Friday, March 3, 2017

The ConExpo - Con/Agg International Trade Show, Las Vegas!

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     ConExpo - Con/Agg Convention, Las Vegas!
     The biggest convention in Las Vegas is the ConExpo - Con/Agg International Trade Show.  This headliner event takes place at the Las Vegas Convention Center once every three years.  The latest and greatest aggregate production equipment, heavy equipment, paving equipment, hi tech plant management systems and much more are featured in this world famous event.
     This ConExpo - Con/Aggmassive International Trade Show covers every square inch of the Las Vegas Convention Center and then some.  The outdoor heavy equipment exhibits cover so much acreage, that it takes several days to see it all.  The total ConExpo - Con/Agg exhibit space is literally measured in square miles, so getting around by foot is no easy task.  Spending a few hours in a casino resort spa getting leg cramp kinks worked out after a long day of walking the grounds is an option that many take advantage of.  A new item of convenience that was available during the 2014 ConExpo - Con/Agg Trade Show was electric mobility devices and these carts made it easier for top execs to get around.
     Because of the sheer number of large heavy equipment items, ConExpo - Con/Agg requires extensive organization and planning.  The heavy equipment starts to arrive weeks ahead of time and it all has to be set in place by sequential order.  Convention organizers direct the flow of heavy machinery just like air traffic controllers.  Every heavy equipment exhibit has an assigned space and the Las Vegas Convention Center is mapped out with numbered staked plots.  No mistakes can be made, because anytime that a piece of heavy equipment has to be moved, it costs plenty of time and money.
     ConExpo - Con/Agg is not just all work and no play.  Plenty of entertaining exhibits can be found at this convention too.  Las Vegas NASCAR Weekend is scheduled at about the same time on the calendar and several pro race cars are parked at the exhibit hall.  At the 2014 convention, one of the NASCAR technology exhibits had a race car simulator and conventioneers were lined up waiting to get behind the wheel.
     As far as entertainment goes, the heavy equipment operator skill contests are always the center of attention.  The first prize money is pretty good and this is all the inspiration in the world for heavy equipment operators to participate in the games.  Heavy equipment operator skill contests are tests of agility, coordination and dexterity.  These events are timed, so whoever completes the task the quickest with the least amount of errors, is the winner of the top prize jackpot.
     Some of the heavy equipment operator skill contests include excavator basketball, excavator bucket golf and steal pylon placement tests.  Many of the skill tests look like they are easy to accomplish, till the element of time is thrown into the mix.  As one can imagine, it is easy to make errors when trying to keep up a fast pace.  Some competitors were like a bull in a china shop, while others ran the machines with surgical pin point accuracy.  The operator skill contests are fun to watch and they draw plenty of spectators.  This is heavy equipment entertainment at its best!
     Walking the grounds at ConExpo - Con/Agg is exhausting, but there is relief in sight.  Everything from beer tents to top notch famous food trucks are located at the Las Vegas Convention Center.  I got some great Pulled Pork BBQ Tacos from the Tacofest Food Truck back in 2014 and this gourmet "roach coach" is definitely worth looking for!       
     I worked as an aggregate producer and metal recovery technician in the steel industry for a few years during the recent Great Recession.  The company that I worked for sent me to the ConExpo - Con/Agg convention back in 2011.  Attending the ConExpo - Con/Agg convention for the first time was an educational experience.  I was required to photograph as much of the related steel aggregate equipment as I could as a company representative.
     Since I was attending college in Las Vegas when the 2014 ConExpo - Con/Agg Convention was scheduled, the steel mill service company that I used to work for actually sent me a pass to the trade show and asked me to photograph the event once again.  Since I photographed the 2014 ConExpo - Con/Agg on my own time, the photos were okay to use in a travel article.  Writing travel articles and recipes while going to culinary arts school was how I made my pocket change, so there was inspiration to go.  Working around heavy equipment at a steel mill for a few years was plenty of inspiration too.
     Since I lived in Las Vegas, several of the coworkers from the steel industry company contacted me because I was familiar with nearly every restaurant in Las Vegas.  I actually ended up acting as a Las Vegas concierge for the visiting coworkers during the ConExpo - Con/Agg event.  If they wanted to find a good Thai, Italian, western steakhouse or Chinese BBQ restaurants, I certainly had plenty of suggestions.  Often I was invited to tag along to dine, just so we all could catch up on old times.  If looking for good eats off the Las Vegas Strip is what suits the fancy, I have published several Las Vegas dining destination articles since then.
     It does not look like I will be attending the 2017 ConExpo - Con/Agg International Trade Show this year, but all is not lost.  Publishing the photos from the 2014 ConExpo - Con/Agg event in today's travel article will create plenty of interest in this upcoming event.  The 2017 ConExpo - Con/Agg International Trade Show runs from March 7th through March 11th, so there is still some time to book travel arrangements.  This is the heaviest of the heavy equipment trade show events worldwide and it is well worth checking out!

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