Friday, December 05, 2008

AAEP Convention: Hoofcare and Lameness Industry Friends at the Trade Show

By Fran Jurga | 5 December 2008 |
Trade show exhibits for small companies haven't really changed that much over the years. I would have liked to have spent some time at the Valentine Hoof Ointment booth back in the 1920s. The company is still making the ointment...with Mr. Valentine's face, front and center on the label! I wonder what became of his museum...

The doors of the huge three-block-long San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California will swing open today.

The back doors, that is. The front doors will open bright and early Sunday morning, when an expected 5000 or so people will don their badges and head for the lecture halls.

Those back doors open onto the loading dock. Cranes and cherry pickers and forklifts began today to prepare the giant hall for the trade show, which will host hundreds of "normal" trade show booths like Hoofcare Publishing's usual how-much-can-we-cram-in-100-square-feet displays. It will also be home to the colossal mega-island displays of the pharmaceutical companies and major veterinary product distributors. Each mega-booth has a squadron of salespeople in identical shirts (Pfizer is blue, Merial is green, etc.). The cost of the design and fabrication of one of those "booths" is equal for an entire veterinary student's multi-year tuition, I'm sure. Or more.

It will take the exhibit company three days to build the trade show. Some of the exhibits are three stories high...and revolve!

Those revolving corporate logos in the trade show sky become helpful landmarks to find your way around the vast space. Finding time to see all the booths will be a challenge with all the great seminars going on! This year's AAEP convention offers a half day program on lameness each day, including one on laminitis on Tuesday, foot lameness on Monday, and an all-day farrier conference on Wednesday. (My guess is that the farrier conference will be standing-room-only again, as it was two years ago in San Antonio, not because of the farrier attendance, which will be high, but because so many veterinarians want the information to be presented.) I've counted about 50 lectures that will be of interest to anyone working on horses with foot or leg problems.

Here's a list of some of the small to medium sized companies to look for in the trade show. Maybe next year we'll have moved up to a mega-island architectural statement but I don't think there are any unique colors left for staff shirts!

(I'm sure I may have omitted someone, but it was unintentional, if it did happen. Sorry to have to abbreviate some of the names, as well.)

Yes, there are 18 rows of booths, with about 40 normal-sized booths in each row. You can do the math and see how big this show is...and why you need a treasure map to find the little booths with the hoof information and products!

How wise was the decision to buy a piece of trade show real estate for four days at this this era of economic insecurity? It sounds like it was a good one, according to this early report from the AAEP:

"While pre-registration has ended, as of (November 19) the number of pre-registered attendees (DVMs, students, veterinary technicians and guests) for the meeting is the highest we’ve ever had for an annual convention," wrote AAEP Director of Marketing and Public Relations Sally Baker in a memo to the press three weeks ago. "This is certainly good news in light of the current economic climate. We will also have on-site registration."

Go to for more details. And come find us!

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Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page).

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