April 19, 2010

South Carolina Sit Down no. 12-RECORD BREAKER!

South Carolina Sit Down no. 12 is in the books and it was a record setter. We had the largest attendance to date with 170 people attending the event. It was held at Hemingways Saloon in Irmo, South Carolina for the first time. We were forced to move locations this year because of the newly implemented smoking ban in non-incorporated areas of Lexington County. The Wild Hare, our previous home, was affected by the ban so we had to look elsewhere to hold the event. When I approached the owner of Hemingways Saloon he was very willing to hold the event at his bar. The new location worked out very well too. Hemingways has a stage area where bands play 5 nights a week. We utilized that stage for the raffle prizes, ticket purchases, and the cigars that I hand out when the patrons enter the event. Prior to the event Saturday I had a chance to meet up with some of the long distance attendees. Among them, Eddie Ortega, co-owner of EO Brands. Eddie's brands include the 601 line, Cubao, Mi Barrio, and others. Eddie drove to my house around 4pm. We chatted while we enjoyed a Murcielago robusto that Eddie brought to share. After awhile we took a quick trip to the Maduro Room in Lexington. There he met Mike Falls and Steve Miller..

After a quick stop at the Maduro Room we went back to Irmo to meet some other out of towners. We agreed to meet at Hemingways to eat then head over to my house to sit outside and get acquainted. That is always a fun thing to do as there are no distractions like there will surely be on the day of the event..

Sandi Turnipseed and Herbie traveled down from New York City to attend this year's event. She has been wanting to come to the Sit Down for several years and finally made it this year. Here is Sandi and Herbie.


John and Phyllis Perry, Raleigh, NC

Eddie Ortega, Miami, FL

Cedric Luckey, Columbia, SC

Derek Hailey, Augusta, GA

Jim and Ginger Massengale, Irmo, SC

Jo Ed and Tassie, Charlotte, NC

Now, on to the event. Jim arrived at the house around 10:00 to help load our various vehicles with all the cigars and raffle prizes. We then took off to Hemingways to start setting up. Henry Richardson provided several tables for the raffle prizes which came in very handy. Luckily Jim had brought a few extras because there were so many prizes we needed 4 tables!
Casey McBrayer, an original member of the SC Sit Down, was on hand to help with the sign in table.

After getting name tags the attendees came straight to see me because they knew I'd have a bag of cigars waiting for them.

Then their next stop was the raffle table to purchase tickets. The table workers were John Perry, Henry Richardson, and Jim Massengale.

The list of contributors to this year's event is long, which is a very good thing. Here are this year's contributors in no particular order:
Cigar Aficianado

Lil' Brown Smoke Shack

The Smoking Lamp

Vegas De Santiago

Arganese Cigars

Savinelli Cigars

Jeff Jackson

Lianos dos Palmas

The Party Source

Altadis USA

Cusano Cigars

Oliva Cigar Family

Villiger Stokkebye

Scott Krause Photo

Top Shelf Cigar Shop, Augusta, GA

Heartfelt Industries

Cigars International

CAO International

Camacho Cigars

Miura Cigars

Davidoff Cigars

Holt's Cigar Co.

SAG Imports

Reyes Family Cigars

United Tobacco

Perdomo Cigars

Ashton Cigars

Eric Webster, patron

Alec Bradley Cigars

Cuban Crafters

General Cigar

Kristoff Cigars

Scarface Cigars

Paul Magier


Local shops contributing to the event:.

The Maduro Room, 5175 Sunset Blvd., Lexington, SC

Tobacco Merchant, 1220 Bower Parkway, Columbia, SC

The Cigar Box, 2910 Rosewood Dr., Columbia, SC

Modern Age Tobacco, 1410 Colonial Life Blvd., Columbia, SC

Lite Um Up Cigars, 4435 Hard Scrabble Rd., Columbia, SC

That's 39 contributors!!!! That's impressive! Thank you ALL!!!!



Now, the pics below do not do justice to the massive amount of raffle prizes that were handed out on Saturday but you can get a general idea of how many there were. Actually, after these pictures were taken many more prizes arrived via Tom Merchant of Lite Um Up Cigars and Will Woodcock of General Cigar.


The raffle table guys even had a brief second to smile for a pic.

They stayed quite busy all day..

Eddie Ortega arrived around 11:00 and was already smiling. He's pretty much always smiling so he must be up to something!


Eric Webster helped Casey at the sign in table. Eric was in charge of name tags. Eric is also a contributor to the raffle prizes. For the second year in a row he donated cigars and prizes out of his own pocket. Thank you Eric for your generosity.


Tom Burns, owner of Lite Um Up Cigars on Hardscrabble Road in Columbia, stopped by to deliver the Cusano donation as well as items from his shop. He could not stay long due to a prior commitment but I managed to snap this photo before he left.


John Conroy of Altadis arrived shortly thereafter to set up the Altadis display. John had cigars that he passed out to attendees.


There were several cigar reps on hand. Here is Rich Myberg who represents several companies but on this day he was the Arganese Cigars rep. Gene Arganese was not able to attend as previously scheduled.


John Conroy is a very happy sort of guy! He's another one who's always smiling!


Zev Kaminetsky and lovely wife. Zev is the Camacho Cigars rep.

Here I am with Will Woodcock, rep for General Cigar.

One of the "not so local" shop owners was Russell Wilder, owner of Top Shelf Cigars in Augusta, GA. Russell has been a contributor to the event for the past 2 years. .

Jackie Dunn, winner of numerous pageants in the "Mrs." category graciously donated a framed picture for the raffle. Here I am with Jackie. .

For the first time this year we had a representative from Sister Care, Inc. give a presentation on their organization. Kathy Shaw spoke on the services provided by Sister Care. .

The various reps had a chance to speak on behalf of their companies. Will Woodcock from General Cigars went first.


Followed by Zev Kaminetsky of Camacho Cigars

Rich Myberg of Arganese Cigars

John Conroy spoke about Altadis Cigars

Last but not least, Eddie Ortega talked on his cigars.

The shirts and hats were raffled off during the afternoon before the big raffle at 4pm. When a name was called for a shirt or hat the person's name went back in the raffle box for a chance to win another prize later. Once the big raffle started the crowd was eager to hear their name called. It took a solid 2 hours to run through the raffle! Below is a sampling of the items raffled off but far from the entire list.

Heartfelt Industries winners

Vegas de Santiago Cigar winners

Arganese Cigars sampler winners
Modern Age Shop winners

Reyes Family Cigars sampler winners

Miura Cigars sampler winners

Davidoff USA winners

Oliva Cigars sampler winners

The Cigar Box winner: Don Arnold

Top Shelf Cigars winners

Camacho Cigars winners

Maduro Room winners

Party Source winner: Juan Zamora

Arganese box winner; Leary Cox

Eric Webster donation winner; John Perry

Holt's Cigars winner #1: Cedric Freeman

Holt's Cigars winner #2: David Brady

Villiger Stokkebye Int'l winner #1: Chris Jordan

Villiger Stokkebye Int'l #2: Ray Wilkerson

Villiger Stokkebye Int'l #3: Brian Mack

Altadis winner: Robert Yon

Ashton Cigars winner #1: Tim Rollins

Ashton Cigars winner #2: Dale Lovett

CAO Cigars winner #1: Roger Schweitzer

CAO Cigars winner #2: Mario Lovato

Cigars International winners: Henry Richardson and Bruce Keating

Cuban Crafters humidor winner: Paul Funk

Ashton Savoy humidor winner: Terry Conroy

Tobacco Merchant CAO Sopranos humidor winner: Craig Darnet (Randy Fabry accepting)

Tobacco Merchant CAO LX2 humidor winner: Gregg Dillinger

Here is the frame photo taken by Scott Krause of Jackie Dunn holding a Montecristo White. This picture was quite unique among our raffle prizes. It made a great addition to the lineup.

Scott Krause framed photo winner: Tim Page

Grand Prize Winner: Cigar Aficianado Las Vegas Big Smoke tickets: Ryan Richardson
Ryan defied the odds and won the Grand Prize two years in a row!
Sounds like Las Vegas is the right place for him to visit!
One last pic with Eddie Ortega. I really enjoyed hanging out with Eddie. He's a great guy and has some really great cigars!
We smashed two records today; the attendance record and total money raised.
Official attendance to today's event: 170!
That's a 20% increase over last year's total of 142!

Now on to the benefactor of our day. Sister Care is a very deserving charity that we have sponsored for several years. This year our raffle was a huge success. We surpassed last year by over $1000! This year's total was $3070! (another record)

After getting the cashier's check I immediately went to the Sister Care main office to deliver the check. There I met Belva Nagasaki who accepted the check.

To say the least this was an absolutely successful event. I can only hope that future events will be as successful. On that note, I hope there will be future events. With more and more smoking bans taking effect across the land there is no guarantee there will be an SC Sit Down no. 14 next April. I sincerely hope the Town of Irmo will keep the laws as they currently are which will ensure that next April we will again have the SC Sit Down. Thanks to all who made this event possible, especially:
  • Hemingways Saloon

  • TPG Graphics

  • Casey McBrayer

  • Eric Webster

  • Jack Porter

  • Robert Yon

  • Henry Richardson

  • John Perry

  • Jim Massengale

And, my wife, Connie, who finally has her dining room back! All the cigars and raffle prizes that were part of today's event were stored there and she was quite patient with the whole process..

I look forward to the next event and hope everyone can return to make it a great success!


Jack said...

Excellent write-up Tim! You did a great job! I can't believe how big this has gotten in the past six years.

David Asp said...

Great Job as usual. Hope next year is bigger than this year.

Tuna said...

Great Event. My first and hopefully won't be the last. Love the fact that you picked Sister Care. Close to my heart.

Donny A. said...

Excellent job Tim...This event seams to get bigger and better every year..Thanks for all the time and effort you put into this event..I'm already looking forward to next years.