Our trip to the Big Show: Rodeo Houston

As rodeo season got into full swing, the Austin office realized that we all had one thing missing in our lives: none of us had ever been to the Houston Rodeo.

Kendra quickly took matters into her own hands and bought tickets for us to take a little field trip down to Houston, and it was quite a fun evening!

Once we arrived, Kendra, Jessica and Rebekah wanted to take a walk around the grounds, but Cassie headed straight for the arena so she wouldn’t miss a second of the action.  She even got to see her childhood friend Kay, whose husband is Pro-Bareback Rider Steven Dent.

We were happy to be a part of the crowd of 76,987 that attended the rodeo on Thursday night as we enjoyed a night filled with fried food and cold beer.

I think I can speak for the whole team when I say that the highlight of the night was Lady Antebellum!  They played a great set and really had the crowd going.


(Photo courtesy of Houston Radio Station KHMX)

The next morning, we couldn’t help but notice the cutest cupcake shop on our way out of town.  We decided to make a quick stop at Crave Cupcakes to get a treat from their rodeo inspired selection for the ride home.  It was a great decision!

The Austin office had a great experience at Rodeo Houston, and we hope to make it back next year.  We wish their team the best of luck on the last few days of their 2012 event.

IAFE 2011: Eat, Drink and Be Merry!

Since thousands of miles separate the Austin and Portland Saffire Offices, any chance our team has to spend time together is sure to be filled with excitement and fun.

With such a busy convention schedule, most of our free time was spent having yummy meals and playing various casinos.

While we didn’t hit the BIG jackpot we were all hoping for, we settled for a few mediocre slot machine wins on Top Dollar and Lucky Larry’s Lobster Mania.

If you know much about this team, you know we might be are  foodies.  We had the opportunity to eat at some new finds and old favorites while we were in Las Vegas.

We made two stops at the new Cosmopolitan Hotel, which was right across from the Paris Hotel where we were staying.  This trendy, new hotel was home to Holsteins and D.O.C.G.  At Holsteins, we enjoyed the Gold Standard, which was voted the best burger in Las Vegas, and various “Bam-Boozled Shakes.”  As for D.O.C.G., well we’re just glad we didn’t set more than the menu on fire.  Oops! 

After about 24 hours away from Texas, the Austin office was in serious need of some Mexican food.  So we headed over to Planet Hollywood to have some burritos and fajitas at Yolo’s.

Since Wednesday night was our last evening together in Vegas, we had a team dinner at a Saffire favorite: Tao.  A few specialty cocktails and lots of toasts later, we had a delicious meal and enough laughs to last until we’re together again.

Our team really is a family, and it was great to spend time together in Sin City.  Viva Las Vegas!

– Rebekah

2011 College Football Predictions

Do you feel that?  It’s something different in the air this week…excitement and a little bit of animosity.

That’s right ladies and gents, it’s college football season! 

The truth is that the folks in Austin and Portland have some pretty different views on how this season will turn out, so we decided to share our predictions for who will win it all in the 2011-12 NCAA College Football Season with you.

Who is going to take home the big prize this year?  Well, let the guesses and trash talking begin!

OU

Aaron

The University of Oklahoma – I’m curious to see if I’ll be able to hear the disappointment in Texas if OU wins it all.

ASU

Adam

I’m going to pick Arizona State. I actually almost ended up going to college there (and the Beavers keep letting me down).

Nebraska

Cassie

Even though the Texas Longhorns won six years of my tuition dollars, my season ticket purchase and their own ESPN network (HOOK EM HORNS!), I don’t think this is their year for a title run. I’m going to pick the Nebraska Cornhuskers, making their Big Ten conference debut. There is no place like Nebraska: Taylor Martinez is now an experienced QB, and DT Jared Crick was voted the preseason #1 player in his new conference, making the blackshirt defense hard to beat. The Huskers’ success ultimately hinges on their ability to develop the passing game, which seems to always be Nebraska’s biggest downfall–are you listening Bo Pelini? GO BIG RED!

Oregon

Chris

I’m rooting for the University of Oregon because I’m from Oregon. And I like all 384 combinations of their uniforms. Go Ducks!

Oregon

Dan

I’m going with the Oregon Ducks. They have a lot of returning players and I think they can go all the way this year.

Texas

Jessica

Call me a Homer but my prediction for the 2011 National Championship team is the University of Texas Longhorns. You may say it’s “just” a rebuilding year, but I say we’re rebuilding our way all the way back to the top, baby! Fortunately, college football is a game of passion and heart, so it’s not completely unheard of an AP Poll, preseason unranked team to walk away with the title. The Horns’ new coaching staff will ignite that fire to lead us to victory, week in and week out! Hook ‘Em!

Seattle Seahawks

Jeremy

Last year, I chose my dear Portland State University Vikings, only to be mocked by everyone in my office. This year, I have aimed to be a little more realistic, so I am choosing my also beloved Seattle Seahawks to win the NCAA National Championship. With the off-season acquisition of Tarvaris Jackson, under the tutelage of former outstanding college head coach Pete Carroll. I am quite certain that we would have a way better chance of winning something if we were playing at the NCAA level. Go ‘Hawks!

Boise State

Justin

I’m going with Boise State. They are returning the same team that climbed to as high as No. 2 in the rankings in 2010. The senior class is 38-2 since 2008 and are ready for the big time this year.

Oregon

Kendra

Although OU has is one of the strongest returning teams, as a Longhorn, there is no way that I can pick them to win.

So I am picking the Oregon Ducks.

15 of 22 starters are returning, and assuming a win against LSU this Saturday at Cowboys Stadium, their only schedule challenge will be Stanford on Nov. 12th, which will easily be the biggest Pac 12 game of the season and could be 1 vs. 2 match-up by that time.

Texas

Monika

As I thought about my prediction, I looked at the top teams and realized that I hate them all so much I couldn’t bear to pick any of them. My “other” perennial favorite, Ohio State (I was born in Ohio and raised by Buckeyes), just admitted their coach was a cheater-pants, so I obviously can’t pick them.

So what’s a girl to do? I’ll pick my Alma Mater and root for my Texas Longhorns, although all I’m personally hoping for is a running game and a winning season.

Baylor

Rebekah

With the return of star quarterback Robert Griffin III, the Baylor Bears are hopeful to prove they aren’t just the little sister of the Big XII anymore with a winning season in 2011-2012. (By the way, am I the only one that doesn’t understand why it’s still called the Big XII if there are only 10 teams?) Crossing my fingers for a bowl game again! Sic ‘em Bears!

The guy down the street

I started doing market research today on what people are looking for in their event websites.

On my first phone call to a fair about her event website, I found out that she was pretty happy with the guy down the street who does their website. This was great to hear, since most of the time, I only hear from people who have had very bad experiences with their web developers.

But on the other hand, it’s hard to know how to sell against this guy. Our team isn’t that big, but we have people who specialize in project management, writing, marketing, user interface, HTML, graphic design, programming, server/security management, etc. And they are all different people… in some cases more than one who perform the different skills needed to build a high-quality event website!

What I want to tell event directors is, we want to be your guy down the street! What would it take for you to give us a shot? Seriously, we want to know!

We know it’s scary to call a company in Austin, Texas. Whether you’re a couple hours away or a several hour plane ride, you may be concerned about being able to get a hold of us.

But having been in business since 1998, we can assure you we’re not going anywhere. And we give you the tools to manage your site yourself (and with all our resources, your site will surely be so much higher quality than a one-man show). So you can rest easier that you have everything you need to manage your website.

Since a  picture says a thousand words, here are photos of some of our team members. See? We’re really not that scary!

2011 Austin ADDY Awards

The 2011 Austin ADDY Awards were also Saturday night, and we were so excited to hear the Rodeo Austin website had been nominated for an ADDY!  We did a little party-hopping so we could attend the Rodeo Austin Gala and then run over to hear the ADDY Award announcements.

We were excited to finally take a look inside Moody Theater, the new home of Austin City Limits and the location of the ADDY’s.

There it is!  Our award-winning website.

Kendra and Jessica showing off our entry!

Jeremy was excited when they announced our award with Rodeo AustinSilver ADDY Award Website, Consumer Flash, Service.

The view of the stage from our seats on the front row.

Our team was excited to be among such great company at the ADDY”s including Shiner Beers, Whole Food Market, Frost Bank and many more.  Congratulations to all of the 2011 ADDY Award winners.  Check out the complete list of winners here.

They Like Us, They Really Like Us!

I love award ceremonies. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s seeing and hearing from stars when they’re vulnerable but trying really hard. Maybe it’s seeing George Clooney in a suit. Or maybe it’s just because I love movies and music, so the Oscars, Globes and Grammies are all on my Tivo list (and I even forgive my son Hudson for being born during the entire span of the Grammies two years ago).

But awards have started to take on a new meaning with Saffire. We’ve entered Rodeo Austin, a Saffire Client Pro website we did last year and the craziest thing has happened.

We have won every award we entered.

I’m not trying to brag, but I’ve got to tell you; it’s felt pretty good. It’s made me feel validated for thinking there was a place for us in the fair and rodeo industry!

I couldn’t be more excited about our offering. And it’s awesome to have so many others confirm that they like it too.

Next time, I’ll tell you why we decided to launch Saffire in the first place. Stay tuned!