by Janet Dickelman
The 53rd annual ACB conference and convention will be held at the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nev. Convention week will be filled with informative seminars, workshops and programming, our exhibit hall will be brimming with technology, crafts and products for home, school, work and play. This month I'll focus on our tour plans!
Come early, and stay late! See what fun we have planned for this year's convention in Las Vegas. This is a tentative overview of our 2014 tours. Please keep in mind that due to unforeseen circumstances, dates and tour venues may be changed.
On Friday, July 11th, visit the west rim of the Grand Canyon. This portion of the canyon is on Hualapai Indian reservation land.
The Hualapai will act as our ambassadors as we visit several different sites. Take a wagon ride on the ranch. Stroll through Indian Point, a village of Indian dwellings from teepees to adobe huts which represent the lifestyles of several tribes covering several hundred years. Visit with the artists who create unique turquoise jewelry. If you'd like, you can add on a walk on the glass skywalk overlooking the canyon. Sorry, but because of the glass floor on the walk, the Hualapai nation cannot have dogs or metal-tipped canes travel the walk.
On Saturday, July 12th, get ready for the most extraordinary ride of your life!!! Experience the thrill of tandem skydiving! You will be trained by licensed instructors who have made thousands of jumps. Soar up to 15,000 feet with views of the Las Vegas strip as well as Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, and the Colorado River. You and your instructor will jump, free-falling at 120 to 140 miles per hour for 50 to 60 seconds. After the parachute opens, you will have a 5- to 7-minute parachute ride where you will be able to help the instructor steer the parachute to the ground for a nice, soft landing. Note that this once-in-a-lifetime experience will cost approximately $225 and has a 240-pound-per-person weight limit.
Once again we will offer city tours on Saturday and Sunday (July 12 and 13), where you can learn about the history of Las Vegas without leaving the comfort of your tour bus.
Another all-day tour will be a raft trip (no paddling, just relaxing) on the Colorado River through Black Canyon. The canyon, formed over millions of years by volcanic activity, lies just below the mighty Hoover Dam where the canyon walls rise nearly 2,000 feet from the river's edge. Raft downstream through spectacular and historic Black Canyon, with a beach stop for lunch, before arriving at Willow Beach Marina on Lake Mohave, where you can visit the gift shop. ACB's immediate past president Mitch Pomerantz did this tour last fall and said it was wonderful!
One of our final Saturday tours on July 19th is a visit to the Richard Petty driving school. Get suited up and, along with a driver, experience the thrill of going from zero to 60 miles in 3 seconds. Take 3 laps around the track at speeds of 150 to 165 miles per hour! After speeding around the track, visit the Petty garage for a hands-on look at race cars and the tools used to maintain them.
We are also working on setting up a hard-hat tour at Hoover Dam. Our second tentative tour on either Friday the 11th or Saturday the 19th will be a visit to Bonnie Springs Ranch. If you are a horse lover, take a trail ride through the Red Rock Canyon. Tour an authentic replica of an 1880s mining town, and a petting zoo featuring native and exotic animals. Indulge in a western barbecue.
During the week there will be tours to the Mob museum, the atomic museum and a "thrill seekers" tour to ride the world-famous roller coaster at New York New York, along with the coaster and slingshot rides at the Stratosphere.
We'll also take a tour of two local wineries. It will be grape harvest time, so in addition to wine tasting, we'll learn about how grapes are harvested.
Calling All Kids!
Bring the family to Las Vegas! While the adults spend time at a variety of programs, the convention has plenty to offer the younger set.
Kids Explorers Club
Bring the kids (ages 6 to 12) for a great week of games, crafts, swimming, and trips; every day is packed with fun. Breakfast, lunch and snack included. Open Monday, July 14th through Thursday, July 17th, from 8:15 to 5:00, and on Friday from 8:15 until after the banquet.
Calling All Teens!
Don't be bored – have a blast with Teen Blast. Be a Teen Blast volunteer; have fun on Teen Blast trips. Teen Blast launches on Saturday at 2:00; there will be pizza, prizes, and planning more cool stuff for the week. For teens and young adults 13 and up.
Participants for Kids Explorers Club and Teen Blast must register and pay the convention administrative fee before attending any events.
Room rates at the Riviera are $87 (single or double) plus tax, plus $10 per additional guest. Room taxes are currently 12%. Make telephone reservations by calling 1-800-634-6753 or online by visiting the ACB web site at www.acb.org and following the 2014 conference and convention link.
Stay in touch by joining the ACB convention e-mail list. Send a blank e-mail to
2014 Exhibit Information
Michael Smitherman, (601) 331-7740, [email protected]
2014 Advertising and Sponsorships
Margarine Beaman, (512) 921-1625, [email protected]
For any other convention-related questions, please contact Janet Dickelman, convention chair, at (651) 428-5059 or via e-mail, [email protected].