2014 NALS&RMA Convention

Cassie and Kendra attended the entirety of the NALS&RMA Convention in Waco last week, and the rest of the Austin crew got to join in on the fun Wednesday in order to throw an awesome suite party! The group got to go on quite a few awesome tours, including the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, Texas Rangers Museum, Texas A&M Large Animal Clinic and Diagnostic Center, Texas A&M Equestrian Facility, George Bush Presidential Library, and Time Manufacturing Company.

If you know us at all, you know we had some goofy games planned for the bus ride on the way to the tours!

One of the most hilarious events of the convention was the 2014 NALS&RMA Rodeo Finals. The event consisted of things like  team goat-roping, goat-tying, golf cart racing, stick-bronc riding, and you guessed it–mechanical bull riding. Everyone got really into it (with a little help from beer and margaritas) and made it one of the goofiest, most fun group events. It was Rachel, our new Marketing Manager’s first convention in the industry. Naturally we had to break her in by throwing her on the mechanical bull!

Once everything was said and done, Cassie’s team ended up taking first place while Jessie’s team got “DAL.”

One of the greatest parts of the whole convention was being able to entertain everyone at the suite party! We made our classic Saffire Queso as well as rosemary pecans, sopapilla cheesecake, a chocolate pudding dessert, and a new drink that we named Let’Er Buck Punch. We also had a fun walk-around game planned which required people to wear the name of a famous person on their back. Other people would try and get you to guess the name on your back, and if they were successful, they got to keep that name. The person with the most names at the end of the game won, and people actually got really into it!

You might also notice the Saffire boot mugs in that picture. They were a gift that we gave to everyone who came to the party, of course we had to give people something to hold their Let’Er Buck Punch in! Whether we were there for the whole week or just for Wednesday, the 2014 NALS&RMA Convention was a blast! It’s such a great group of people who are so dedicated to their organizations, it just reminded us why we love this industry so much!

NALS&RMA 2012 Recap

We (Cassie and Kendra) just got back from the North American Livestock Show and Rodeo Managers’ Association Annual Meeting in Shreveport, LA, and we had a blast! Of course, we learned how to host a stellar rodeo and livestock show, but these folks sure knew how to have a good time while we learned.

Louisiana has a ton to offer and we took full advantage of the culture, food and warm weather.

One of our first stops was Alligator Park, where we saw, you guessed it, a ton of alligators!

We even saw the house where the wedding from Steel Magnolias was filmed!

Then in the evening, we spent a little time drinking mint juleps on the porch and having delicious BBQ at a fabulous plantation.

We also took a trip to the country and saw the fantastic LSU Ag Research Center, where we took a hayride to visit some cows. They were also growing some amazing-looking tomatoes in a greenhouse. These were honestly the biggest tomato plants I’ve ever seen. So delicious!

We had the change to hear from a great speaker named Teresa Allen, who kicked her presentation off with a Mardi Gras style entrance by the officers, who threw beads to get the crowd going.

Our visit to the Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City was incredible. We saw some awesome planes and got a tour from a retired Air Force vet. It was such a treat so close to Memorial Day!

We got to eat crawfish at the LA Exhibit Museum, where Jarrod from HOT Fair and Karla from State Fair of Texas showed us how it’s done.

To cap off our trip, we went to Mudbug Madness, Shreveport’s biggest crawfish festival!  The festival hung a sign to welcome our group, and Cassie  made sure everyone was using their new Saffire koozies!

A special thanks to the staff and volunteers at The State Fair of Louisiana for showing us around your great state.  We had such a fantastic time at the NALS&RMA Annual Meeting, and we can’t wait until next year!

Welcome American Royal!

Can you handle some more good news?  Because we just can’t wait to share that we are officially partnering with American Royal to enhance their online presence!

We have been talking with Jody and his staff since we first met at the NALS&RMA Conference last summer, and we couldn’t be more excited to be associated with an organization that gives over $1 million annually to support youth and education.

From the Horse Show and Rodeo to the World Series of BBQ, this organization does it’s part to keep the fun alive in Kansas City.

During September, October and November, more than 250,000 people will attend the American Royal events, so we better get started!  We had our first design brainstorm meeting yesterday, and let me tell you: this is going to be one knock-out website!

Business Etiquette from NALS & RMA Conference

It’s not often that I feel 76.8% wrong, but the business etiquette course by Marion Gellatly of Powerful Presence did just that.

My favorite thing I learned was that when someone is toasting you, you shouldn’t drink. And this came in handy immediately after the conference.

I shared this new information with my business partners and their families at dinner, and a few of us decided to constantly toast our creative director for the rest of the night! (It became slightly less funny when he started toasting us back in retaliation!)

But in all seriousness, Marion gave me some things to think about, and the key things I learned are:

  • When setting the table:
    • Remember BMW – Bread (plate), Meal, Water (glass) – in that order from left to right
    • Use silverware from outward in towards the center
  • When you sit down:
    • Enter your chair from the right
    • Immediately put your napkin in your lap, folded in half with the fold toward you
  • During the meal:
    • No getting up for any reason, except for between courses; if you do leave, put your napkin on your chair, only on the table when finished
    • No “grooming” (lipstick, fixing hair, etc.)
    • No handbag or phone on the table
    • No sharing from one plate – ask for an extra
    • Spoon soup away from you
    • Pass food to the right, offering left first
    • If your food arrives earlier, wait for permission from others at the table before beginning (don’t start if they don’t give it)
  • When you are finished:
    • Put your silverware side by side on the right side of your plate
    • Don’t ask for leftovers (This one will be hardest for me!)
  • If you are the host:
    • Ask if they have food allergies or preferences after they accept your invitation; make two suggestions – mainstream and ethnic
    • Reconfirm the morning of the event
    • Wait 20 minutes if they are late
    • Direct your guests where to sit; if only one guest, sit them kitty corner from you
    • Allow your guest to order first; if your guest orders two courses, match his order
    • Don’t start business conversation until the orders have been taken

I hope these tips are as helpful and as interesting for you as they were for me….but I may still take home my leftovers!

My Trip to NALS & RMA Conference

I’ve just returned from the North American Live Stock and Rodeo Managers Association conference in Red Lodge, Montana. And I can sum it up by saying, what a hoot!

These are the nicest people you’ll ever come across, which really validated our decision to focus on this industry. I couldn’t decide whether the people were more like a family or a small town, but they were so welcoming and appreciative of our sponsorship; I truly loved my time with this special group.

I sponsored the conference on the advice of Bucky Lamb, the CEO of our wonderful partner Rodeo Austin. He said there were no guarantees, but he felt this would be a receptive audience to our message. I only went with the hope that I’d make some friends in the industry, and I certainly did. But I think I even gave some events something to think about in raising the bar on their online presence.

One thing I was struck by is just how many issues these event coordinators face besides online marketing and their event websites. I am so engrossed in the online world that it’s easy to forget it is only a small (but important!) part of the myriad of details it takes to put on a successful event.

There was a great session on social media, where I got to hear Steve Richo and Mark O’Shea from Noise New Media give some fascinating statistics and advice on integrating social media into an online marketing plan. There was also a surprisingly informative presentation by Marion Gellatly at Powerful Presence about business etiquette, where I learned I break approximately 76.8% of the rules!  Oops. (More on that in another post.)

But the most fun was in the amazing places Justin Mills of The NILE (the host of this year’s conference) arranged for us to see – from a cattle tagging manufacturer to a bull testing facility to a belt buckle store to the Buffalo Bill Historic Center to World Famous Pig Races and great meals at Irma Hotel and music by a very entertaining songwriter who shared this funny quote: “Drink, because the brain cell you kill might be the one that was holding you back.”

Thank you to everyone at NALS & RMA! It was great to meet you, and I’m already looking forward to next year!