National Guard March 2012 : Page 32

134th GENERAL CONFERENCE AND EXHIBITION PREVIEW High Stakes By Richard Arnold ED OR BLACK? Hit or stand? Hold ‘em or fold ‘em? Get your poker face ready as the 2012 annual NGAUS conference returns to a place fi lled with the sensory rush of casinos, a fi tting backdrop for what’s at stake for the National Guard in the months ahead. The Guard hit the jackpot last year with a seat at the table, but the 134th General Conference and Ex-hibition in Reno, Nev., Sept. 9 to 12, perhaps will address even greater risks and rewards: the new defense strategy, proposed budget and force-structure cuts, and a presidential election. The event returns to the Silver State for the fi fth time. It was held in Las 32 R Vegas in 1961, 1980 and 2004, and Reno in 1990. As is customary during an election year, NGAUS will extend invitations to the presidential candidates. President George W. Bush and Sen. John Kerry Potential visits by the candidates is only one of the attractions at this year’s conference in Nevada’s other major gaming destination addressed attendees in 2004. “We are really excited to welcome the conference here to Reno,” says Col. Pete Menicucci, the host-state confer-ence chairman. “It’s an exciting year and Northwest Nevada is beautiful in September.” T HE C ITY In 1852, H.H. Jameson established a trading post to serve pioneers on the Emigrant Trail. In 1859, C.W. Fuller built an inn and toll bridge to service travelers headed from California to the silver mines of Virginia City, Nev. Four years later, he sold his property to Myron Lake, who made enough money from wagon trains to kick start a settlement. On May 13, 1868, the town of Reno, which is named after Civil War Gen. Jesse Reno, was o cially established. Gambling was legalized in the state in 1931. William Harrah opened Harrah’s Club in 1946 and the rest is history. Today, Reno, aka “The Biggest Little City in the World,” attracts more than 5 million visitors annually. It o ers all | N G

High Stakes

Richard Arnold

RED OR BLACK? Hit or stand? Hold ‘em or fold ‘em?<br /> <br /> Get your poker face ready as the 2012 annual NGAUS conference returns to a place filled with the sensory rush of casinos, a fitting backdrop for what’s at stake for the National Guard in the months ahead.<br /> <br /> The Guard hit the jackpot last year with a seat at the table, but the 134th General Conference and Exhibition in Reno, Nev., Sept. 9 to 12, perhaps will address even greater risks and rewards: the new defense strategy, proposed budget and force-structure cuts, and a presidential election.<br /> <br /> The event returns to the Silver State for the fifth time. It was held in LasVegas in 1961, 1980 and 2004, and Reno in 1990.<br /> <br /> As is customary during an election year, NGAUS will extend invitations to the presidential candidates. President George W. Bush and Sen. John Kerry addressed attendees in 2004.<br /> <br /> “We are really excited to welcome the conference here to Reno,” says Col. Pete Menicucci, the host-state conference chairman. “It’s an exciting year and Northwest Nevada is beautiful in September.”<br /> <br /> THE CITY In 1852, H.H. Jameson established a trading post to serve pioneers on the Emigrant Trail. In 1859, C.W. Fuller built an inn and toll bridge to service travelers headed from California to the silver mines of Virginia City, Nev.<br /> <br /> Four years later, he sold his property to Myron Lake, who made enough money from wagon trains to kick start a settlement. On May 13, 1868, the town of Reno, which is named after Civil War Gen. Jesse Reno, was officially established.<br /> <br /> Gambling was legalized in the state in 1931. William Harrah opened Harrah’s Club in 1946 and the rest is history.<br /> <br /> Today, Reno, aka “The Biggest Little City in the World,” attracts more than 5 million visitors annually. It Offers all The diversions of its grown-up sister, Las Vegas, but with an outdoorsy feel.<br /> <br /> A variety of lakes nearby makes it a haven for fishing, swimming and boating. And the Truckee River, which runs through downtown Reno, offers a scenic retreat from the neon and glitter.<br /> <br /> The Conference <br /> <br /> Most visitors will arrive via air at Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO), which is about a 15-minute drive from downtown. Alaska Airlines, American, Continental, Delta, Southwest, United and US Airways offer service to Reno.<br /> <br /> Host-state organizers will provide shuttles to and from conference hotels Sept. 8, 9 and 13. All military aircraft will arrive at the airport, home of the 152nd Airlift Wing.<br /> <br /> Amtrak’s California Zephyr stops in Reno. And Interstate 80 and U.S. 395 converge at the city, making it an easy and scenic drive from several western states.<br /> <br /> Three large casino hotels—Eldorado, Silver Legacy and Circus Circus— on Reno’s main drag are the official conference hotels. The Reno-Sparks Convention Center will house many conference events.<br /> <br /> A shuttle bus service will be provided, as the convention center is located a short drive from downtown Reno and the conference hotels.<br /> <br /> Conference events get started Sept. 8 (a Saturday) with the Sponsors’ Golf Tournament at the Arnold Palmer-designed Dayton Valley Golf Club. The NGAUS Tournament will be played the next day at the Wolf Run and Silver Oak golf courses.<br /> <br /> Be prepared for a little more distance off the tee. At an altitude of more than 4,400 feet, golf balls fly 10 percent farther.<br /> <br /> Other activities Sept. 9 include the Adjutants General Reception at the National Automobile Museum, named one of the 16 best car museums in the world by AutoWeek magazine.<br /> <br /> Also on that evening will be the Company Grade/Warrant Officer Mixer at the Freight House District, a dining and entertainment complex.<br /> <br /> Events begin early Monday, Sept. 10, with the annual 5K Fun Run at 6:30 a.m. The race course loops through hilly Rancho San Raphael, once an early 20th century working ranch that is now one of Reno’s biggest and most popular parks.<br /> <br /> The annual area meetings and caucuses begin at 9 a.m. The trade show ribbon-cutting is set for 10:30 a.m. The business sessions and trade show will be held in adjacent halls, giving attendees easier access to the broad displays of military hardware.<br /> <br /> Officer professional development (OPD) is also scheduled for the morning before the First Business Session begins at noon.<br /> <br /> The Governor’s Reception on Sept. 10 is set for the new Reno Events Center, located two blocks from the conference hotels. The fare includes food and entertainment with a local flair.<br /> <br /> The conference continues on Sept. 11 with the Second Business Session at 8 a.m., followed by luncheons, caucuses, elections, OPD and task force meetings.<br /> <br /> The Spouses Luncheon will be held at the Reno Ballroom. Later that evening is Hospitality Night held in multiple state and territory Hotel suites.<br /> <br /> Rise and shine for the Army and Air separate sessions at 8 a.m., Sept.<br /> <br /> 12. The last of the three business sessions will follow.<br /> <br /> Events conclude with the All States Dinner at the Reno Events Center. The dress code will be what Emily Post calls “dressy casual.” Conference organizers plan to book some local talent to provide post-meal entertainment.<br /> <br /> “And we want to make sure our guests have time to hit the casinos,” says Menicucci<br /> <br /> Beyond The ConferenCe <br /> <br /> Downtown Reno has six blocks of sparkling energy and much can be seen by walking or utilizing the public transit system. Unlimited ride passes are $10 for three days and $15 for five days.<br /> <br /> Start at the conference hotels as each offers its own diversions and more than 20 restaurants, such as the Brew Brothers Microbrewery, Sterling’s Seafood Steakhouse and Smokin’ Gecko’s BBQ.<br /> <br /> “And don’t miss the buffets,” adds Menicucci.<br /> <br /> The Grande Walkway is the second floor promenade that seamlessly connects the three hotels. You’ll find comedians, dueling pianos and other performers, not to mention slot machines by the hundreds, gaming tables and sports betting.<br /> <br /> The Riverwalk Arts District is home to a thriving collection of shops, theaters and galleries. Don’t miss the Sierra Arts Gallery in the Riverside Hotel or the Nevada Museum of Art, which includes a rooftop sculpture garden.<br /> <br /> The Nevada Historical Society is Nevada’s oldest museum. It serves as the repository of much of Nevada’s interesting history. And the Keck Minerals Museum is a must for rockhounds.<br /> <br /> Bowling aficionados should stop by the National Bowling Stadium, dubbed the “TajMajal of Tenpins” by the LosAngeles Times, to visit the world’s largest and most technically advanced bowling center. This six-story building has 80 championship lanes.<br /> <br /> Popular day trips include the 72- mile loop drive around Lake Tahoe or a visit to the historic state capital of Carson City. Or step back in time at Virginia City, a 19th century mecca for silver and gold fortune seekers. All are located less than 40 miles from Reno.<br /> <br /> And be sure to come early or stick around after the conference as two of the city’s biggest annual events are held in September. (Conference room rates will be extended to three days before and after to encourage longer stays).<br /> <br /> The Great Reno Balloon Race, the nation’s largest free hot-air ballooning event, runs from Sept. 7 to 9, above the Rancho San Rafael Regional Park, less than two miles from downtown Reno.<br /> <br /> And the National Championship Air Races and Air Show flies into town Sept. 12 to 16 to showcase the “world’s fastest motorsport” at the Reno Stead Airport.<br /> <br /> Nevada Guard organizers say it’s no gamble that Reno’s attractions will make conference-goers return to the Silver State. And NGAUS plans to roll the dice for a few special guests that will make it a memorable week.<br /> <br /> “Everybody leaves a winner,” says Menicucci.<br /> <br /> Richard Arnold can be reached at (202) 454-5301 or at richard.arnold@ngaus.org.<br /> <br /> Potential visits by the candidates is only one of the attractions at this year’s conference in Nevada’s other major gaming destination<br /> <br /> Registration, Travel, Hotel and Exhibit Information <br /> <br /> Registration <br /> <br /> NGAUS members should register through their state association. Exhibitors and industry representatives must register at www.ngaus-registration.com. The registration fee is $165. This covers all business sessions, coffee breaks, the exhibition, the Governor’s Reception, the Company Grade/Warrant Officer Mixer and the States Dinner. Most other activities are extra.<br /> <br /> Flights <br /> <br /> Attendees should use Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO) with 140 daily flights on seven airlines serving 15 nonstop and 31 same-plane one-stop destinations.<br /> <br /> Ground Transportation <br /> <br /> A free shuttle will be provided to and from the airport on the main travel days, Sept. 8, 9 and 13. Taxis are an option for other days. Average fare is $18.<br /> <br /> Official Hotels<br /> Circus Circus (www.circusreno.com)<br /> (800) 648-5010<br /> El Dorado (www.eldoradoreno.com)<br /> (800) 648-5966<br /> Silver Legacy (www.silverlegacy.com)<br /> (800) 687-8733<br /> <br /> Exhibit Booth Sales <br /> <br /> Exhibitors should contact Laurie Powell, the Technology Forums director of sales, at (703) 740-1940 or via email at Lpowell@GovernmentMeetings.com. A prospectus is available at www.ngausconference.com. <br /> <br /> Online Resources <br /> <br /> The conference website at www.ngausconference.com has the latest information. Learn more about Reno at www.visitrenotahoe.com. And receive e-mail updates about the conference by sending your request, name and contact information to ngaus@ngaus.org.

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