The importance of attending shows, exhibitions and demonstration days cannot be underestimated. Communication between groundsmen and suppliers can improve many important issues, maybe surface standards, safety or personal benefits. Just to break away from your work environment and spend time with others within the sports turf industry should prove beneficial. Here is a short insight to the supplier’s side of shows.

September to February is an incredibly busy period for an active machinery maintenance company. In the summer months we tend to have three or four leisurely shows or exhibitions, but autumn brings a frenzy of shows and seminars.

In the next five months Campey Imants will attend a show, seminar or demonstration on five continents. This period becomes a logistical nightmare for equipment and personnel.

As I write this article, I am on my way to a stadium managers meeting in Paris, France, organized by the European Stadium and Safety Management Association (ESSMA). We will tour the Parc des Princes, where the sports field has grown in nicely since its renovation, and the new Stade Jean-Bouin (rugby).

This is an opportunity for groundsmen to meet and exchange ideas. On the same days as the event in Paris, the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) held its annual show, SALTEX, in the UK. The IOG show again provides an opportunity for learning and for groundsmen to meet their industry colleagues; many groundsmen only get this opportunity once a year.

Next week I will be in Europe, heading to Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, attending shows and demonstrations with a similar theme and importance. Shows in Europe are normally very well attended.

The biggest personal test for me this year is coming up in early October … Oktoberfest! Most people have heard of Oktoberfest, the annual event held in many German cities involving much merriment and cheer. Oh, and of course plenty of good German beer in huge glasses.

Mark TrÜbenbacher of GT Equipment in Germany has held a small groundsmen’s seminar the last two years, and this has involved a gathering of groundsmen and other professionals during the day at a stadium, and then on to the serious business of Oktoberfest in the evening. As anyone who knows me can tell you, this is my idea of heaven!

But … why does there have to be a but? This year, Oktoberfest conflicts with a four-day ESSMA Grounds Managers meeting in Portugal, a brilliant event attended by many European groundsmen. It involves study tours, educational and brainstorming sessions, and some wonderful speakers including Jerad Minnick from Maryland Soccerplex. He will give an insight into U.S. management methods and his views for the future of playing surfaces. You can imagine the importance of this event and the benefit to the companies I work with.

So Jerad, your talk better be very interesting to make me forfeit Oktoberfest and to endure the questioning of my dedication and other personal insults made to me for not attending the Oktoberfest, otherwise the beers are on you, Jerad!

I have not yet mastered the art of being in two places at the same time, and I have a long way to go as I first have to master being in the right place at the right time.

The most expensive soccer transfer fee has just taken place with Real Madrid paying a reported 100 million Euros ($135.45 million) for Gareth Bale, with reports of a weekly wage of œ300,000 ($482,430). I would play for half of that, so I am going to buy myself some new football boots and get back in training.

The UEFA Women’s Under-17 Championship 2013/14 will be held in England later this year. Having traveled in the U.S. over the last few years, I have seen the growth of U.S. women’s soccer, and I have to admire your facilities and the obvious dividends they pay, as you are considered to have one of the most successful senior women’s world teams.

When the English Football Association (FA) approached us to co-sponsor the event we could see the obvious benefits of being involved with the surfaces.

All games will be played on natural grass in winter, in between the clubs’ league fixtures. It can be done, and yes, natural grass can take it if managed correctly. We will be working with both the English FA and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) on this project. I wish all that are taking part a successful and enjoyable tournament.

Simon Gumbrill is sales director at Campey Turf Care Systems, U.K.