I awoke slowly when the alarm went off and got dressed in the dark of the early morning a few days ago now. 3:00 AM is not a time I am used to given that I typically work until 11 or 12 the night before. Hell, even Starbucks isn’t open that freaking early. I picked up my wife from work and we headed out to our mini-vacation/anniversary/birthday celebration.
At about an hour into the drive my auditory senses were ravaged by what is probably the number one driving song I have ever heard. Golden Earring’s Radar Love had me pounding the wheel into submission and singing like I was an American Idol throwback. You know the ones, they couldn’t sing if their life depended on it, but they sang anyway. Yeah I was that guy.
Thankfully, somewhere in the lucid hours of the drive I got some coffee into me and it perked me up slightly but I was still driving from sheer force of will not to be late. We had an appointment at 10:00 AM at the Santa Fe Station Hotel and Casino. Something which haunted me even before the trip was the fact that Hunter S. Thompson and his lawyer drove along the same freeway many years before. The drugs didn’t kick in around Barstow, and I didn’t have anyone rambling on about ‘As your attorney I advise you…’
I must admit though I was looking for the bats. We arrived fashionably late and while we weren’t in the middle of a reptile zoo when we first arrived we caught up with Joe and Tyler the organizers and this is what they had to say about Reptile Shows and Las Vegas…
LVRE: It’s been about a year in the making as we started setting-up in September of last year. It’s a lot of work dealing with cities, permits, and dealing with all that kind of stuff.
RA: That’s something kind of interesting, I’m not sure what the legalities are here in Las Vegas as far as venomous because I know if California it’s almost impossible to own any venomous reptiles. I mean there’s ways to own them but it’s not easy. Are there any venomous laws in Las Vegas at all?
LVRE: Yeah there are definitely. We didn’t allow venomous here. It one of those things though, from a liability stand point. It would be so expensive to cover and event like that with regards to insurance and what not you would have to have an event that’s exclusively venomous because people that would be selling tortoises would have to pay the same amount to cover that cost.
Its one of those things where, we wish we could do something like that because you know it really is interesting. About a year ago we figured out what licenses, permits, and inspections we would need to get and then a week before the show there was some other licenses and permits that sprang up so it’s a nightmare. Las Vegas shows have historically not done well whether it’s a market that has not been done right or one that doesn’t respond well to reptile expos we don’t know. So after the show will find out if this is something we can do again. I really want to do again; I think this market is awesome.
We arrived and picked up our VIP passes and were treated like kings by both Tyler and Joe. We walked through the aisles and spoke with some friends we knew from previous shows like Ryan Jarosek of Tiki Tiki Reptiles, & Linda Davison of Sticky Tongue Farms. We also met Scott Powley who was assisting Global Captive Breeders about Green Tree Pythons Morelia viridis which you can read about later this week as well as Ed and Liddy Kammer of Kammerflage Kreations who had probably the bluest Chameleon I have ever seen. We also got to speak with FL Chams and saw their Translucent Veiled Chameleons which had us doing a double take!
Unfortunately, due to some poor logistical planning on my part and familial obligations on my part we couldn’t spend as much time as we wanted to at the show but we saw enough to know that the customers and vendors both were very happy about their experiences. There is no doubt that this will become one of the premier shows for the United States herpetoculture industry. Just an FYI, we checked the website and they are already planning for 2011. So if you missed this last show you’d be well advised to start planning your schedule around next years shows. For the amount reptiles we saw and the cost for attending you can’t beat taking a vacation with the family and heading out to Las Vegas next year. Get all the information at www.getreptiles.com