Green was everywhere at the 19th Reinders Turf & Irrigation Conference. The show’s theme of “Think Green. Be Green. Save Green.” was evident to the 1,500 people who descended upon the Waukesha Expo Center in suburban Milwaukee, WI. The halls were festooned with energy efficient green LED lights and green plants, vendor booths were decorated in green and the Reinders staff was outfitted in green shirts. In the morning, Bob Uecker, radio announcer for the Milwaukee Brewers, appeared in a light hearted video presentation with Kermit the Frog. Uecker was welcoming everyone to the show when he was interrupted by Kermit singing his signature tune, “It Isn’t Easy Being Green.” Mr. Baseball pointed out to Kermit that Reinders helps industry professionals be green and they could see eco-friendly products at the show such as organic fertilizers, bio-diesel equipment, water conserving irrigation systems, LED lighting and more. Coinciding with the green theme, biodegradable utensils and cups were used at lunch. A slideshow of conference photos can be viewed on the company’s website, www.reinders.com.
A trademark of every Reinders show is hot, homemade donuts. One could watch them being made and then pick out their favorite variety to savor. More than 3,000 of the delicious tasty treats, some of them coated with green frosting, were made and served on-site over the course of the two day show.
There was a unique display dubbed the “Green Scene” that featured various environmentally friendly products including a rainwater harvesting system, recycled shovels, organic insecticides, a drip irrigation system, energy efficient LED lights, ecosalt deicer, and water saving sprinklers.
Over 40 seminars covered something for everyone in the green industry. Six different educational tracts ran simultaneously to meet the needs of sports turf managers, golf course superintendents, landscape contractors, lawn care operators, equipment mechanics and irrigation contractors. Darian Daily, Head Groundskeeper for the Cincinnati Bengals discussed the pros and cons of artificial surface athletic fields including maintenance considerations.
Sports turf managers with limited budgets were provided tips for managing baseball infields by Charlie Vestal of Profile Products. He covered the use of soil conditioners as well as the proper maintenance of pitching mounds, plate areas and field lips.
Seed mixes for athletic fields in the Midwest were explored by Dr. Jerry Pepin of Pickseed. He talked about varieties such as Texas hybrids and Tall Fescue. Seeding rates, fertility and watering requirements were also examined.
The equipment side of sports turf management was addressed in a seminar with Pete Whitacre of The Toro Company. He showed how to work with purchasing departments to save money and get the desired equipment to keep fields in shape. Cooperative purchasing can leverage pricing and help reduce the time to get orders processed.
Attendees had the chance to win a 42” flat panel TV and Wii game system. They visited exhibitor booths to find the answers to questions they had to correctly identify to qualify for the grand prize drawing. Tom Zieja of Z’s Lawn & Landscaping, La Crosse, WI, was the lucky winner.
Reinders has hosted this conference and tradeshow every other year since 1973. It brings together nationally known speakers, enlightening seminars and a variety of industry manufacturers all in one place.
Their 20th Turf & Irrigation Conference will be held March 9-10, 2011.