Trade Show TalesBlog

Posts Tagged ‘Randy Smith Memorial Golf Classic’

The Randy Smith Memorial Golf Classic. It Matters!

September 19th, 2013 1 COMMENT
Shooting from the Hip (trade show tips)

Shooting from the Hip by Reid Sherwood

One benefit of blogging is having the luxury to promote something special to me and to our industry — The Randy Smith Memorial Golf Classic (

For most folks in our industry, “The Randy” is as recognizable as Cher, Madonna, or Bono. The Randy is an annual charitable golf tournament held in the Atlanta area. For those unfamiliar with Randy Smith, he was tragically taken from us several years ago. The first Classic was to raise money to help the Smith family with the financial burden they experienced. Since then, the mission has expand.

“The objective of the Randy Smith Memorial Golf Classic is to help families in the exhibition industry who have suffered severe tragedies or face insurmountable medical expenses. Our commitment is to provide financial and emotional support to all past and present recipients and their families.”

We all feel invincible, and we assume that nothing bad will ever happen to us. Well, a few years ago, Mike Swartout (my friend and the Creative Director at Classic Exhibits) was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Mike is still battling that cancer today, but in 2011, he was a recipient at The Randy.

Several years ago, an Optima employee, Jim Wetherington Jr., was diagnosed with brain cancer and was taken at a very young age. The Randy was able to provide emotional and financial support to his family during that time of need.

I have said all that just to say this . . .  The Randy Smith Golf Memorial Golf Classic is the one event all year where competitors come together, lay down their swords, and work to help industry colleagues who need it most.

This year, The Randy is on October 14 at Chateau Elan, a few miles north of Atlanta. We welcome golfers, sponsors, and workers. It is an incredible event. There are at least 11 recipients, so your financial donations, hole sponsorships, or corporate sponsorships are very needed.

For more information, please visit We would love to see you there. Should you have any questions, please email or call me.

Reid Sherwood


Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions and engineered aluminum extrusions (ClassicMODUL). Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100.


Back from the Randy Smith Golf Classic: Word on the Street — Oct. 22nd thru Oct. 26th

October 26th, 2012 1 COMMENT
Back from the Randy Smith Golf Classic: Word on the Street -- Oct. 22nd thru Oct. 26th

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Randy Smith Memorial Golf Classic
Guest Post by Jim Shelman

I just returned home from the Randy Smith Memorial Golf Classic in Atlanta, an event presented by EDPA and E2MA. As many of you know, Kevin has been attending this event for many years. This was my third trip, and this year I filled in for Kevin who couldn’t attend. I golfed with Reid Sherwood, Cindi Cody, and Bill Glasser, and we had a great time.

It’s difficult to put into words just how important this event is to our industry, and how much it means to the recipients that benefit from it. It’s always fun to get together with friends, customers, and suppliers. And the golf couldn’t have been better with the incredible weather we had. And to witness Reid Sherwood putting an 80 and 40 foot putt for two eagles was amazing! It will be interesting to hear Reid tell the story. We’ll see if the 80 footer turns into 120, and if the 40 footer turns into 75, but regardless, they were incredible putts, and highlights of our round.

The fun, however, is no match for the feeling that comes from being a part of something so meaningful. This event proves that there really is such a thing as friendly competition. We all come together as one family with one common goal:  to help the people within our industry who have suffered severe tragedies or face insurmountable medical expenses. These are people just like us that are sitting in an office next door, or working in the shop or the warehouse, or on the show floor–that are suddenly hit with tragic, life-changing circumstances in their lives.


Picture 1 of 3

Randy Smith Memorial Golf Classic 2012

The banquet that is held after the golf tournament is truly touching as you listen to heart-wrenching stories from the recipients. Stories that are unimaginable to a lot of us, and way too close to home for others.

It’s a sobering reminder that life throws unexpected curves at us, and that our circumstances can change in an instant.

I can’t speak for others who attended this year, or for those who attended in the past, but I can tell you that when I arrived back home in Portland, I was more thankful than ever to to hug my healthy wife and four year old daughter, and to know that they’re okay. Unfortunately, we have people in our industry (our family) who can’t say that. All of us here at Classic know this too well. Our Director of Design, Mike Swartout, who was a recipient at last year’s Randy Smith, is battling Stage 4 prostate cancer.

I’d like to say a special thank you to Rich Johnson and all of the volunteers for their incredible commitment and work with this tournament every year!

The tournament is a lot of fun, and worth the trip in itself. But the real gratification comes from being a part of something that means so much to the recipients who know and appreciate so deeply that we’re helping to support them during their time of hardship and tragedy in their lives.

If you haven’t attended, please consider it for next year.  You’ll be glad you did.

Jim Shelman
General Manger, Exhibits Northwest/Classic Rentals


Randy Smith, Jim Shelman, and Cindi Cody

October 26th, 2012 COMMENTS
Shooting from the Hip (trade show tips)

Shooting from the Hip by Reid Sherwood

Randy Smith

I have been in Atlanta the past few days seeing distributors and playing in The Randy Smith Memorial Golf Classic. I am going to double up on this and talk a bit about both.

A few weeks ago, Rich Johnson (one of the founders of the RSMGC) asked me if I would serve on the board of The Randy Smith. Obviously I accepted. I have been a loyal fan and supporter for 11 years. The Randy is a non-political group of industry folks who provide emotional and financial support to other industry people who have fallen on difficult times.

It is the one day all year (and maybe the night before) where competitors lay down their swords and come together to raise money and help people. And this year was no exception. There were eight recipients. Every year I’m reminded of the same thing:  no matter what is going on in your life, no matter how bad you have it, there is always someone who has it far worse.

One of the recipients was the Mark Tate family. Mark and his wife have two daughters, age 13 and 10. They have both been impacted with life-threatening disease. Olivia (the 10 year old) was diagnosed with brain cancer at 2 years of age and has had numerous surgeries and treatments. Thank God she has been in remission for the past 4 years. Her sister, Elena, was diagnosed with leukemia in 2009 and has had chemo and was in remission until recently. She had bone marrow transplant this past July and continues to receive treatments.

Again, just when you think times are tough, you hear a story like this and realize that all in all, your life is pretty good.

Thank you to everyone who participated as golfers, volunteers, and sponsors. Without you, it would not be possible. And personally I would like to thank Rich and Ted Peterson for keeping this alive for 18 years

Personally, I would like to thank my team from the Randy this year. Bill Glasser from Exhibit Concepts, Cindi Cody from Xzibits, and Classic’s own Jim Shelman from Exhibits Northwest.

Jim Shelman

This was the first time I spent time with Jim without other Classic employees in the mix. He is a great guy, but he has his quirks. The day before the tournament, I had a couple of early appointments, but Jim and I were planning to play a round later that day.

I pick Jim up to go to the course, and he is complaining. Well, not really complaining, maybe whining and visibly distraught. All this because the place we were staying didn’t have the right coffee. Trying to be the nice guy, I hurry along, so we get to a gas station where he can get some coffee. It isn’t good enough — the pot is too empty and it is probably burned. Now he is borderline quivering. I am not a coffee drinker so I really don’t understand, but I try to be a good team player. We move on and he says, “Pull into McDonalds. They have good coffee.” I pull in and roll the window down and am ready to order, thinking to myself how glad I am that I am not a coffee drinker who needs that “caffeine boost” to get through the day. So he says, “Get me a Decaf!” REALLY??? But it all made sense later that evening when I saw him drinking a O’Doul’s beer.

Cindi Cody

On another note, I did a trade show with one of our Atlanta distributors, Xzibits, and it was a huge success. Cindi Cody and her crew had an attractive 10 foot exhibit. The six hour show offered up almost 30 leads. One little tidbit of information. Cindi posted on her Facebook page that they were at the show. Instantly, a new start-up company wrote back saying that they couldn’t attend but made an appointment for later this week.

I’m always interested in what customers are looking for in this economy. Many are still looking at banner stands, but many are saying it is time to step up. No more pop ups. That puts Magellan, Sacagewea, and Perfect 10 in position to answer that call. I do have to pay a tribute to Optima Graphics and Xpressions. The show I was at was a business to business show. There were about 60 exhibitors in all. But out of 60 distributors, there were six Xpressions displays. That is an incredible number.

That’s all for now. I’m headed home in a couple of days. These ten day trips make me miss my family more than usual, so I am looking forward to Tuesday evening.

Till the next time,

Reid Sherwood


Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions and engineered aluminum extrusions (ClassicMODUL). Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100.


The Industry Gives Back: Word on the Street — Oct. 10th thru Oct. 14th

October 16th, 2011 4 COMMENTS
Randy Smith Memorial Golf Follow Up

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Randy Smith Memorial Golf Classic Follow Up

On Monday, October 10, hundreds of industry professionals gathered in Atlanta to honor those who are either going through medical hardships, lost their battles, or lost loved ones to sickness or accidents.

Like in past years, it proved to be a highly emotionally-charged event. And this year Classic Exhibits had one of their own honored, Mike Swartout, our Director of Design, who is currently battling stage 4 prostate cancer.

Mike, along with several others, were honored and ultimately helped financially through the funds raised before and during the event. And a lot of money was raised even during these uncertain economic times. The truly inspirational work that Rich Johnson, Jim Wurm, and Ted Peterson do on behalf of others never ceases to amaze me. Thanks again guys.

Mike Swartout at Randy Smith

Mike Swartout at Randy Smith

One of the highlights of the day-long event was when Mike spoke during the banquet. A perfect blend of comedy, reality, and emotion. He set the crowd at ease regarding his situation through his words. Mike has allowed me to post his speech, which I hope you will read.

Since my diagnosis, I’m continually amazed by the support I have received:  from medical teams, family, friends, co-workers, recently a stranger on the bus, and from many, such as yourselves, who do not even know me.

Thank you.

Unless you’ve been in similar shoes, and I suspect some of you have, my words can’t convey what it means to be able to draw on others strength during a “scary scary” at 2:30 am.

Huge thanks to Kevin Carty and Mel White at Classic Exhibits for their compassion and Kevin’s personal understanding of this cowardly disease.

Those of you who run a business and/or manage people know what happens when a critical employee is bouncing between their desk and appointments like a BB in a boxcar.

Somehow Kevin and Mel have managed to make it work. Heck, just recently I’ve been unable to drive and Mel picks me up at the train stop in the morning.

A little background . . . 28 months ago, I was being treated for suspicious back pain. 26 months ago, I made another appointment and was informed that my medical professional was no longer with the clinic. They assigned me someone new. Thank God.

August 4 — I remember that day clearly. It was an early morning appointment and before my wife Janet and I could get back home, we got a call from the Dr. It was a call to come back at three. At 3:40, I know because for some reason I was looking at the Doc’s watch, I was informed about this marker, that marker, and a PSA of 2640. A normal PSA is 1-5.

Angry, scared, and questioning, I went through a whirlwind of scary tests including a biopsy I wouldn’t wish on, if I had one, my worst enemy. Janet and I were confused and clueless. Not states we are used to.

Fortunately, I had support [there’s that word again]: friends, family, and co-workers who shored me up with hasty sandbags even though none of us knew for sure how high the proverbial flood water would rise.

That support bought me breathing room to remember a promise I’d made to myself. If I was ever to get sick, the going to the doctor can’t make you well kind of sick, I wouldn’t let the sickness go to waste.

As I stand here, this very moment, the insidious disease, cancer, is chewing away at my bones. But there are also some jacked up white blood cells having a say about that, thanks to cutting-edge research being done at the Providence Cancer Center in Portland. Those cells are working really hard at slowing the cancer bugs. Heck, why waste good cancer cells.

As I stand here, I hope someone who is scared beyond belief, just like me, has found my blog and the silly stories I tell. I hope it amuses them and takes some of the “scary scary” away. Why waste my scary scary.

Ladies, now you get to see your men squirm in their seats as I get on my soap box. Men get that digital exam, now. Digital means finger, index finger [told you they’d squirm]. It takes thirty seconds. If it takes longer than thirty seconds, consider getting a new doctor.

And, I don’t care what medical group or panel says about PSA tests. If you are of an age or have a family history with this disease, have the test. It is just a silly blood test. Armed with the results you can then make an informed and timely decision.

Lastly, I’m continually told I’m too young for this particular version of cancer. Whatever your age, prepare for your family.

Hopefully, these small things will support someone in the future. Selfishly for me, these small things provide a reason for having this unreasonable disease.

I hope and pray that nothing like this happens to you and yours. But I’m thankful knowing you are out there for those of us who do.

Thanks!  — Mike Swartout

One element that Mike did not really touch on, but that I want to mention is the experimental treatments Mike has been undergoing. These treatments are less about Mike and more about research for future patients. Some of the knowledge being gained through the trials will continue to be used on new patients, giving hope to many in the future. As a twelve-year survivor myself and someone who benefited from the trials of others, I can speak to the profound nature of what Mike is doing on behalf of those he does not even know. I was given a regimen at the time that was not even known two years prior, one that provided me a better opportunity of beating cancer.


Lastly, I always love this event for providing an opportunity to see and spend time with great friends in the industry. More than just work friends. Life friends.

For those of you who missed the event, please mark your calendar for next year. It really is the one event each year that truly makes you appreciate the quality of the people we all work with each day.

I hope you had a great weekend and coming work week.

Be well!

–Kevin Carty

Randy Smith Memorial Golf Classic: Word on the Street — Sept. 19th thru Sept. 23rd

September 23rd, 2011 COMMENTS
The Industry Gives Back

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

The Industry Gives Back

The Randy Smith Memorial Golf Classic — October 10, 2011 at St. Ives Country Club in Johns Creek, GA

Every October, our industry pulls together to raise money for those struck by tragedy, illness, and/or the loss of industry colleagues.

For the industry, this year will be no different. But for Classic Exhibits and its family of companies and employees, it will be different. One of our own is a beneficiary. Mike Swartout, our Director of Design, who is battling Stage 4 cancer.  Please read about all the recipients at the following website:

Here is the listing for Mike.

Mike Swartout

Mike Swartout

Mike has served as the Director of Design for Classic Exhibits since 2000. His efforts have been instrumental in Classic’s design leadership in modular, hybrid and custom exhibits. More than two years ago, Mike was diagnosed with Stage 4 prostate cancer. He has undergone several courses of radiation and chemotherapy. Many of the therapies that Mike has endured have been experimental in the hopes that the results will benefit future victims of this disease and increase their odds of survival. To those who work with him every day and to those who will benefit from the research, we are inspired by Mike’s courage, strength, and generosity.

Mike’s medical expenses during the past two years have created a severe financial hardship for him, his wife Janet, and his family.  On top of that, Mike does not have life insurance, which further imperils Janet’s financial future once Mike is gone.

Mike continues to work every day, and his dedication to Classic distributors is inspiring. There is rarely a day that Mike’s creativity and problem solving doesn’t contribute to the success of someone in the Classic Exhibits family.

Reid Sherwood and I are teaming up for the 11th year running with Cindi Cody (Xzibits) and Bill Glasser (Exhibit Concepts) to play in the tournament and to raise funds for the recipients.

While all the golf slots are filled, there are tons of opportunities for companies to sponsor and donate whether you want to attend or not. The following link will allow you to donate and/or sponsor the event if you would like:

Sponsorship opportunities range from $95 – $5000 are available if you are interested.

Volunteers are always needed if you are interested in coming to event but not as a golfer. Please contact Jim Wurm at if you are interested in volunteering.

As you many of you already know, for Reid and me, this is our favorite event of the year. Not only is it fun and a chance to see industry friends, but more importantly, it highlights what we all love about our industry: the generosity of our industry and peers and how quickly we come together to help others in their time of need. We want to celebrate the lives of those who have given so much to the industry we love.

Hope to see many of you there.

Kevin Carty