(KE) A while ago I was invited to represent the Pipe Smokers World Association CIPC “Comitè International des Pipe Clubs” at the possibly larges Pipe Show, the Chicago- Pipe-Show 2013 in Saint Charles, and to represent our interests. To follow the wish of the world community of “sporty” pipe smokers, represented by the president of the CIPC Alain Letulier, I agreed to take part and started to plan six private days in down-town Chicago and four working days in Saint Charles, which involved a direct flight from Düsseldorf to Chicago and the booking of hotel room and off we went.
On top of the effort and cost involved, my main aim was to be a worthy representative of the CIPC, but my other wish was to gain international experience for the World Championship of slow smoking to be held in Cologne in 2014. The opportunities to gain international experience are not new to me because over the last 35 years I have taken part at international pipe smoking events, like World and European Championships as well as pipe exhibitions. And to be a member of the well-known institutions, like “Academie International de la Pipe”, the” Confrèrie des Maitre Pipiers de Saint Claude” and the “Comite International des Pipe Clubs” as well as being the President of the Federation of German Pipe Smokers e.V. has helped greatly to gain the necessary “Experience”.
And to add to this was the visit to the Chicago Pipe Show 2013.
On the evening of the arrival at Saint Charles, a Thursday, I was warmly welcomed by Doc Michael Garr, the Chairman of the American Pipe-Smokers Federation UPCA “United Pipe Clubs of America” and was made familiar with the procedures and timings of the event. Friday would be the main arrival day of exhibitors. When I asked how many exhibitors would attend I was told that 300 were listed, but based on the many applicants received, there was a waiting list for exhibition space. A look into the still empty exhibition hall being prepared gave you a clue as to the magnitude of the exhibition. In the corridors of the hotel I already noticed lively activities. Prior to the Pipe Show I noticed that smokers from around the world were already actively using their hotel rooms as sales rooms. The main body of interested prospective customers came from the far East and Asia. You were allowed to smoke, but only in the special setup, very large tent. Otherwise everywhere in the golf compound and hotel “Pheasant Run Resort and Spa” complex was a strict “NO Smoking” rule. This also applied to the possibly largest World Pipe Show, which opened Saturday. As it continuously rained outside, this made a comfortable smoking outside impossible and therefore the “smokers” tent was welcomed.
At 3pm on Friday my first official duties as representative of the CIPC started, i.e. the participation of the main annual meeting of the American Pipe Smokers Convention UPCA. I was warmly welcomed as a friend. Today I believe even more that pipe smokers throughout the world, based on their “Hobbies”, are linked in friendship and just get on well. After the delegates of the American Pipe Smokers´ Clubs had introduced themselves, it was my turn. Naturally my subject was to talk about the work of the CIPC and the customs of the pipe smokers in Germany and other European countries and answer questions raised by the delegates. After this I had a little time until the welcome dinner in the great hall at 7 pm. I was warmly welcomed by Craig Cobine, the Show Director, and Frank Burla, the founder of the Chicago-Pipe-Show and was invited to sit at the VIP table. After two speakers it did not take long for me to give a welcoming speech in front of probably thousand participants. The president of the American Confederation had previously asked me whether I would be prepared to give a speech. Luckily I had prepared myself for this and was therefore able to follow his request. My speech in English (which had been kindly translated into perfect English by a family friend) was about the welcome of the attendants, the greeting of the President of the CIPC, the situation of pipe smokers in Germany generally, an invitation to the World Championship of slow smoking Club Teams taking place in Poznan, Poland, in October, as well as an invitation to the World Championship taking place in Cologne next year.
I received plenty of praise from all sides and was now well-known to many and pipe smokers from around the world talked to me. What an exhilarating feeling! This was followed by a wonderful evening in the company of friends and a good pipe and an even better pipe tobacco.
On Saturday morning the Chicago Pipe Show 2013 was opened and several thousand visitors, exhibitors and customers streamed into the hall. Colleagues of the UPCA had reserved a table for two days next to theirs. For this purpose I had taken along plenty of information material, i.e. flyers of the CIPC, the Polish World Cup in Poznan and the World Championship taking place in Cologne in 2014. We tested tobacco “CLUB TABAK ROT” with Latakia from Club Market, from the House of Planta Berlin, on interested visitors, which is available from Peter Heinrich´s shop in Cologne. The remaining info material was handed out on Sunday. While doing this I noticed that products of German manufacturers as well as tobacco from Peter Heinrich and articles from the house of Denicotea were on offer by several exhibitors, of which I was very pleased. With hindsight I can say that info material handed out is one of the best ways to really get in touch with almost all exhibitors, talk to them and exchange personal thoughts. The time spent in Saint Charles was far too short and was over too quickly.
A special mention is of the International American Championship of slow pipe smoking that took place in the smokers´ tent on Sunday at which 70 pipe smokers – men and females - took place. The winning time was almost two hours, similar to our German winning times. My own winning time was in the middle and for this I was given an engraved competition pipe. It is a nice American practice that the American Master in this event will be asked to participate in all of the large international pipe smoking events in Europe, like the one taking place in Poland this year and the World Championship taking place in Germany the following year.
However, on Sunday evening it was time to say our good byes to new friends, friends from home we met again and from the place of the Chicago Pipe Show 2013. This pipe show will remain with me as an unforgettable event and I want to say to all the people involved a very heartfelt thank you for everything and hope to see you again. After my arrival back at home my first visit was to the House of Thousand Pipes and to tell everybody of the wonderful experience I had.
After the many, and for me new, experiences I am looking forward to the World Championship of slow smoking even more so next year in Cologne.
Until then there will be lots to prepare and to do for the "The Pipeclub of Cologne" “De Pief es uss” (loosely translated “The Pipe is out”) founded 1979.
For today all the best and stay interested
Relax with your pipe
© Kurt Eggemann, translation by Elke Franklin