Reaseheath Show 2004
By Laurence Gale MSc
The organisers promised a bigger and better show than last year, and they certainly delivered. Many of the leading turf grass manufacturers were there - Fleet Line Markers, Toro, Blakedown, British Seed Houses, Bowcom, Campey, Dennis, SISIS, Headland Amenity, Lloyds of Letchworth, Terrain Aeration to name a few.
The key feature of the show is the facility to present practical demonstrations, with exhibitors able to utilise many different natural turf surfaces on offer at the College.
Reaseheath College's aim when developing this show was to enable their students to see at first hand many of the industry's products and materials, and particularly machines being demonstrated. Additionally, it was intended to meet a demand from turf professionals for a trade show in this region of the country.
The college also provided plenty of entertainment for exhibitors. Many had travelled up the day before and were entertained on the night with a variety of games, with hospitality provided by the following sponsors:
IOG - Main evening sponsor and supporter
The evening event was very successful with many exhibitors having the opportunity to meet up with one another and chat about the show. The evening's games enabled plenty of rivalry between exhibitors, particularly the clay pigeon shooting competition.
One of the main concerns was the weather forecast; rain showers had been predicted for the show. However, all worries were soon forgotten as the weather remained dry.
There were demonstrations of aerators and de-compactors on the golf greens and tees. Mowing machines were operating on various grass areas. A wide range of machinery was on site ranging from pedestrian machines through to full size tractor units and attachments.
One of the main attractions was the demonstration by Richard Campey, who was carrying out a complete renovation of the college's rugby pitch. It began with the Koro fraise mower removing the surface vegetation followed by cultivation using a mechanical spade machine. Additional work included sand top dressing, power harrowing, levelling/rolling and overseeding. It was a great opportunity for visitors to see the whole process from start to finish in one day, proving that modern technology has certainly reduced the time taken to repair and renovate natural grass surfaces.
Fleet (line markers) Ltd also had on show a range of line markers and paint systems which now offer greater flexibility in choice of products. Iain Courage, Area Sales Manager, was enthusiastic about the show as it is always pleasing to come to new venues and meet potential new customers. Iain stated that, with the new technology and modern paint products, the development of line marking technology has changed out of all recognition. The ability to deliver a finer line and the ability to mark on all surfaces has opened up the markets for Fleet's products.
It was difficult to judge how many people had turned up at the show. At lunch time there seemed to be quite a few mingling around the food tents and bars. Many of the exhibitors I spoke to were please to be involved with the show, stating that it was important to support new opportunities. They would like to see more regional shows like this allowing local customers to see the range of products and machinery now available for the turf grass industry.
The location of the Show also attracted visitors from Wales. I met up with Peter and Steve Villiers of Peter Villiers Landscapes who were here to look at new machinery. The company maintain a number of sports pitches in South Wales but find it difficult to find shows in Wales where they can see good demonstrations of machinery. They were enjoying the day and were impressed with the layout and number of demonstrations seen.
At the end of the show the organisers had arranged a debrief meeting to gauge how the day had gone, with all exhibitors invited to attend. The college published the attendance figures (486) which were perhaps disappointing for many of the exhibitors. However, it was not necessarily the quantity but the quality of the visitor who attended. Some exhibitors had been pleased with the customer enquiries and had secured some sales.
In regard to the layout and organisation of the show, all exhibitors were very pleased with their allocated stands and demonstration areas. There were some comments about being too spread out, but nearly all the exhibitors were very impressed with the organisation and friendliness of the Reasheath staff. All exhibitors expressed interest in supporting another Reaseheath show next year and would play a greater part in promoting the show to attract visitors.