Seattle hosted some sports turf VIPs last week as the Sports Turf Managers Association partnered with the Intermountain, Northern California, Oregon, and Pacific Northwest chapters to produce a Conference that featured sports turf specific education, trade show, hands-on demonstrations, and tours of some of the city's major league facilities.
STMA Northwest Regional Conference features top sports turf professionals
Seattle hosted some sports turf VIPs last week as the Sports Turf Managers Association partnered with the Intermountain, Northern California, Oregon, and Pacific Northwest chapters to produce the STMA Northwest Regional Conference that featured sports turf specific education, trade show, hands-on demonstrations, and tours of some of the city’s major league facilities.
The sponsors handed out Seattle Mariner tickets to the more than 175 attendees who enjoyed a beautiful evening at the ballpark while watching the home team beat the Chicago White Sox in extra innings. Attendees earlier that day had walked on the field (outside the lines of course!) while meeting with head groundskeeper Bob Christofferson and his crew during a tour of Safeco Field.
Another highlight was a drop-in visit from new Seahawks coach Pete Carroll during the group’s visit to the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton, the team’s practice facility and office. Carroll snuck up on an unsuspecting Sean Vanos as he was leading a tour of the cool site on the shores of huge Lake Washington and told the crowd how much he and his team appreciate the turf care.
A non-profit soccer complex, Starfire Sports, in Tukwila, was the most impressive of its kind I’d ever visited. The facility is open 24/7 and sees action from Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders and just about every other level imaginable. Here the group had a chance to meet with vendors and their number included several nationally known sports turf advocates, including Lynda Wightman of Hunter Industries, Boyd Montgomery of Toro, Christiaan Arends of Barenbrug USA, Jay Warnick of World Class and Charlie Vestal of Turface Athletics.
Starfire also allowed some painting demonstrations on one of their synthetic surfaces. Scott MacVicar from the University of Washington painted some logos while John Wright from the Seahawks and some of his guys showed how to remove those logos from the carpet.
This regional event featured two other nationally recognized bigwigs in sports turf, Dr. Dave Minner from Ames, IA and Dr. Andy McNitt from State College, PA. Minner held court on repairing high traffic areas and presided over a lively give and take panel discussion on natural turf, while McNitt led the group covering synthetic turf issues.
The event included a chance to get on the FieldTurf at Qwest Field and see some of the equipment the crew led by Jason Kingrey use on a surface that now serves as home of the MLS Sounders as well as the 12th Man-led Seahawks. Kingrey also presented on converting his field from synthetic to natural back to synthetic in a matter of days.-Eric Schroder
STMA’s 22nd annual Conference & Exhibition will be in Austin, TX January 11-15, 2011. Austin is a new location for the STMA Conference. See www.stma.org