The Grandest Hall of All

The Grandest Hall of All

The IPMBA Exhibit Hall is always a sight to behold.  Brightly colored draping provides the backdrop for gleaming bikes, blinking lights, reflective clothing, and more.  In a typical hotel ballroom or exhibit hall, the room pales in comparison to the wares.  In Indianapolis, however, it is safe to say that the hall itself outshone even the brightest lights.  Not only was it a grand hall, it was the Grand Hall.

In 1847, the Madison & Indianapolis Railroad reached Indianapolis.  As other rail lines followed, connections became complicated, so in 1849, Union Railway Company laid tracks to connect them and built a large train shed – America’s first Union Station.  As the town grew in size and importance, the city leaders felt it important to construct a more fitting station.  In 1886, architect Thomas Rodd was hired to build a main office and waiting hall, known as a head house.    

He designed an impressive building in the Richardsonian Romanesque style, with stone walls, a slate roof, and a massive clock tower.  The doors opened into a palatial hall housing the ticket windows,   a waiting area, and the railroad offices.   Known now as the Grand Hall, it is marked with distinctive arches and columns, and features a stained glass barrel ceiling and two 20-foot leaded stained glass cartwheel windows.

It was this grand edifice that housed the exhibit hall, so it was no surprise that attendees felt compelled to look up first when entering rather than at the vendors.  After the initial awe wore off, though, it was business as usual.  IPMBA sponsored the Opening Reception on Wednesday night and on Thursday, Mocean and United Uniform teamed up to provide attendees with a buffet worthy of the room.  The instructor cadre looked classy, too, outfitted in Mocean shirts, Olympic shorts, and United jackets.  Not to be outdone, Bratwear provided the IMPD host committee and volunteers with brilliant orange shirts dubbed “OHSA Orange” by Mitch Trujillo.

Volcanic Bicycles kept their visibility high with a sponsorship that encompassed the Police Cyclist Course, the Slow Speed Skills workshop, and the competition.  Their conference logo mugs were a huge hit, and so was the bike frame donated for the Silent Auction.  There’s one more Volcanic in Bethlehem, thanks to Jon Pesesko!

Other suppliers deserving of recognition for their support of the conference include Bike Medicine, for their contribution of lubes and cleaners; R&B Fabrications, for the practical and roomy conference bags; Police Bike Store, Rite in the Rain, Safetec, Cygnus Publications, and Police magazine for filling the bags; and Kryptonite, whose lanyards were, coincidentally, “OHSA Orange!”  Kryptonite also sponsored the Tackling Bike Theft workshop conducted by Liz Bouchard and Steve Forbes.  Eric Anastasia demonstrated proper locking techniques and provided useful tips for preventing bike theft.   Andy Paradowski and Ed Breslau of Hayes Bicycle Group conducted the very well-received Manitou Suspension Tech and Hayes Disc Brake clinics.

IPMBA welcomed several first-time vendors to the conference: Circle City Bicycles, Endura Sport, Firehouse Decals and More, First Light USA, Hayes Bicycle Group, Seavival, and Tactical Wear Online.   They were quickly made to feel at home.

Finally, the Third Annual Product Showcase and Silent Auction, coordinated by Ron Burkitt and Bob Hatcher, raised more than $2500 to benefit IPMBA’s training programs.   One of the most sought after items was not a bike...it was a bear.  Not just any bear, though; this was a limited edition, handmade Bobby Bear, the first bear given permission to wear the uniform of the London’s Metropolitan Police Service.  Bobby, who comes with a carrying bag resplendently embroidered with the emblem of the Met Police, was donated by Charlie Irvine and went home with Kurt Feavel.  

Many thanks to all Silent Auction contributors, and of course, purchasers!  Contributors to the Silent Auction included: Albuquerque Police Department, Bike Tac, Brake Director, Bratwear, Cane Creek, Cateye, ELHN Badge Design, John E. Reid, Gatorz, Grove Tools, Tommy Hamelink, John Hanke, IMBA, Jones & Bartlett, Kryptonite, Leonard Consulting Group, Louka Tactical, Maxit, Mocean, Olympic, R&B Fabrications, Rodon Corporation, Rudy Project, Secure Sports ID, Tactical Wear Online, Volcanic Bicycles, and WTB.

IPMBA appreciates the support of industry members at all levels – exhibitors, sponsors, advertisers, etc.  Please support those who support you by patronizing IPMBA’s industry partners whenever possible.

(c) 2008 IPMBA.  This article appeared in the Summer 2008 issue of IPMBA News.

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