We left Wednesday morning for the 2008 BAM Conference in Sedalia Missouri. Over 400 Blacksmiths would attend, including foreign smiths from Australia, Britain, Israel, Canada, Czech Republic and Germany. Many states were represented including Virginia, Nebraska, Texas, Arizona, Washington, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and some that I've forgotten.
Events started at 3:00 on Wednesday. We arrived early to help set up. I was immediately lassoed for the BAM Boutique. Here members would donate items to be sold for the public. All proceeds would go to the Association. The weather was nice, in the mid-seventies and some wind. Most all of the events were held inside the Swine building on the Missouri State Fair grounds. A nice old red brick building, with great air flow. Later in the week we would find it was too good of an air flow.
Lectures started at 6:00 and went until 8:00, after that there was a Forging contest. We left about 8:30 checked in at the hotel and went to dinner at the El Tapatio. I tried Sopes, which are homemade masa boats, deep fried and topped with your choice of shredded beef or chicken, ground beef or just beans. Topped with cabbage, Mexican cheese and a delicious sauce. WOW were they delicious. BT choose Tacos de Carne Asada in homemade corn tortillas. The servings were huge and we wished we hadn't eaten so late. Back in our room we crashed.
Thursday we were up early as demonstrations started at 8:30. I worked in the boutique most of the day. I also managed to get lots of hugs from old friends that we don't see very often. Bonnie, my road tripping friend aka Louise came early with Beagle Bob. There was a booth entitled bang a bar for Bonnie. You could forge a picket for her deck railing. The daily catered lunch was smoked ham sandwiches, baked beans, potato salad and chips. The wind picked up all afternoon, storm warnings were posted by 6:00. We moved the car around to Bonnie's camper and we tailed gated with friends, We pulled out deer sausage, smoked cheese, Jalapeno cheese dip and wine. Bonnie had a big cooler full of cooked crayfish, she had brought back form the New Orleans Jazz fest. This would be dinner as we made a pact not to eat as much or as late as the previous night.
Storms moved in during the late night, early morning hours. Friday morning as we made our way back to the conference, things inside stayed pretty much dry. I worked the boutique during the morning hours. At noon the caterer's set out lunch of potato soup and ham sandwiches, which hit the spot with the dampness and blowing wind. After lunch I asked Carroll if she wanted to go antiquing with me. We found 3 stores and 1 fabric store. The only purchase was made by her of 12 depression grass dessert plates. Plus a stop at Starbuck's for our caffeine fix. Carroll got a free coupon because we had to wait for her husband's coffee to go while they brewed a fresh pot. At 5:00 I met up with BT and we drove to the AG building across the fair grounds for the evening banquet. The food was wonderful, herbed chicken breast, broccoli salad, white and sweet potato baked together, corn casserole, homemade bread, carrot cake, and raspberry strudel. The benefit auction started as we finished our dessert. Beautiful hand forged items were auctioned off. Lady Liberty sold for $4500 and it's new home will be in Texas. We called it a night shortly before the auction was over at 10 and headed for the hotel.
Saturday morning, it was cold and very windy when we got up. I grabbed a bowl of oatmeal and BT had a biscuit and coffee in the kitchen downstairs of the hotel. On the way to the fair grounds, I stopped at Starbucks for my free Caffe' Mocha thanks to Carroll for giving me her coupon. As BT and I walked up to the building, I realized I had my room key in my pocket, we had forgotten to check out. I did a bat turn and went back to completed that transaction. It was then that I spotted a rummage sale. I hoped to find a warm cheap coat there. I came up with a $1.00 poncho that would work. The building was the coldest it had been all week, the breeze never let up. People were going outside and standing next to the brick walls in the sun to collect any warmth they could. When lunch time rolled around BT and I went to Arby's for a warm seat and a meal out of the wind. We then went back for a couple of hours before hitting the road for home.
Once home we played with the dog, he was glad to be left out to run. BT played catch with him and walked him. I unloaded the suitcases, the cooler and did one load of clothes, it was then recliner time.