Hello cigar fans. For the final time this 2019 IPCPR season, it is Heather Hartel, the halfwheel editorial assistant. The 2019 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show wrapped up a little over a week ago, so I am now summing up my IPCPR 2019 experience with the halfwheel team. Coming back for my second year, this show was filled with equal amounts of excitement, challenge, delicious meals, long hours and lots of coffee.
Starting from the beginning of IPCPR, one thing that worked extremely well was having the whole team arrive in Las Vegas an entire day early. Last year, we tried to cram in the Facebook Live show on the same day we prepped for the show and reviewed the entire guide. This year, Charlie smartly decided to set the Facebook Live a day earlier to offer us more downtime. This meant I was able to spend two hours sipping a mojito by the hotel pool, whereas last year there was very minimal time for recreation in the day leading up to the show. Thursday was all-around lovely – the Facebook Live show was at the Davidoff cigar bar in Las Vegas where we enjoyed air conditioning and exciting interviews, and we ended the day at the Altadis U.S.A. media dinner.
On Friday, we had more leisure time in the morning and then spent the day setting up the booth on the trade show floor. While it’s really just a black box on the floor of the Sands Expo Center, the booth is filled with cameras, microphones, tables, chairs, a printer, alcohol and snacks. It takes time and care to set up. Another positive mention of this year’s show is that our booth was twice the size. This meant less bumping in to each other and spending less time in extremely tight quarters. It also gave me twice the space to practice yoga, which was awesome. We ended our Friday evening with a delightful meal at Momofuku – where we enjoyed slightly too much food, but still made room for cake.
Days one and two flew by in a blur. I personally have a multitude of tasks throughout the days of the trade show. I download all photo and video content to the laptops, edit video, edit each post for content and grammar, share all posts on social media and gather lunches for the team. As one can imagine, the eight hours of the show fly by as they’re filled with things to do. One thing I noticed this year, and it may just be a function of schedules, was that it felt the team was in the booth less. I was lonely at times, but always had something to work on.
My highlight of the trip was our staff dinner on Saturday evening. We enjoyed an outstanding dinner at Picasso, and while the food was outstanding, I enjoyed the company the best. I felt that spirits were high at dinner. The team was feeling happy and we all got to share in laughter with each other. Our conversations ranged from joking about taking selfies with each Picasso in the restaurant, to laughing about reality TV, to me sharing my love for Guy Fieri. The team ended the night with some very light gambling, where I won a whopping $14.
Overall, there is another successful trade show in the books. Whatever the future of the trade show is, I am unyieldingly confident in the halfwheel team and know that the coverage of the industry will continue to remain impeccable. The dedication of Charlie, Patrick, Brian and Brooks is commendable. I hope all of the readers of halfwheel truly enjoy their coverage of the industry, and commitment to offering inclusivity and a look inside the convention.
See you next year!