Cost of gas to drive to and from Phoenix: $140
Amount it took to replace shoes that melted in 105 deg weather : $25
The look on Paul Helmke and Josh Sugarmann's faces seeing tens of thousands of gun owners give them the proverbial middle finger: Priceless
Even though I spent over 48 hours on the road and am completely exhausted, the two days I got to spend there were totally worth it. Seeing Sebastian, Bitter, Kevin Baker, Mike W. , US Citizen, The Ten Ring folks, etc. again was great along with meeting for the first time Breda, Alan , Sandcastle Scrolls, Dustin, Cowboy Blob, ExUrban League, Eric Shelton, Primeval Papa, Daniel Pehrson and many others. I know I've forgotten a bunch of names so please forgive me if I left you out.
The convention itself seemed a bit more chaotic than last year but the centralized location and practically ALL functions w/i walking distance made up for that. Had I known how close everything was in comparison to last year, I would have just flown.
The Blogger Bash also showed some improvements with the addition of several topical speakers like Cam Edwards on Podcasting/NRANews and Darren LaSorte on Hunting issues. Both were very informative and well attended. I think the rule for drawings next year should be if you're not in attendence at the drawing, another name is drawn.
It definitely had more of a professional feel to it as the importance of "Alternative Media" is being recognized by not only the NRA and state affiliates, but also by anti-gunners like our buddy Josh Sugarmann. I spoke at length to numerous local organization leaders, NRA Gen Ops and ILA media reps, lobbyists, state reps, and dealers all wanting to increase their relationships with us in information dissemination, advocacy, advertising and a multitude of other areas. This is a good thing for all involved.
For my side, this was no NRA lovefest. I specifically went with the intention of letting them know my and other Illinois firearm owners standing on the Concealed Carry issue. I spent several hours going head to head with them over it. I listened to their reasons and I understand why they won't go all out for it and they know that I, and many other IL residents, are going to keep to our guns to get it passed any way we can no matter the stance they take. As for the political speeches, I didn't bother. With my limited time, I didn't want to waste it listening to a bunch of RINO's tell me how much they support the 2A and then go and vote for whatever bill they think they can get away with.
Some things I learned:
Leaving soda cans in a locked car in 105 degree weather is bad.
Bacon-wrapped shrimp w/ BBQ sauce is good.
19 hrs of driving sucks.
Media credentials can open doors and also get you threatened.
Thanks to Bitter for once again putting this together and all the attendees who braved the unnatural heat to show thier support. Also thanks to all the NRA reps and staff including Rachel Parsons, Glen Caroline, Cam Edwards, Scott Christman, Lars Dalseide, Danielle Sturgis, Brent Gardner, Andrew Dysart, Alexa Fritts, Vickie Cieplak and all the ladies running the Press Office table.
Blogger Bash 2009 Day 1
Blogger Bash 2009 Day 2A
Blogger Bash 2009 Day 2B
Blogger Bash 2009: Day 3
Blogger Bash 2008