Voting among buyers and media at The Super Show to choose six finalists from a group of 30 semi-finalist top products has resulted in one fitness company -- Hoist Fitness Systems -- in the group. Hoist had presented its innovative Quik Change Dumbbell System, which was introduced in August to the trade and about which SNEWS wrote. The system has a small footprint (less than 2 square feet) and two "dumbbells" that allow a user to add and subtract small slip-on interlocking plates to have as much as 75 pounds per dumbbell. The system comes complete with all the small plates, the stand and the cover and retails for $229 (up to 45 pounds each) or $279 (up to $75 pounds each). Other finalists include a night vision binocular by Famous Trails, a tricycle with pushing handles called a Canopy Trike by Huffy, a trampoline that doesn't have springs but all the bounce, a performance polo by Under Armour, and an in-line skate with wheels that fold so you can walk on them by In Bang International. Some 1,000 media representatives will be asked to vote for the No. 1 product, which will be announced in March. The 30 semi-finalist products were available for purchase on eBay Sports (www.ebaysports.com/pe4life) through Jan. 26, with proceeds going to PE4Life, a physical education advocacy group. In the last five years, the Chameleon Gym in 2001 was the only other fitness product to win as product of the year.
SNEWS View: We hate to add controversy to this balloting, but when SNEWS went in to vote, an attendant said media weren't allowed -- until she asked around and realized media were not only allowed, but indeed encouraged. So SNEWS queried if the attendants were watching badges so exhibitors didn't vote or if they had any way to tell if someone came back multiple times. Would hate to see charges of ballot-box stuffing and all. Oops, we were told with blank stares that they weren't, but gee they'd try to do that from now on (This was Tuesday morning after one day of voting complete). Indeed, SNEWS spied several candidates "stumping" not only outside the door, but also inside the enclosed display and voting area next to their products. We certainly applaud the effort to computerize the voting for quicker tallying, but with two computers set up at chest-level mid-arena, voters also felt pretty vulnerable to someone looking over shoulders onto the screen. Suggestions: Turn the monitors so the screen faces away from any audience. And coach attendants better about who is to vote and who isn't. Critique aside, the choice of the overall winner is usually impartial since voting is done by media scattered around the world.