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International Fly Tyers Symposium 2001
By Steve Schweitzer
It was a busy week at work and the last thing I needed was to take a Friday off when so much had to be accomplished.It was a busy week at work and the last thing I needed was to take a Friday off when so much had to be accomplished. But, I had purchased my plane ticket and plans were made to meet the other partners of GFF at the IFTS 2001. Besides, I had awards, trophies, ribbons for the contest GFF was sponsoring and some secret presents for my fellow partners in GFF...I had to attend!
I overloaded my hockey duffel bag with all my goodies and proceeded to the airlines check-in desk at Denver International. I was pleasantly greeted by a uniformed National Guard rep toting a M-16 and a belt-full of ammo clips. As I struggled to move my bags inchward towards the front of the line, he offered to help. "Oh my gosh", I thought, "here we go…I have a bag that weighs more than a stripped down Sherman tank full of tying vises, tools and whatnot. I am sure to cause interest now!" But, much to my surprise, he only helped me and didn't ask questions further. The lady at the baggage counter wasn't too happy with me, however. After going through the metal detector, in phases (me first, then my cowboy boots, then my belt), we were on our way!
Once I landed in Newark, I grabbed my skimpy carry-on and dashed to see where Bob Petti and Martin Joergensen were. I knew that Martin got in a few hours ahead of me, so I did not know what condition to expect those two in... did they stop by the pub for a few? Would they forget me? But fear not, they both were steadfast on a bench beside my luggage carousel waiting for me! After hugs and handshakes were exchanged, we grabbed my tonnage and jammed it in Bob's awaiting car (Bob, can you get a bigger car next time?!).
Upon check in at the hotel, we were anxious to get to the room and undo the baggage to reveal secret gifts to one another. One can only imagine from here that we GFF boys treat each other very nicely when it comes to tying tools, gear and materials!!!
A perk of running GFF I guess!
The likes of A.K. Best, Paul Schmookler, Ed Engle, Chuck Furimsky, Dick Talluer, Mike Martinek, Byard Miller, Kim Boal, Richard Ross, Jack Gartside and others all invaded the libation station and shared lies that took a year to conjure up! Most impressively was the appearance of George Harvey, who celebrated his 90th birthday (I believe) while he was there! Bravo George! We can only hope that we all live on as missionaries of the sport as long and well as you have.
Our booth was situated near the entrance to the show, which afforded us a look at all who came in... and vice versa! We saw many friends and shared many stories in an effort to catch up. In most every conversation came the brief and sincere discussion of the September 11th tragedy. With solemn faces, each of us shared our version of how our hearts have reached out in support of those affected. It was touching to see a bunch of flyfishers, both Americans and foreign citizens, united in a common supportive thread of thought.
Now, it was very good to see my website partners again... and we only hope that the fourth, Mr. Skehan, can join us in the future! Let me start with Mr. Petti. I email-chat him almost every day where we share fishing talk, braggart stories, rod building questions, website to-do's and general talk having nothing to do with flyfishing. He's become a part of my daily routine just like going to the work coffee machine in the morning. And now to see him again for only the second time I can remember in 3 years. We did our catching up via IM before going to the show... and it was good to see him again! He shared lovely pix of his daughters, who are growing like a weed! It's amazing how flyfishing has brought us all together, but it is the sharing of daily life events that seem to be most precious when we talk.
And now for Martin. A long lost Danish brother is he. We have video-conferenced from time-to-time, so I get to see him, his wife and his two boys on occasion. Internet technology is a wonderful thing! Martin really is the guy who is the 'cog' behind GFF. He supplies the technology input and the overall suggestive graphic look and appeal. The Bobs and I just provide content and some complaining from time to time! But, without Martin, you wouldn't have the website that GFF is today... so I guess we will keep him!
It was certainly great to see Martin again. The last time I saw him was well over a year ago when I visited Denmark and spent a week fishing. I plan to go again this year, but not just to see Martin. His close friends, namely Henning and Ken, have become good friends of mine as well... and they are quite entertaining individuals themselves... especially that Ken! I truly believe that Henning is the voice of reason when those three get together!
So, again, I repeat that we all missed seeing our other partner, Raske. But not always do schedules coincide. Be it known that Raske was sorely missed.
Oh, and you ask how was the show? I kinda got lost in describing the catch-up and not the show. And that was primarily on purpose. For you see, meeting my fraternity of flyfishing friends was the primary reason I came. There are many flyfishing shows throughout the year that have booths and booths of vendors and tyers, but only one caters to the international crowd like no other. Chuck Furimsky's International Fly Tying Symposium is the one event I look forward to each year in meeting my long-lost domestic and international tying friends.
Until next year...
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