Troutfest is moving along well. We only have 10 months to go so our planning sessions are essential to success at this point.
I chose an Executive Committee and all of those I approached agreed to serve. We had our first meeting on July 20th. The members of the committee are:
Joe Hatton – Joe is the Vice Chairman in charge of the Exposition. He will handle everything that happens on Saturday and Sunday. Joe has been the Troutfest Chairman since the beginning. It was and is his vision.
Rufus King – Rufus is the incoming President of the Little River Chapter and will serve as Vice Chairman of the Banquet and Auction.
Paula Begley and Jack Gregory – They will serve as Co-Coordinators for the food and beverages at the Banquet. They will figure out how to feed 400 to 500 people. Paula also is the Coordinator of the Casting Contest at the Exposition. She hasn’t said so yet but I think she is going to disqualify Lefty Kreh, Joe Humphreys and Bob Clouser from the competition due to professional status.
Kris Maurer – Kris runs the Fishing Department at the Orvis Store in Sevierville. He is the Vendor Coordinator. Kris will be in charge of vendor space, setup, charges to display and recruiting. He will also work with the National Manufacturers.
Herb Handly – Herb is in charge of the Smoky Mountain Convention and Visitors Bureau. He will be an advisor for the Expo and Marketing. He has extensive experience in both areas and the contacts to gain national attention to our event.
Gary Verholek – Gary has been in charge of Marketing for Troutfest for years. He is also an accomplished photographer and has a huge library of Troutfest photographs.
The meeting went well and we made some important decisions.
Bob Clouser is committed to attend and give demonstrations throughout the weekend along with Lefty Kreh and Joe Humphreys. All three will also be at the banquet Friday night.
Several National Manufacturers have committed to attend and have booths. Some of the exhibitors will be sales reps who handle several lines and others will be the owners of the companies. I have verbal commitments from reps who handle Orvis, Sage, Simms, Umpqua Feather Merchants, Rio, Tibor, Scientific Anglers and St. Croix. I have commitments from the owners of Temple Fork, Renzetti and Chota to be here. I will contact many more.
The Marketing Committee will meet tomorrow afternoon, Monday August 4th here at the shop. The committee consists of:
Gary Verholek – Gary has a background in the marketing business. He has been in charge of Marketing and Advertising for Troutfest in the past.
Herb Handly – Herb will handle National Advertising and Public Relations
Sarah Weeks – Sarah is the Director of Development at Friends of the Smokies and formerly worked in the Alumni Department at the University of Tennessee. She has extensive experience at raising money and getting a lot of people at one location for fund raising.
I will serve on the committee. I owned a printing company for over 30 years and served on the National Advertising Committee for a National Franchise Company for several years. I will also work on the new website.
Daniel Drake – Daniel is our partner here at Little River Outfitters. He brings extensive website development experience to the committee. He will work on the new website.
David Armstrong – David is an attorney in Greenville, South Carolina. He has served for years as legal council to Trout Unlimited National. He has already been working hard on this project.
Zach Matthews – Zach is an attorney in Atlanta Georgia. He is also a fly fishing writer and photographer. He will be working with us on articles about Troutfest for national magazines.
Rufus has been busy building his team. So far he has recruited Charlie Chmielewski, and John Switow to work on the auction and banquet. Both of these guys have a lot of experience at this. David Ezell will help Rufus with the facility management and also work at the Exposition. Rufus will be enlisting more help from our pool of volunteers.
John Skinner will be the Education Coordinator. He will be in charge of all the non-profits and wildlife agencies. They will have their own tent at the Exposition.
I will be in charge of the Fly Tying Exposition. Dan Holloway and Sarah Weeks will work with me and I will need a couple of other volunteers. I have already contacted some fly tyers. Bob Clouser said he would tie and I think Joe Humphreys will.
Only ten months to get all of this ready. It’s getting close.