’ and ‘social’ golfers. You will be able to sign up for either group on the registration website. You just have to decide which group you fall into.
• The Randy will also be bringing back the tennis tournament as well. For a number of years early on, there was a tennis event that coincided with the golf. This year as part of the anniversary event, tennis will once again be available.

One other thing to remember – the Randy has typically been held on a Monday in early October. This year, the event is on Friday, Oct. 10. The welcome reception is on Thursday evening, Oct. 9.

You’ll be hearing a lot more about the Randy as the marketing for the event starts ramping up in the next few weeks, but if you have never experienced this event, let me just say this: You don’t have to be a golfer or tennis player (I’m neither) to be a part of a group of people from all over our industry who gather once a year to show support for our own folks who are in dire need of our help. Come see this just once. I dare you.

See you on the show floor.

Jim Obermeyer has been in the tradeshow industry over 30 years, both as a corporate tradeshow manager and exhibit house executive. He is now a partner in a new company: Reveal: Exhibiting a World of Difference. He can be reached at jobermeyer@revealexhibits.com.

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