April 14, 2008

South Carolina Sit Down no. 8 Cigar Event

I have to start out on Friday (April 11th) because I had a special guest fly in from Miami, Florida to be here. Dylan Austin, Marketing Director for Camacho Cigars arrived at Columbia airport just after 11 am. I met him there and took him for a whirlwind tour of 5 cigar shops in, and around, Columbia. We first visited The Tobacco Merchant on Bower Parkway, then moved on to the Maduro Room on Highway 378 in Lexington. Then it was on to Modern Age Tobacco on Colonial Life Boulevard. We then went to the second location of The Tobacco Merchant which is in the northeast part of town on Sparkleberry Lane. The last stop was the Cigar Box on Rosewood Drive. Quite a busy afternoon!

After picking up Connie at the office we went to TPM Reprograhics on Assembly Street to get the display sign. TPM made a great sign for us to display at the event. It had all the vendors names who had contributed to the event along with all the attending reps. Thanks to TPM for this fantastic addition!

For the evening meal Dylan was introduced to Beaufort Stew, or Low Country Boil as it is sometimes referred. It consists of sausage, corn, and large shrimp all fixed in one pot. The ingredients go in according to cooking length. The shrimp are the last item to go in the pot since they require so little cooking time. He loved it! This is one of my favorite dishes! Here's a few pics of us relaxing in the outdoor "cigar lounge" after dinner:

Now, on to Event Saturday!!! (April 12th, 2008)

If you do a search and look at last year's event I said that I doubted we could top that one. Well, guess what; we did, and by a LONG shot! This cigar event has grown from 7 people 3 1/2 years ago (October, 2004) to this year's attendance of 126!

Jim Massengale helped me set up again this year. We got to the Wild Hare around 10am. Not log after, Cheeze, aka Mark arrived to pitch in. Sondra Hankamer, the Miami Cigar rep met us there shortly thereafter She is an enthusiastic young lady that was a lot of fun! She even gave us our first cigar of the day. Here we are with that cigar:

The vendors were fantastic this year, too. We had 5 representatives of different cigar companies here. They were:
  • Dylan Austin, Marketing, Camacho Cigars
  • Carson Ross, Camacho Rep
  • Nathan Saab (Nate), Oliva Rep
  • Jeff Godfrey, Perdom Rep
  • Sondra Hankamer, Miami Cigar Rep

Here's a list of the contributing companies and shops:

Smoking Lamp (Charleston, SC)
Vegas de Santiago
SAG Imports
J.M. Tobacco
J. C. Newman
United Tobacco
Lianos dos Palmas (Charleston, SC)
Heartfelt Industries
Arganese Cigars
Cigar Afcionado
Cuvee Cigars
Pontillo Cigars
The Party Source (Bellevue, KY)
Reyes Family Cigars
Avo Cigars
Lil’ Brown Smoke Shop
Ginger Carnes (R&J Realtors)
General Cigar
Island Smoke Shop (Key Largo)
Armando RamosJJ Issacson

Local shops and contributors:

Maduro Room, 5175 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 14, Lexington, SC
The CIGAR Box, 2910 Rosewood Dr., Columbia, SC
Modern Age Tobacco, 1410 Colonial Life Blvd. Suite 200, West, Columbia, SC
Tobacco Merchant, 1220 Bower Parkway, #E4, Columbia, SC and 10136 Two Notch Rd., #4, Columbia, SC
Jordan Price, Manager of Tobacco Merchant, 10136 Two Notch Rd.
Ginger Carnes, Russell & Jeffcoat Realtors

The reps did a great job of talking up their products and passing out samples. They even found creative ways to raise more money for Sister Care!

This year, as in year's past, we also had a raffle. The raffle is split up into 2 separate charities. Our main charity is Sister Care, Inc., a shelter for battered women and their children. We also raffle off a Craftsman Bench Humidor which is donated by the J. C. Newman Co. on behalf of their charity, the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation, which benefits the people of The Dominican Republic. With the huge amount of prizes available the raffle for Sister Care went extremely well! And, as always, the Cigar Family humidor pulled in a nice sum. The totals for this year are:

  • Sister Care, Inc.: $2335
  • Cigar Family: $570

For a total of $2905!!!!

Each year we raise more money for these charities. The breakdown below shows the annual increases:

2006: Sister Care, $520; Cigar Family, $400

2007: Sister Care, $1055; Cigar Family, $550

2008: Sister Care, $2335; Cigar Family, $570

Thanks to all who have contributed over the years, as well as those who have donated items for the raffle!

Now, on to the pics...

With 126 people, the Wild Hare was bursting at the seams! We took over the entire bar this year. As a matter of fact, we had over 50 people here before noon! (we were suppose to start at noon) People from Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina primarily made up the group. The day went very smoothly. The various reps had 30 minutes to go over anything special about their products and run any "specials" to raise extra money for Sister Care. They were quite inventive with raising money. All the reps did great! Sister Care benefited from all their hard work.

The group picture was interesting! It was pretty much impossible to get a good pic of all 126 people. To show just how big the crowd was, here is my attempt at our group pic!

As you can see, people are in front of other people...but believe me, all 126 are there...somewhere!

Now to some other pics. Here are pics of the crowd having a good time followed by some raffle winners:

Yours truely, working the door:

Dylan Austin (Camacho Marketing), me, Carson Ross (Camacho Rep)
Casey and Henry

Greg Tarlton and wife

Dylan being "Dylan" with Dale Sturgill (Dsturg)
Charlie Ruffalo, Connie, and me

Jim and Ginger

Joe, George, and Mark

Perdomo rep, Jeff Godfrey and Oliva rep, Nate Saab

Sondra Hankamer, Miami Cigar rep

The raffle items were amazing! Here are some of the bigger prize winners:

Arganese Cigars winner (no. 1)
Arganese Cigars winner (no. 2)
Arganese Cigars winner (no. 3)

The CIGAR Box (local Columbia, SC shop) winner:

Cigar Family humidor winner:

Avo Cigars winner:
Island Smoke Shop humidor winner:
JJ Issacson, custom humidor winner:

General Cigar winner:
Modern Age Tobacco (local Columbia, SC shop) humidor winner:

Oliva V's signed by Jose' Oliva winner:
Party Source (Bellevue, KY shop) winner (yes, that's me!)
Perdomo humidor winner: One of several Preferidos winners:

Reyes Cigars winner (no. 1)

Reyes Cigars winner (no. 2)

After all the raffle items were given out it was time for me to open my "special prize" that was put together by some of the loonies on the Social Cigar board. Tommyboy had mailed me a box. I opened it in front of everyone and found some "pills" that were suppose to put me out of my misery, along with some dog crap; REAL dog crap! I also received a big styrofoam package that contained previously frozen mountain oysters, aka hog nuts! The key word here is "previously" as they were room temperature and should not be left in the open air very long!!! Obviouusly these were presents from my GOOD friends! I'd hate to see what I'd get from my enemies! Here I am opening the mountain oysters:

Of course, we must always pay tribute to the founding members of this group. Here they are, minus one:
(L-R; Casey, John, Tim, Jack, Connie, and Charlie)

Absent this year was Tedd Lepp.

We raised quite a bit of money for the 2 charities. I went to the bank and got 2 cashiers checks. I mailed off the Cigar Family check:

I always take the Sister Care check to them. Here I am with Tamika Sims, Volunteer Coordinator as she receives the check:

Thanks again to everyone who took part in this year's event! It was a huge success!!!!

I hate it's a whole year before we do it again! We'll have our fall Sit Down but it's a much smaller event. No vendors. No prizes. Just hard core cigar guys and gals! See you in the fall!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


My name is Chris and I usually hang out with Jordan at Tobbaco Merchant on Two Notch. Just wanted to say thanks and had a great time at the Sit Down. Smoking a Cuvee Blanc right now from the sampler and it rocks. Will definatley get more of these. Thanks again.