Thursday, January 30, 2014

PNER Convention, January 24, 25, 36, 2014

Ride season is off to a great start!  Monica and I headed down to the Portland Airport Sheraton last weekend, where the 2014 PNER Convention was being held.  We knew there was a good line-up of speakers, lots of vendors, the used tack sale and of course, the Awards Banquet on Saturday night.

We went down early Friday morning because Monica and Aarene Storms were sharing a vendor table and Monica wanted to get set up and start selling.  I think we were there and pretty much set up by noon.  Once I had helped her get most of her stuff in, I trotted off to check out the vendors and the used tack sale and to buy my raffle tickets.  Last year I made out like a bandit at the raffle and I was hoping to repeat my feat.  I brought a bunch of stuff for the used tack sale, both mine and my friend Cindy's.  I do have to applaud the people that organize and run the tack sale - it was overflowing with great stuff in a very small space.  I found a few 'must have and can afford' items and immediately bought them.  No waiting around or someone else will get the great deals!

I headed over to the raffle booth and bought lots of tickets, including 4 for the portable corral raffle (those were $5 each, the regular raffle being a $1 per ticket).  We had also brought a bunch of books to the Junior's Used Book Sale (along with every other person at the convention, it appeared), so I put them out too.  I did a quick look at the great stuff in the vendor area - everything from saddles to clothes to skin care products.  I then gave Monica a break so she could go check out the tack sale and vendors and sold a few Endurance 101 books and some of Monica's helmet charms.
Monica Bretherton photo
I learned a bit about Ride and Tie for a student.
Monica Bretherton photo
I'm not sure I could do Ride and Tie, although the nice people in the booth were very encouraging.  My running skills are very outdated (although they said some people power walk), but who knows.  I did go  from 'NEVER' to 'hmmm'.  All you can ask!
I got to chat with several people I hadn't seen in a while and got to meet a bunch of the 'Green Beans' as some of the newbies have taken to calling themselves.  In fact, something I really enjoyed about this Convention was the fact that there was so much aimed at newcomers to the sport.  I went to several of the presentations meant for newbies and even though I've been competing (lightly) for 10 years, I learned something new in each one.  There were some excellent questions.  It also made me think about the newbies that I'm helping along and gave me some good ideas.  We'll see if they agree later on...
Monica and I ended our Friday at dinner with a bunch of friends, both old and new and headed to bed early.
Saturday began with a good breakfast and then we went to the Endurance 101 talk, given by Aarene Storms.  There was a very good turnout of newbies and also non-newbies.  I really enjoyed her talk (and she asked ME to introduce her!).  We had to break before we really wanted to (tons of great questions, just not enough time) because next up was the General Meeting.  It seemed to be well attended and there was quite a bit of discussion, mostly polite, on quite a few issues.  The big one was the whole 'Should AERC be part of FEI endurance or not' discussion, that has been getting lots of attention.  What I found very interesting was that the whole debate started with the idea of distancing the AERC from FEI, up to the point of no longer participating.  After much discussion, much of it very, very good and well thought out, we voted for a motion to continue being part of FEI endurance.  It really was fascinating to see people change their minds, after they had heard all sides of the story.  Our FEI riders really had some excellent points and were able to get them across. 
After that meeting, I went to the talk given by Dr. Jen on lameness.  It was great, especially the videos she showed.  I think we all had a new appreciation for the hard work our endurance vets do at every ride.  Then I stayed for most of Dr. Vanwhal's (I think I have that right) talk on the hoof.  There were some really great slides.  Then I had to go get whatever hadn't sold from the used tack sale and check out the raffle table again.  I had a modest haul this year, I guess I used up my luck last year.  But wait...
We then all went and got prettied up, which only took Monica and I about 10 minutes.  We all headed down to the cocktail hour and then to dinner and the awards.
The Fish Creek Gang has a tradition of wearing prom dresses (often from a thrift store) to this, so as you might imagine, we were pretty, um, obvious?  There was a range of clothing from jeans to our finery, with every gradation in between.  Here is a photo from Friday night when we were figuring out our finery.
A few of the Fish Creek Gang/Pirates getting ready for our big party on Saturday.  Monica Bretherton photo.
We looked pretty much the same on Saturday, with perhaps a few dress changes.  We had our dinner and then the awards started.  In between awards, they gave out ride entries (with unwon raffle tickets).  I won an entry to Seneca Stampede.  I've never been there, so it sounds like a great time to go try it out.  There was a nice slideshow to go along with the awards and then towards the end, they did the drawing for the Hold My Horses portable corral.  We have two of them, but I had bought 4 tickets total, cause you can ALWAYS use more, especially as I'll be taking along some newbies this year.  And guess what?  My luck changed and I WON IT!  Whoo hoo!  I know Carlene took a photo of me fondling it, but I can't find it right now.  So, just imagine a big grin and me holding the corral rather possessively. 
After that, we partied for a while, got our dancing shoes on (or off in my case) and had a great time.  Monica and I didn't stay up terribly late and Sky Evans was sharing our room that night.  So, we had a 'girl's slumber party' and got to know Sky a bit better.  Monica knew her, but I had never met her.  We had a nice chat. 
Next day, Monica and I went to the New Board meeting and then headed home around 11 or so, after loading my corral into Monica's van (good planning there!).  All in all, a very good weekend!

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