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Cruzin Cooler – Rob Lewis is riding high on the Cruzin Cooler.

Show Time
Sports Licensing & Entertainment Marketplace Debuts in Las Vegas
November 9, 2006

What do a guy on a motorized skooter/cooler and a nearly two-ton Brahma bull have in common? Both could be found roaming the floor of the inaugural Sports Licensing & Entertainment Marketplace and Picnic • Tailgate Show in Las Vegas. Actually, that’s only partially true. Buckshot, the bull in question, is penned in at the Professional Bull Riders booth. But Rob Lewis of Cruzin Cooler has been tooling all over the exhibit space.

“The show is great,” he says. “This is exactly where we need to be.”

Lewis, no doubt, is excited partly because of the attention the innovative Cruzin Cooler is receiving. In fact, within two hours of the show’s start, he was doing an interview with a crew from CNBC. But Lewis isn’t the only exhibitor who’s attracting attendees interested in learning about product and writing business.

“We’ve been happy with the traffic,” says Peter McCabe of Biederlack of America. “So far, so good.”

Buckshot, with retired rider Jimmy Taylor, at the Professional Bull Riders exhibit.

Biederlack is one of many companies that has been busy since the show’s doors opened at 9 a.m. on Thursday. Crowds have also been seen flocking to exhibitors like G-III, Hunter Manufacturing, Winning Streak Sports, Scottish Christmas and K2 Licensed Products. That’s not to mention the industry giants on hand. The NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB and NASCAR are all exhibiting as well. In all, there are more than 300 exhibitors here in Las Vegas. That number includes those at the Picnic • Tailgate Show, which has fit in perfectly with the myriad of licensed product on display.

The reviews from buyers and retailers walking the aisles certainly have been upbeat. “It’s an excellent show,” says Tom Johnson of Souvenir Specialties in Michigan. “I’m looking mostly for Michigan and Michigan State stuff, but I’ve also started to delve into NFL and NASCAR. I have so much stuff in my briefcase I can hardly carry it.”

The Nextel Cup, on display at the NASCAR booth..

Show-goers have also gravitated to the new Retailer Education Program, a series of free seminars, panel discussions and “power lunches” run by Jack Smith, former head of Sports Authority. Among the featured speakers on Day 1 was John Winsor, CEO of Radar Communications, who talked about how the industry can engender consumer loyalty. Another popular stop at the show has been the Licensing Concept Shop, where a number of business-building merchandising ideas have been assembled for retailers.

This is Las Vegas, however, so entertainment of course is a major priority, too. The show has done its part with a calendar of daily events, including cooking demonstrations by the Clever Cleaver Brothers. Meanwhile, Day 1 at the show concluded with the Ultimate Tailgate Party, which was headlined by the country rock group Whiskey Falls.

 

 

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