The educational value of the 2016 Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) Conference & Exhibition extended much further than the walls of the San Diego Convention Center.

On Tuesday, Jan. 19, a large group of attendees took in the first of two Seminar on Wheels Tours, sponsored by Bush Turf and GreenOne Industries. Stops on the 10-hour tour included:

The second, shorter Seminar on Wheels Tour took place Friday, Jan. 22, and included visits to Qualcomm Stadium (home of the NFL’s San Diego Chargers) and several athletic fields at San Diego State University.

Attendees learned about the challenges each facility faces daily and received a behind-the-scenes look.

“The Seminar on Wheels Tour is always a highlight of the conference for me,” said tour-goer Ben Polimer, fields and grounds coordinator for the town of Weston, Massachusetts. “We visited some great sites, especially the Del Mar Race Track. It’s not every day that you visit a turf race track and get to see the unique way they manage turfgrass.”

Other highlights included Petco Park not exactly looking like a baseball field when the tour arrived, as Polimer pointed out.

“It seems every year when we visit professional ballparks, they are having non-sports events,” he said. “This year was no different when visiting Petco Park. They were shaping dirt mounds for a motocross event later in the week.”

Polimer highly recommends signing up for the tour each year.

“I’ve been going on these tours for almost 10 years, and always enjoy it,” he said. “It’s also a great time to network with others during the bus ride.”