Well, as always, people had comments regarding yesterday’s post. “What about all the Trainer Exhibits and Breed Demonstrations…” and “The Expo is so much more than just vendors…” and “The events are incredible there and you only spoke of things you could buy…”.
Yes, they are correct. The Western States Horse Expo has a lot of stuff going on. Olympians, Trainers, Hall of Famers, Music, Breeds, Horse Sales, Horse Demonstrations, Kids stuff, food… there is even a water park (that costs extra)! Yup, it is all there. And, everyone should go and do what they like to do. For me, I’m not that much into the other stuff. I don’t know why. I guess I just prefer the hunt. I prefer walking around and trying to find that new, wonderful product. So, I roam the Halls and occasionally trek out to the Food Court. Sure, I pass by the Exhibitions and take note. But, really, I know I can find breed information in many places, I can watch demos on my DVDR and I really don’t want to be tempted to take home another… However, I know I cannot touch and feel gear, all in one place, very easily. So, for me, I am the Ghost of Expos Past who rattles around the buildings, looking for new products to haunt. And sometimes I test the homemade candy, too. ;)
As I stated yesterday, every single attendee at the Expo receives a yellow, plastic Pyranha (I have to look at the bag to spell that every darn time!) bag upon passing through the greeter gauntlet right near the entrance area. I have tried to duck around them but they get ya. It is their mission to provide you with the yellow bag (with the coupons inside) and you are gonna get one whether you want one or not! So, I got one. I get one every year. And, as I said yesterday, they get filled and really heavy very quickly. I tend to stuff them up with cards, flyers, do-dads and what-nots that I think I should have to review ‘later’. The thing is, later never comes. That bag with all of its precious cargo, just sits. It sits on a shelf in my office closet. Luckily, it isn’t lonely because the yellow bags from all of the previous years sit there, too.
Well, yesterday, I decided to go through the contents of the bags from the last two years. And, to be honest, last year, attendance was really low. There were far less vendors. So, I decided to incorporate two years worth of bags. This is sad to me. I love the Expo. And, it is hard to watch the economy take a huge bite out of this market as well. I hope it picks up this year. I know that they have added Dogs to the Exhibitors list. I guess horses and dogs go together and if it boosts attendance, I’m all for it. Long live the Expo! (Please look at the contents picture carefully… in the lower right hand corner you will see the green eye of my stalker kitty. He stalks me when I sit at my desk writing…)
OK, now here we go with the
CONTENTS OF MY YELLOW BAGS
Here are some items I picked to chat about from the contents of my yellow bags. These are in no particular order, I just started pulling out receipts and cards and flyers and brochures and the memories that went along with them…
1) The first item I pulled out was a receipt for my metal chickens. I adore my metal chickens. This booth had so many inexpensive yet clever and fun metal art, I could have taken it all home. They even brought huge furniture items! I went back to their booth about 12 times. I ended up with just the chickens, but I am sad I didn’t get the giant chicken they had there. It must have been 4′ tall. I would have bought it but I only had my small vehicle and it wouldn’t fit. Lesson learned, always bring the truck! Anyway, if you are ever in El Paso, go visit them. The name is The Lone Star Group and the website is: www.mylonestardecor.com.
2) Bucks Bags (www.bucksbags.com): I love this booth. Well, I have a sickness when it comes to bags and purses. I love anything with compartments. So, honestly, a bag vendor isn’t really a horse vendor. But, they are there every year because they make themselves fit into the category. You’ll find a section of horsey related items like rope bags or trailer bags and the rest of the booth is just really cool soft containment devices of every sort. My favorite score from last year was a very powerful but tiny flashlight that fits into your cigarette lighter slot. So, you charge it in your truck and you always have a flashlight. I bought one for myself and one for Hubby. We both use it often. I can read maps or take it with me if I forgot to leave the porch light on… I also bought the lanyard attachment. Now I can wear it around my neck with my whistle for trail riding.
I also had to laugh at the “beverage belt” that they created. OMG. Who is going to carry around 6 carbonated drinks among horses? If you used that while riding or just feeding, for criminy sakes, as soon as you opened one it would spray all over the place. Perhaps a better use would be just as a work-out device while mucking about outside. Or, probably the intended use was for sitting around in a fishing boat. But, regardless, if you are in a boat, is the cooler that far away? Or, do you need 6 drinks before you want to move anywhere? Or is this for hunting and you are the guy who carries everyone elses’ drinks while they carry your sandwich? Dunno. But, obviously someone suggested they create one and there must be enough people buying them…
3) The “Oh, I wanna go to a Dude Ranch someday” brochure. Yup, every year I pick up one from the gorgeous and welcoming booths of the Ranch Experience people. Well, to my surprise, inside last year’s yellow bag, I found a brochure for V6 Ranch! Now that may not be exciting for you readers today. But, it is for me because I went to that Dude Ranch last October and wrote about it in my blog. (here is the link) Anyway, it was such a great time yet I had no idea that I had ever heard of them before. Not only had I heard of them before, but I actually stopped at the booth and picked up their brochure. So, I guess there is such a thing as a self fulfilling prophecy. It is just too bad I cannot remember anything to realize that I just fulfilled a prophecy! Still, you should go the the Varian Ranch if you ever have the hankerin’ to do the Dude Ranch thing in comfort. www.parkfield.com
4) ColiClenz Plus Pellets: (link is here) Well, as I’ve written before in a previous post, my old tyme vet told me long ago to add tapioca pearls into their feed once a month (or so) to remove sand from the gut. I have never experience sand colic so I don’t know if my homemade remedy is working or if I am just lucky. But. last year, I had a very sick gelding so I was jumping at anything. And, this product caught my eye. I think it is a good idea. The premise is that you purchase this bag of psyllium plus other stuff pellets and feed it to them on a five day program. You figure it has to work because the main ingredient is that sticky psyllium husk. So, why not? Couldn’t hurt, could help. So, I bought it. I used it and he ate it willingly. And, when my gelding was exposed for science, there was nothing foreign in his gut. So, either he was clean his whole life or got clean at the end of his life from this product.
But I want to caution you here. (Not on the product but on the carrying of the product.) If you see this at the Expo. Don’t buy it and then lug it around all day. Either buy it at the end of the day as you are getting ready to head to the car, or ask them to keep it for you in their booth. The sack may look small but it weighs a ton!
Also, another fun thing about this product… the brochure I have has a different website than the one I posted for you. I guess in a year’s time, they have gotten more backers or grown or something because what used to be sort-of MaPa marketing is now really snazzy. So, I guess this manufacturers day at the Expo was good for them in many ways! I love those stories!
5) Foothill Country Sheds & Shelters (link here): I was so happy to be reunited with this brochure! I remember being astounded by the workmanship and the low cost of these buildings. Now, I don’t know if they ship to your area, but I hope they do or this inspires you to find “that guy” in your area. Wow! These were so much nicer than Tuff Sheds (sorry) and you could also ask for custom work. And, they had a “show special” advertised right on the brochure so remember to ask for those in every booth!
Anyway, I guess my point is here that if you want a real wood building, check out the Hometown Joes who are at the Expo in your area. They work hard to create a presence in the market, especially with all the big guys at these shows. Hail to the little guy who makes great shelters we can afford!
6) Dr. Wacky’s Oweee! (website here): Ok, this stuff has an odd name but I know the people and they are wonderful with wonderful products! One of my veterinarian friends is behind this and he also created all the Healing-Tree products. I love them. I wrote about how the T-Zon saved my mare in this post.
Anyway, I got hooked on this because, I hate to admit it, I get poison oak and ringworm often. I know how I get the poison oak but the ringworm baffles me. Anyway, the fact that I have huge embarrassment about my ringworm yet this bottle of salvation has a goofy name kinda sets me at ease. And, so far, it works on both ringworm AND poison oak! They have many products under this moniker so please take a look!
6) I totally forgot about these guys! ALEXIS TRAILERS (559-324-9999): I kept their brochure because when Hubby and I were walking around, this series was the absolute nicest for the money. I think one even had a propane fireplace! Anyway, I remember asking how/why they were able to create these for so much less money and he told me that they make it all (interior and exterior) on the premises in Clovis, CA. I wondered how any one manufacturer could make both the inside and outside well… He told me that he got his start making movie trailers for the actors when they were on location. Do you know what I mean? The actor goes to his “trailer” when not needed but not released for the day.
Now, this rang strong for me because, of course as you all know, I’m a Producer. So, I’ve seen many movie trailers. And, actors are difficult to please, lemme tell you. So the fact that this guy can create movie trailers successfully makes me know that he can make trailers for the horse industry — at least the facia and materials will be correct. As far as design, well, he is a horseman himself! So, this was a perfect combination for me.
I already have a trailer and am not in the market. But, when I am in the market, I will buy from Alexis. And, it is also nice for us West Coasters to have a trailer manufacturer in our backyard!
7) The Original Cinch Hook (link here): Well, here is a perfect story of the little guy who tries something at the Expo. I have in my hand a color card which is four sided and laid out very well. It has pictures, websites, endorsements, you name it…! But, when I went to the website, it was gone. So, I goggled the name and Chick’s saddlery is now selling them. The item is exactly as pictured on my card. And, the Chick’s page has exactly the same wording as some of the card. So, I don’t know what happened. But, Chick’s now has the Cinch Hook.
As far as the product itself, I remember thinking it was a good idea at the time. I remember playing with it and thinking it would make one less step while saddling. I think I didn’t purchase it because it felt kinda spendy. But, you take a look and see what you think. The thought of not having to do the loopdelou each time you cinch up would be nice, eh?
8) California State Horsemaen’s Association bumper sticker: Yup, I have one in the bag. I really should put it somewhere on my truck. It is a great association with a plethora of information and events for us California horsemen. It has been around since 1942 so I think I could learn something by paying a bit more attention here. Anyway, I am keeping the bumper sticker out and will try to remember to walk it down to the truck and then apply it somewhere. But, I think more helpful would be to actually read over the site and join some things. I’m bad at joining things…
9) Last but not least, the brochure for the Western States Horse Expo Horse Sale run by Dave Hammond Auctions (website): OK, I could be talking through my hat here when I relay my experience because I know NOTHING about horse auctions except that I don’t regard them highly. In fact, I attended this horse auction kicking and screaming.
You see, unfortunately for my hubby, the dates of the Expo usually fall right around my birthday. And, as much as he avoids the Expo conversation, invariably I will suggest that perhaps he comes with me “for my birthday”. Big Pause. He doesn’t show any outward appearance of the dread he feels inside; but I know he experiences the heimlich gut punch of the take-one-for-the-Gipper relationship trap I presented. Poor guy.
Still, I must say, two years ago we went and had a really good time! I think the Beer Hut helped, but we had a great time —
You probably wonder how we could ever enjoy a horse sale because those poor horses (my inner thoughts here) are dragged in from all over heck and back, they are probably all drugged and then they get sold to anybody who bids the highest. I didn’t want to go to the horse sale AT ALL. But, Hubby did. And since I had dragged him to the Expo, I figured I needed to bend a little on this one. So, off we went…
We sat on the very angular, cold and rump numbing bleachers with our beer. Let me first say, I don’t think beer is a good idea when sitting at a horse sale. I guess beer is pretty much a bad idea at any sale but the thought of clouded judgment as you bid on a live animal sounds sad to me. As for me, beer or no beer, I am totally hopeless at Horse Sales. “I’ll take him!” “How much for all of them? I’ll just take them all and everyone else can go home…” Eeeeee.
Anyway, I’m happy to report that all of the horses on display seemed at the top of their game and not drugged at all. The trainers were, in general, OK. And, not one animal went for anywhere near a meat price. So, I felt relieved. I relaxed and got into the spirit of it all… Actually, as I looked about the room, many of the bidders were very serious and had come here to find their new horse.
Honestly, I was really caught up in the moment. I was clapping and yalping with the best of them! The auctioneer seemed to know both the riders and horses fairly well. He would give tidbits of information throughout and would refuse to sell a horse if the price was too low. Or, he’d say he would bring a certain horse back later if we were too blind to see how great he was… I know these are all sales tactics, but they worked! I had a really good time watching the serious bidders bid. Some of the horses went for very high dollars. And, I truly loved watching the ranch horses work. Most of them were in hackamores, rope halters or snaffle bits. Yay!
So, I guess my point is that I dreaded going to this sale and I ended up feeling like several people found the horses of their dreams.
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