Health & Fitness Business '06: Golf kicks off show networking, strikes and spares at Industry Party

The Health & Fitness Business Show this year brought back a former tradition after a six-year absence – a pre-show golf outing – while the annual Industry Party moved to a trendy bowling alley for an evening of strikes and spares.
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The Health & Fitness Business Show this year brought back a former tradition after a six-year absence – a pre-show golf outing – while the annual Industry Party moved to a trendy bowling alley for an evening of strikes and spares.

A golf tournament the day before the show brought out 20 manufacturers, retailers, reps and guests for an afternoon of competition and relationship-building, not to mention chasing balls in grasslands and a few beers in the sun at the Green Valley Ranch Golf Course. SNEWS®, with the help of Matt Chalek of AccuFitness, helped organize the afternoon that was also a fund-raiser for the Rocky Mountain Youth Clinic. As a result of this golf outing, about 10 kids from the Rocky Mountain clinic will get medical and health services they wouldn't have had otherwise. Spri Products in fact donated an extra check for the clinic.

"It was a fun way to get out and meet people," said Gene Treacy, sales director for GearTrends® and SNEWS®. "But ultimately as a result of getting out for a little pre-show recreation, there will be a few more kids getting health services. That makes it a great day, all in all."

The top* three teams of six were:
1. Gene Treacy, SNEWS®/GearTrends®; Kyle Burgess, sales rep, Outdoor in Sports; Tom Richard, TrainActive (No, we did not stack the deck, thank you very much)
2. Matt Chalek, AccuFitness; Barry Hart, industry friend; Matt Stowell, TrainActive
3. The Clark gang of Lifestyle Fitness of New Jersey: Leo Sr., Leo Jr. (16), Jack (14)
*scores from the top two players of four were tallied

Awards earned were:
• Longest putt on the 18th hole – Steve Lindal, Spri
• Closest to the flag on a Par 4 in regulation – Gene Treacy, GearTrends®
• Closest to the flag on a Par 3 – Leo Jr., "retailer in training," Lifestyle Fitness
• Longest drive – Leo Jr. (Maybe Leo Jr. snagged two awards because as a teen he wasn't quaffing beer?)

We were told an unofficial award had to go to the team from Spri Products for being the "happiest" team (a.k.a. the team that consumed the most beer and also nearly knocked out a drink cart driver, but more on that later)

Yet another unofficial award went to Tom Richard for losing the most golf balls. Each time, we heard, he'd go traipsing into the neighboring grasslands and rocks to find it until a teammate said, "Uh, Tom, didn't you see the sign?" Signs in front of the grass and rocks read "Rattlesnake Habitat." After that Tom let lost balls lie. Good decision, Tom.

Other teams included:
Spri Products -- Steve Lindal, Kevin Kingston, Pat Miles, Herb Flentye
Diamondback – Steve "Mr. Dancing Bear" Lindenau (wearing a Grateful Dead belt after he arrived from Southern California on his motorcycle), Bill Austin, Eric Gottesfeld, and a fourth, although the beer-drinking golfers couldn't remember her name. Sigh. Next time they all get big handicaps if they don't get names.
SportsArt – Scott "Emperor Logan" Logan, Reina Reeves, Debbie (no last name. OK, that's it. More handicaps all around).

Now, about that Spri guy whacking a drink server. Seems Kevin Kingston had only played golf twice before (kudos for bravery) so he understandably had a few, well, wild shots. One he hit so far off to the left of the fairway that the whole team had to screech "Fore!" loudly to warn the drink cart driver to dive for cover. The ball slammed into the cart's windshield, barely missing the woman. Hm, guess he really wanted to get her attention because he was desperate for beer?

Bill Austin of Diamondback called the outing "fun and wonderful," and said he was looking forward to a larger one next year. "It was an engaging way," he said, "to start a trade show with industry friends."

Stay tuned. By early spring we expect to start announcing plans for an even better tournament in 2007.

A larger gathering – many hundreds in fact – dropped into the annual Industry Party sponsored by SportsArt Fitness. This year, instead of billiards and beer at a brewery, the party was at the Lucky Strikes bowling alley only a few blocks from the convention center. Teams did their best to knock down the pins, although with the loud music, flowing beer and laughter, we're not sure if the bowling part was taken that seriously.

Did that matter? Naaaaah. It was all about hanging out with industry friends after the first day of the trade show.