... I said many times today as I tended the WEG Information booth located in the Trade Show in-door tent today.
The day started out fine...Thanks to GPS I am able to locate my nearest Sugar-Free Iced Coffee anywhere. McDonald's, by the way, is sporting special World Equestrian Games hats on their crew...well...some of their crew. I wanted to ask the kids who weren't playing along nicely if I could have their hat (Black with the WEG Horse head logo in red and a set of yellow arches) that they obviously don't want....maybe tomorrow because I will be back! I'm sure that's why they call it an addiction, right?
So I got to the designated parking area and headed to the volunteer check-in area. I met up with a gal and we got to talking on the little trek over a few bridges and across a few fields. It turned out that she was also scheduled to be in the Trade Show Info booth so she told me just to come with her as we'd be working together. We checked in with the staff, got our "hero" cards punched and a cup of coffee and headed over into the park. Right about then the Ariat girls drove up and asked if we wanted a ride so that saved us a good portion of the fairly long walk. We got to the booth and introduced ourselves to the coordinators and other volunteers and I started getting to know where things were ...like "Where's the nearest bathroom?", "Where is the food?", "Where is the Friesians booth?" and "Where is Jane Heart?" OH hey....I already knew the answer to that one!
Jane Heart is an Equine Artist/Jewelry designer that I met online when we were planning the first HeART of the Horse Art Show/Auction last year. I went to do a search online for our event to see if it would come up and I got a hit on Jane Heart so I felt compelled to write to her when I discovered she'd done a tribute piece to Barbaro. Jane ended up donating a gift certificate as a silent auction item. Later, I was given a silver Barbaro pendant as a thank-you gift from the SAFE Board of directors and I wear Barbaro every day....he goes where I go! Anyway, twice I've tried to catch up to her at the Kentucky Derby but we've missed each other. Last week I got an email from her that she would be set up in the United States Dressage Federation (USDF) building at the WEG and to come by to see her, so I did take a break today and do just that! It was so great to finally meet her and she offered to polish up Barbaro for me. Meanwhile I was checking out her other pieces and discovered that she's now also done a Secretariat tribute piece, complete with checkered face mask and is currently waiting to find out if the Secretariat folks are going to license it. It's a great piece and now's a great time to pick one up as she thinks it will sell out. What fun! We took a walk over to the USDF hospitality room where they had several tables set up with samples and contests so I signed up for them all! Received yet another tote bag & tons of reading material. There was also a HUGE table of water and snacks so I was well cared for there...thanks USDF!! And it was lovely to meet you in person, Jane!!
But back at the Info booth...all hell was breaking loose. It seems we were more a contact point for the vendors and filled in with various small (and much easier questions from guests. I the turns out that the Internet was down for most of the vendors and so they were periodically checking in to see when it might be back up. Did I Mention that there are something like 300+ vendors there!? Ok, not all of them came up to the booth and I do understand why they'd be concerned but I did manage to repeat the answer so many times I could say it with firm authority! The 1.5 hours I was originally told turned into overnight, but I could tell folks with such conviction that they walked away...it might be the right answer to "How may I help you?" But it was one and it's all I knew so that was what the answer was....and *I* said so! (actually, I smiled a lot and nodded my head in sympathy!) ... no confrontations needed.
So it was getting to be close to the time I thought I was leaving (6:00pm) and the coordinator said she thought all the volunteers were staying til 8:00 pm. When she got a copy of the schedule, she said she could not locate me. I looked it up on email in my phone and it said 7:00pm so I showed it to her and told her I'd be happy to stay til 7...and 8 if they needed me to. That's when she said "OH! You're supposed to be at the other booth that sells programs!" Holy Cow....why did I listen to that woman who insisted I just "come with" her....something told me I should try to talk to someone about my first shift and where to go, but this woman seemed like she knew what she was doing so I followed her direction. While the two coordinators were gushing over the fact that they got me today and pleaded with me to please come back the rest of the week, I told them I had other venues to work at, not just the Trade Show...tomorrow is Main Stadium and Dressage. So I feel terrible that anyone at the other booth might be shorted but just about the time I wanted to call the coordinator of the other booth, my phone went dead AND everyone in our booth had to run off to do something to get ready for the internet connection fix so truly I was still needed but I would not be able to get free enough to go tell them in person how sorry I am if they were left stranded there. They were gone by the time we tied everything up at the other booth :(
So tomorrow sounds exciting. If I can get to bed early enough (like in a few minutes) I may try to get up in time to go see Dressage in the morning before my shift. We'll see...and we'll see if I actually get to work at the Main Stadium after my mix up yesterday.
Thanks today to my awesome "Home Team" ....Kelli who braved new duties to get over to my shop at 6am to rent kits (her first time) and to my husband who came after work to meet candidates after their last tests. And to Jean who's coming in tomorrow, hopefully to something resembling organization and will help get kits up to date.
So here's me in my Ariat Volunteer gear in a lovely light blue...two polos, a jacket and a hat! Love them all!!!! Thanks Ariat :)