Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Palin Call, Chicago Show

Last week was a little crazy, with R.U. Outside preparations for a big tradeshow in Chicago...and an impromptu phone call from my old friend, Todd Palin. I knew we'd connect again sooner or later, but Todd's a little more well-known now than he was fourteen years ago, when our paths first crossed in an R.U. Outside booth at the Alaska State Fair. He's under a constant microscope these days, and his every second is in demand. The fact that he made time to call and catch up speaks volumes of the man.

It was wild chatting with him again, hearing about his & Sarah's Presidential campaign adventures (the McCain's treated them great), and sensing that he's still as down-to-earth and real as ever. Whether you're Democrat or Republican, you need to know that the Palins are incredible people.

I had faxed Todd a couple of hand-written notes during the campaign, which he said he received and for which he thanked me on the phone. He wanted some R.U. Outside products to use in the big Iron Dog snowmobile race over the weekend, and insisted on paying for them. I've always admired Todd's character, but this cemented it. All the best to never know.

The next day, I was off to Chicago. It was R.U. Outside's fourth consecutive year of exhibiting at the International Motorcycle Show there, which is a huge event. Flying non-stop from Jackson Hole to Chicago's O'Hare airport was amazing, and made the trip much easier. It was a bluebird day the whole way, with a temperature of 2 degrees when I landed in Chicago. Brrr!

My man Jimmy drove down from Minneapolis with all the R.U. Outside booth fixtures and product, and we went to work setting up our display. It was physically easier back in our younger days, but we still managed to get the work done and saved a little time for fun. Kas & Kelly gave the necessary female organizational input, which we always need. It was a good team.

I went into the show with modest expectations, because of the economy. But, it blew my mind and attendance was actually up, as were our sales. The crowds are bigger than any other event we do, and hopefully this photo does that justice. I love the people and spirit in just feel like you're really in the heart of America. They are tough but caring, with can-do attitides. And, they're determined to continue having fun. Could this be the year for the Cubs?! :-)

The highlight of the show for me was seeing dear friends Celia & Dave. They were neighbors, best friends and adventure companions in Driggs for years, and now live back in the midwest. It had been four years since we'd seen each other, much too long. Dave is a motorcycle fan, so they made the trip to Chicago and we spent about 24-hours hanging out. It was great recounting all the good old times. Thanks, you guys...and let's not allow four years to go by again.


Garth and Alicia said...

Wow! That is awesome about Todd. What a nice guy! I live with Carly, Scott Davis's daughter (Scott is Todd's racing partner in the Iron Dog). She has nothing but nice things to say about the Palins as well. They seem like an amazing family.
Celia and Dave look great!! How fun to see a photo of them! I'm glad to hear the show went well.

Rick LaBelle said...

Hey Alicia,
Thanks for the great comment...and wow, indeed; what a small world it is. Tell Carly "hello" and I hope Todd & Scott finish up well at the Iron Dog. Cie & Dave do look great, it was fun to reconnect and sad to say good-bye again. On your end: congrats to Garth on his Canterbury & Brainerd podium finishes! Hope to see you all at the Jackson Hillclimbs next month.