2014 SUP Awards: Insights

For Immediate release: August 2014

SUP water athletes are pioneers in a young sport that’s growing exponentially each year. Almost anyone of any ability level or age can find success and SUP adventure on almost any body of water.  Over the past decade standup paddling, surfing, exploring and racing has grown from unknown to a sport followed by millions. Leading the culture, training, story and growth of the sport are a handful of elite athletes.  Some of these men and women have been nominated for the 2014 SUP Awards. The categories you can vote for between now and September 11 are:  Top 3 Male Paddlers, Top 3 Female Paddlers, Movie of the Year, Top Philanthropic Effort and Top Expedition.

Connor Baxter #1 SUP Male Athlete 2012
Connor Baxter #1 SUP Male Athlete 2012
Candice Appleby #1 Female SUP Athlete 2012
Candice Appleby #1 Female SUP Athlete 2012

Take a look at the nominees and explore the bio of each – SUP is fortunate to have a field of leaders this deep and diverse.  Examples of leadership include addressing issues around racing, professional compensation and equality in the sport. Take a look at the discussion and insights from one group of female athletes that took place during the Naish Gorge Paddle Challenge in Hood River, OR in 2013.

Over the years Elder SUP has showcased a number of the nominated athletes.  After you check out the field at SUPthemag.com you may want to learn more by checking out the articles.

Connor Baxter and his inspiring slogan demonstrates an attitude that pervades the sport and connects athletes of all abilities, “Always have fun and never give up.” Connor Baxter was awarded #1 Male SUP Athlete in 2012 (video here)

Candice Appleby – Candice Appleby was awarded #1 Female SUP Athlete in 2012 (video here) Both have been persistent in reaching the next generation of SUP athletes. Performance Paddling is just one example.

Karen Wrenn

Suzie Cooney

Danny Ching

Travis Grant

Jenn J. Lee

Kody Kerbox

Andrea Moller

Anabel Anderson

The list is above is just the tip of the iceberg – do yourself a favor and read the online bios of the athletes leading our sport. Then take the time to let your voice be part of the decision.

Inspire Clean Rivers: Youth Video Voice

Got video camera, phone or GoPro? Want to go to the Jack Johnson concert in Bend, OR on August 24? Well here’s a contest that get you in the running for TWO FREE TICKETS!

If you love the water – oceans, bays, lakes and rivers – you want to do what you can to keep them clean and healthy. Your 1-2 minute video can show us all how YOU’D keep the Deschutes River clean and clear of beer bottles, flip flops, cans, and any sort of trash.  Many groups have organized around the goal of keeping rivers and streams healthy.  In Central Oregon we are exceptionally fortunate. We have had incredible river restoration, monitoring and youth education driven and inspired by the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council (UDWC). Now the UDWC has a contest that let’s YOU be part of the solution.

How would YOU inspire others to keep the Deschutes River clean - video ideas? Jack Johnson tickets? Yeah!

How would YOU inspire others to keep the Deschutes River clean – video ideas? Jack Johnson tickets? Yeah!

Hosmer Lake Shasek

The annual impact of their educational programs is beyond measure in terms on connecting youth to the environment, culture and sense of place our local waters provide. “The staff and volunteers continuously create programs and youth opportunities that celebrate every aspect of learning about our rivers and streams from writing to science to the arts.

Now for the FUN PART! Here are links to the UDWC “Keep the Deschutes River Clean” video contest. Be serious, funny, cute and clever in a 1-2 minute video, submit before August 1 and you have a chance to win 2 tickets to the Jack Johnson concert. PARENTS – you know you want to go to this sold out concert as much as your video-savvy kids do – so light a creative fire in them, take then to the river and hand them your iPhone – it’s gonna be fun.

The contest is open to all ages, read the rules and start filming, singing, dancing, cleaning the river, floating, paddling, fishing and making a great story.

Video Contest Submission Form and Rules
Video Contest Flyer 3

“Times Like These” by Jack Johnson
(We can change “what will be” by inspiring a clean river!)

In times like these
In times like those
What will be will be
And so it goes
And it always goes on and on…
On and on it goes

Shelby Schweitzer – Power of One


shelby-famThere must be something unique in the water at the Schweitzer home. This closely connected family shares a powerful spirit of aloha and giving to community wherever they are in the world. Elder SUP recognizes Shelby Schweitzer, still in high school, and the way she connects her love of surfing to living a pono life. She truly demonstrates the POWER OF ONE. 

shelbyvheckHelping and volunteering with Thera Surf and Surfers Healing (video) has really influenced Shelby’s adult teen life.  In order to have the time and flexibility to travel Shelby decided to finish her senior year online before heading to college in Southern California.

According to Shelby, ”  Sports, travel, and volunteering run in our family. My father was 18 times windsurf world champion, my mom was a National Champion, my brother Zane is a windsurf, surf and Standup paddle champion, and my older brother Matty is one of the best big wave surfers there is.  We all travel to compete, and every where we go, we give back to the local communities by doing a free Schweitzer Sports– Sports Clinic.  We regularly donate boards, paddles, money, books to the communities we visit.  My family is very close and we love traveling together.”

Shelby starts at the beginning when she was just 13, “My first year traveling to Nationals to compete in the NSSA Surfing event in Southern California I was invited to volunteer at the Paskowitz Surf Camp in San Diego.  It was an amazing experience, and it made me realize that volunteering for others, fills my heart and I get more back than I give!!

The owner Izzy, is such an awesome, inspiring guy, a former pro surfer, who stopped professionally surfing when his child was diagnosed with Down Syndrome. Since then I have been so blessed to have worked with kids with special needs teaching them surfing with Thera Surf, Surfers for Autism, Standup for the Cure, and our own Schweitzer Sports Kids Clinics.  Every time I volunteer at an event  it is such a spiritual experience!”

Volunteering for TheraSurf in Mexico with my brother Zane, is an another event that really impacted Shelby.  Jimmy Gamboa and his wife Kim have a son with special needs which inspired them to create TheraSurf, an organization takes kids with special needs surfing.  They serve youth that would never have the experience otherwise.

Most of these kids had never been in the water, never mind never on a surfboard.  They end up having the time of their life.  Shelby explains, “The children we taught, in Sayulita, Mexico did not speak my language, but communication was not needed. The look on their faces was more than words could describe. The parents of the children said that they had never seen their child so happy in their entire lives.  That is exactly what we instructors absolutely love to hear. No feeling can compare to the feeling of changing a child’s life.  It was my first time working with children with extreme handicaps, and seeing their faces light up when they are in the water.   I am proud that my brothers Zane, and Matty have done clinics like these all over the world for underprivileged children as well.”

shlkeby-cure1Standup for The Cure is the Schweitzer family’s biggest source of pride.  Their aunt, Judie Vivian founded this organization 3 years ago after struggling with breast cancer.  Judie Vivian and Shelby’s mom, Shawneen,  came up with the idea while on the beach one day. Then Rob and Judie Vivian took the idea and turned it into an annual event that has raised almost  $200,000 to date for Susan G Komen Foundation.  They set a Guinness Book of World Records for the Largest Standup paddle lesson in the world!!!.  This year’s event is May 3rd in Newport Dunes, California.  They expect over 1,000 people this year, and will be teaching people to Standup paddle for free all day. 

shleby-cure

For Shelby, it’s personal, “I feel so blessed and honored to be apart of such an amazing event. Working at Stand Up for the Cure has given me gratitude for my health and motivation to help others.  Every year we raise over a hundred thousand dollars towards finding a cure for breast cancer, which is important to me since my grandmother and my aunt have breast cancer. We can watch it change peoples lives right in front of us!”

The amazing experience Shelby had working at Stand Up for The Cure inspired her to work with Surfers Healing.   This is a volunteer program that gives autistic, handicapped and challenged children the opportunity to go surf.  Shelby’s life has been changed, “I can’t help but tear up thinking about how happy and joyful the kids are when they are out in the waves on a surfboard with me. And I just keep volunteering.  I love to surf, and I love to be in the water, and I want to be able to share that small joy with people who other wise wouldn’t be able to!”

 

 

Shelby’s Bio:

SHELBY’S BIO:  Born and raised on Maui, I have been surfing with my family my entire life and competing in NSSA Hawaii, an inter island  scholastic surfing tour since I was twelve years old. I love flying over to compete at contest’s on Oahu, Kauai, Big Island, and my home island Maui. At the end of the NSSA year, tour surfers who qualify are eligible to compete at Nationals in California. I have had the honor to compete in California three years in a row and I will be surfing at Nationals again in 2014. Its always  fun to surf with some of Americas best surfers. Other California events I have been qualified to surf in were the Jr US Open of surfing. Ten of the top short boarders of Hawaii are chosen every year to compete in it. I felt honored to have been chosen for the 2012 competition. I also am on the invitational listing for the Sayulita SUP Classic, last year was my first time to the country and I loved the experience! Since I am very close with the family who run the HSA and NSSA contests I personally convinced (and politely begged them) to get a standup paddle division in their 2012-2013 tour. I was ecstatic to get an email back from the NSSA event organizers confirming NSSA will have a women’s and men’s SUP division. The first  contest I was the only woman competing for SUP, but it has continued to grow. The 2013-2014 event has grown even more, and I got to watch it grow and grow every contest seeing guys and girls get out and shred on stand up paddle boards.

I definitely know that I, along with the rest of this years SUP competitors, have the honor of competing in Hawaii for the first full NSSA Standup season!  And I am proud to be representing Hawaii to compete at Nationals in California for the Standup Paddle Championships.  I hope to follow in my brothers’ footsteps and be able to travel the world competing, sharing my love of the ocean and spreading aloha where ever I go.

shelby-guitarOther passions of mine are windsurfing, Bikram yoga, singing and art.  I hope to one day have my own line of activewear for yoga and ocean sports for women and as I travel to compete and I can promote my clothing line and music. I have also been featured in Starboard catalogs since I was 11 years old for windsurfing and standup paddling.

I had so much fun competing at the kekei fun windsurf races at Kanaha when I was younger. Free Surf magazine also has featured me both surfing and modeling for my sponsor; Pakaloha Bikinis.

I have also gotten a full page in WSM (Women’s Surfing Magazine) for short boarding, and most recently featured in Sup the Mag on a story about our family.  I am so proud to be part of my family and love being able to be a part of this awesome sport I love so much! I hope I will always be able to share my passions with the world through my volunteer work!

Stand Up, Sit Down: Paddle Paddle Paddle

archie-canoeaerila It’s funny, but it was just after the most amazing standup paddle event I have ever done, the Olukai Ho’olaule’a, that I first became seriously interested in the tradition and beauty of sailing canoes. Returning to home town, Bend Oregon, the pull to be a part of the local outrigger team and culture kept growing.

Finally in early April the announcement came: The Bend Oregon Outrigger Canoe Club was having its wash-wax and launch with evening team practices to follow.wash rig

Yup, it had to be windy, cold and rainy – with a few snow flurries during that first week. You have to be tough to paddle in the Pacific Northwest!  But the team spirit was warm and off we went, Ed and I stoked to be in seat 3 (Hut-Ho) and 4, Kialoa hybrid paddles in hand.

The rhythm of the entire 6 was awesome. We did hesitation drills and the lightbulb went on about how important it was to absolutely nail the catch for most power.  We did just under 3 miles before our fingers were freezing – holy cow! I am hooked.

The second practice was 2 days later and the skies had cleared and the temperature reached a balmy 48 degrees. I was in seat 2 behind Jen Kjellesvik – ultimate river woman and powerful paddler (Adventure Fitness Bend – Jenn will be guiding SUP and rafting on the Rogue River this summer – story coming soon).  Mirroring her body position and matching her recovery and set delivered some much-needed muscle memory over the 5 miles we enjoyed that evening.

As the sun set in Central Oregon (smack dab in the middle of the high desert) the Deschutes River became the connection to ages of outrigger tradition. (video here)

In between practice sessions here’s a technique video by KIALOA Paddles ‘Elele, Luke Evslin, that provides valuable insights for newbies and experienced paddlers alike. Standing up or sitting down, paddling seems to bring out the best in all of us! Grab your paddle and get on the water!

Bend, OR = Great SUP Destination

Photo by Dennis Oliphant of Sun Country Tours

Photo by Dennis Oliphant of Sun Country Tours

You heard it here – and it’s pretty cool! The TODAY show has noticed that Bend, Oregon is an amazing place to bike, hike and STANDUP PADDLE. But we knew that! The video clip shows local, Tom Burke, doing a casual tail turn.

We could have given them connections to many more video clips, right Chip Booth, Dennis Oliphant, Michelle Alvarado and many more! If any networks are looking for the in-depth story Bendites can help!

The VIDEO is here!

Power to Inspire with Malama

The reality is that by choosing to move ourselves across, over and through the magnificent waters of our world via a board and a paddle we have chosen to be self-powered.  That sets the stage for a number of metaphors. Does it inspire you to share your story? Share why you chose SUP or any other power-related tale- we’re interested.

We have one section of this site dedicated to SUP Muses.  We define SUP Muses as a category of SUP influencers whose stories inspire! Do you know a SUP Muse like Candice ApplebyKaren WrennSuzie CooneyHeather Relyea Baus or Brit Oliphant – let us meet them.

dave8SUP Ambassador:  I live in Oregon, home of the paddle family of Meg and Dave Chun and their KIALOA paddles.  I came by my first Kialoa paddle by borrowing those owned by friends.  Over time I have come to admire the technology, feel, strength and lightness of my KIALOA paddle design, but my first connection and commitment to the Kialoa company came from their attitude and traditions. (Design video chat here)

This next piece is from their website: Born on the Island of Oahu in 1991, KIALOA Paddles grew out of Dave Chun’s love for the sport of outrigger canoe racing.   Driven by the desire to build the best paddles in the world, Dave started crafting wood paddles on his parents’ lanai.  Shortly thereafter, he met Meg, a mid-westerner transplanted to Hawaii.  It was a marriage of west and east, island heritage and mainland progressiveness.  The Chuns moved the company to Bend, Oregon in 1992, bringing the Aloha spirit with them.

Against all odds, they started an outrigger club in the High Desert. Nowadays KIALOA makes a full line of stand up, outrigger and dragon boat paddles.  As a KIALOA Paddles E’lele (ambassador) I take my role with a grain of fun and plenty of listening – to all of you!boc1

I believe that as a global water loving “family” we can accomplish our mission to preserve our planet’s waters and help move them to be even more healthy.  One of the cornerstones of the Kialoa vision is Malama: Stewardship.

Got Heart? KIALOA Paddles

abilitreelogoA few years ago I had the privilege of getting to know the work of a non-profit in Bend, Oregon called Abilitree. They provided the program at Bend’s City Club focused on creating awareness of the work of their clients (be sure to learn more here). The key speaker was a slight young woman named Karen Gaffney. Karen is a world renowned swimmer – having crossed the English Channel, completed the Lake Tahoe crossing (9 miles in 50 degree water) , the Molokini Challenge and the Alcatraz Triathlon relay. Swimming was therapy after she had 5 hip surgeries before the age of 15. Karen faces such challenges with courage and will-power. One of her challenges is Down Syndrome. (Be sure to watch the video below to see Karen receive her Honorary Doctorate degree for her work and advocacy)

As in every aspect of her life, Karen has not allowed anything to limit her quest to make a difference and use every bit of her determination and talent to the max.  Karen inspired each and every person the the City Club audience that day. But no less inspiring was the opportunity that Abilitree afforded our community by making us aware of the heroes and stories of their clients right here in our town. Abilitree provides jobs, training, community service and independent living opportunities for people with disabilities. Individuals with a wide range of abilities come to their work center and receive training for various types of jobs. Abilitree then provides outsourced manufacturing, product assembly and product packaging either in their facility or on site at businesses here in Central Oregon.

Recently, I had the chance to visit the KIALOA Paddles sales and manufacturing base here in Bend, Oregon.  I had heard that KIALOA was being honored by Central Oregon Employment First as a recipient of the Workforce Inclusion Supporting excellence award for group employment. They had been working with a group of clients from Abilitree over the past few years.  I was curious to see what part of the assembly process was being handled by the group from Abilitree.

Amy Graves from KIALOA Paddles accepting the WISE Award in 2013

Amy Graves from KIALOA Paddles accepting the WISE Award in 2013

abil9

An Abilitree client being recognized for excellence at work

If you have ever spent time with any of the team from KIALOA Paddles you know they operate under a “fun at work,” “do what you love ” environment across all teams. Their website exudes the passion and heart they have for what they do.   Being in the warehouse where hundreds of KIALOA paddles are assembled to top quality standards each day was like being a kid in a candy store. The beautiful paddle blades and endless array of paddle types distracted me from the story the KIALOA production lead, John, was sharing.

abil11

The many faces of the KIALOA adjustable paddle

I did finally focus as John took me over to a work station where the half dozen components of the KIALOA adjustable paddle shaft were organized. As John showed me how each piece of the assembly process worked he shared the story of how the clients from Abilitree had added to the efficiency of the adjustable shaft assembly. The task of carefully completing each step of the pre-assembly for the adjustable paddle can become tedious for some. Imagine looking at a stack of 500 sets of the pre-assembly parts. It can be overwhelming – but to the team of 7 Abilitree clients who share the pre-assembly work the required attention to detail is a joy.

The repetitive tasks involved in assembling each component have been accomplished to the high KIALOA standards for over 18 months now. As John explained how various people from Abilitree keep the collaboration running smoothly he peppered that explanation with stories. The clients are consistent, enthusiastic and precise in their work. They often visit KIALOA and learn how their part in the process of assembling an adjustable paddle matters. I looked about the warehouse with different eyes after that.  The rows of adjustable paddles  were just one more example of how KIALOA includes heart  – and includes a terrific value to our community – every day.

One-Design SUP Racing: N1SCO

Elite racer (and overall women's winner) Fiona Wylde and friend ready for Naish ONE fun

Elite racer (and overall women’s winner) Fiona Wylde and friend ready for Naish ONE fun

At best, I dabble at SUP racing. I like to paddle hard, go as fast as I can and refine my technique with help from my friends – and awesome YouTube videos from the pros. Over the summer of 2013 I had the opportunity to participate in the Nasih Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge, to take a down wind clinic with Big Winds and Jeremy Riggs, to head over to Maui for the Olukai Ho’olaule’a and to complete a bucket list experience at Battle of the Paddle. In all that time I hadn’t committed to buying a race board.

Over the summer I began to follow the development of the one-design SUP class called N1SCO. It was the answer to the confusing dilemma of what board to buy – for my interest, for my budget, for the best opportunity to be competitive among paddlers all on the same board. The more I followed Facebook, blog and Twitter posts about the various N1SCO events happening all over the globe, I noticed something else. The “fun-factor” was an integral part of each event.naishrelay4

Elite racers had their level of racing challenge in both long and short distances – but all levels were in the game and having a blast. The new Naish ONE race formats are exciting, accessible, simple to set up and fun! All disciplines are easy to follow for spectators, the action is right there in front of everyone and it is thrilling to watch. There’s something for everyone, non-stop action on the water and events can happen in a day.  When I had the chance to witness the crazy fun of the N1SCO relay format I was hooked! Elite racers team with kids, with a super mix of skill and gender. Laughs, splashes and camaraderie connect everyone – racers and spectators alike.

There was no question. When I had the chance to head to Las Vegas for the N1SCO World Championships off I went. The video below shows some of the highlights from my perspective – everyone had a chance for their own good time.  Over the next months there will be more and more N1SCO events popping up at yacht and sailing clubs, at colleges and within communities. be sure to take advantage of a super trend in SUP racing.

SUP Professionals: Amazing Leaders

For Immediate Release

September 7, 2013

SUP water athletes are pioneers in a young sport that’s growing exponentially each year. Almost anyone of any ability level or age can find success and SUP adventure on almost any body of water.  Over the past decade standup paddling, surfing, exploring and racing has grown from unknown to a sport followed by millions. Leading the culture, training, story and growth of the sport are a handful of elite athletes.  Some of these men and women have been nominated for the 2013 SUP Awards. The categories you can vote for between now and September 11 are:  Top 3 Male Paddlers, Top 3 Female Paddlers, Movie of the Year, Top Philanthropic Effort and Top Expedition.

Connor Baxter #1 SUP Male Athlete 2012

Connor Baxter #1 SUP Male Athlete 2012

Candice Appleby #1 Female SUP Athlete 2012

Candice Appleby #1 Female SUP Athlete 2012

Take a look at the nominees and explore the bio of each – SUP is fortunate to have a field of leaders this deep and diverse.  Examples of leadership include addressing issues around racing, professional compensation and equality in the sport. Take a look at the discussion and insights from one group of female athletes that took place during the Naish Gorge Paddle Challenge in Hood River, OR.

Over the years Elder SUP has showcased a number of the nominated athletes.  After you check out the field at SUPthemag.com you may want to learn more by checking out the articles.

Connor Baxter and his inspiring slogan, “Always have fun and never give up.” Connor Baxter was awarded #1 Male SUP Athlete in 2012 (video here)
Candice Appleby – Candice Appleby was awarded #1 Female SUP Athlete in 2012 (video here)

Karen Wrenn
Suzie Cooney
Chuck Patterson
Jenn J. Lee

The list is above is just the tip of the iceberg – do yourself a favor and read the online bios of the athletes leading our sport. Then take the time to let your voice be part of the decision.

SPONSORS of the 2013 SUP Awards

SUP for Everyone: Naish ONE

Giving it my all in the OPEN Course race - so much fun!

Giving it my all in the OPEN Course race – so much fun!

Last weekend I competed in the Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge. Compete is not the right word. Let’s just say that I was on my board and paddling in both the downwind and course OPEN class races and having a blast. Energy was high, the elite paddlers were exciting to watch and meet and the wind conditions kept us all on our toes.  The paddlers from the BigWinds JET team were inspirational, and true ambassadors for both our sport and their coach, Steve Gates.

bonnoe

Bonnie Fromm leading our OPEN Women’s Course Race

If I had to think of one disappointing part of the weekend, it was that I won both a first and second place award.  I had paddled hard and enjoyed catching glide after glide on the Saturday downwind event – and then because there were only two of us in the age 50+ category riding a 14′ board I was fortunate to win (out of two??). Then on Sunday’s course race the real  “win” was showing up and participating. The wind cranked furiously  through the Gorge and made our 4 laps  on the upwind leg and turning at the downwind buoy a mega-challenge.  I remembered to have fun – and I charged out of the water at the end of the event pretty darn stoked!  But placing second out of two (YAY! Bonnie Fromm rocks with the win) in the 50+ age group was no cause for celebration. The participation was the prize.

I was puzzled as to why there weren’t more women in our OPEN classes. What could be done to turn the avid SUP paddlers on shore into participants rather than spectators? How could all the organization, effort and energy of the race management team be shared among more OPEN athletes?  The elite classes were full of amazing, world-class competitors.  What about the rest of us? What sort of race event could generate entries and participation across a more broad bunch of paddlers?

I didn’t have to wait long for the answer.  Steve Gates and the team from Naish had a super-cool event planned.  They had a fleet of Naish ONEs (12’6″ inflatable one-design boards) on the beach and ready for a team relay event – with rules that leveled the playing field for any participants. The Team Relay was a fun four person relay race  contested on a short course right in front of the spectator viewing area at the Waterfront Park (Hood River, OR) . Each Team was required to have at least one athlete under age 16 and one female. The young paddler and the female couldn’t be the same person. Elite athleteswere placed onto teams by the Race Director, Steve Gates of BigWinds. The Relay Race was run all on Naish One boards,

As he announced the rules, Steve Gates explained the fun-factor of the “race, “Go out and have a blast with the Naish ONE boards. They are inflatable and forgiving if you run into each other or fall off. They’re just right for any size or skill-level. This is a fun a event, be prepared to get wet and laugh.” Well, that is exactly what happened.

Elite racer (and overall women's winner) Fiona Wylde and friend ready for Naish ONE fun

Elite racer (and overall women’s winner) Fiona Wylde and friend ready for Naish ONE fun

The elite athletes, as you can see from the photos. were having as much fun as the 10-year-old kids.  Even though the elites had just completed 5 loops in a gnarly, windy course they were back to play. The spectators loved watching. One of the coolest things for me was to see people lining up to have a chance to demo the Naish ONEs once the event was over.  The “have-fun” spirit of the relay event seemed to last. People were paddling, sharing tips, bumping into each other, practicing tail-turns and buoy turns and generally sharing a hefty portion of aloha. And isn’t that what it’s all about? (Click on each image for a larger image)

naishrelay2 naishrelay3 naishrelay4 naishrelay5 naishrelay6

I am looking forward to seeing more events like the Naish ONE team relays. I expect as people gain experience and confidence in that laid-back race venue they will take a chance with an OPEN event or two. Racing, like life, is a lot more fun when we focus on the experience more than the outcome. The next place I know of in which there will be Naish ONE fun will be in Las Vegas in early October – read more here.