"Slag Happens"

Greg's Report

The Cybertronian Conference of 2007, The Unofficial Pacific Northwest Transformers Collectors Convention, took place at the King Oscar Convention Center on July 14th, 2007. There were 8 dealers covering more than 12 table spaces, and over 80 attendees total. Click here for the photo gallery.

Iím not sure why I tried, Ďcus I knew I wouldnít be able to, but I barely slept the night before CybCon. It took forever for me to get to sleep, I woke up multiple times throughout the night, and I was wide awake at the crack of dawn on Saturday, hours before my alarm was to wake me to get going. I lay there in the morning, telling myself I need more sleep, but I ultimately gave up and got ready. I had already packed the van the night before with drinks, and other things. Pizza was to be delivered, but I was supplying the beverages, so I had those cooling with a couple bags of ice all over them in the big cooler and little cooler. Since I had very little to gather before leaving, and I was up so early, I hopped on the computer and checked e-mail. It was a good thing I did, too, as Allenís artwork had arrived in the wee hours of the morning while I was tossiní and turniní. I decided to make two photo quality prints, one to go with the exclusive figure itself in open auction, and another went in silent auction along with a great piece of art Zobovor did for a work of fan fiction Richard printed up a few copies of.

CybCon wouldnít be the same if I was there before everyone else, and 2007 was no exception. Joe Larson, one of our longest running dealers, is always there early because he comes up from Portland, but he was out having breakfast when I arrived. The McCrackenís, however, were raring to go, and happy to pitch in as needed to get things properly arranged for the dealers to set up. I had made a map of the room, more or less to scale, where I wanted each table, and where each dealer would go. We only had to move a few tables to get things exactly how I had planned it to be, which was short work with both Richardís and Leeís help, who had both shown up by the time I came back out of the hall after going in and checking things out when I got there.

With the tables arranged appropriately, we told the dealers where to set up as they arrived, and the hall began to fill. Richard set up his table and the auction/raffle stuff as I ran around tweaking things and helping people. Mike Myers came through with the projector again, so I didnít need to bring in the little TV/VCR thing I had just in case. I hooked up my mic and piped some music from my Treo while things were getting set up. I was inside so much I didnít even know people were congregating outside already. I popped out and said hi for a couple minutes before disappearing back inside to make sure everything was running smoothly.

Poor JoeÖ Joe was having breakfast with his wife in a nearby restaurant when I arrived. He saw me get there, but it took them another half hour to get their check and get the waitress to take their money. He didnít get into the hall until about 9:30, and had more than an hour of setting up to do. Next year weíll make sure he can get in nice and early to set up, and stay nice and late to break down. I might just see about extending the show hours at that rate, if it doesnít adversely affect the rental costs. I have plenty of activities to fill the time. Joe wasnít done setting up until the first wave of people were already in the hall.

10am rolled around. I made sure Zeatha was good to go and I opened the doors. Despite having more pre-regs this year than last, and certainly more that paid in advance, there was less of a line up than last year at this time. I can only guess it was because there wasnít a pile of CybCon exclusives to go to the first that came through the door. This year, there was only ONE. A single figure sculpted by Zobovor, which was an homage to the Transformers comic Issue #3 cover, also commemorating two of this yearís blockbuster movies, The Transformers and Spider Man 3. The figure was of Megatron being wrapped in web by the black-suited Spider Man. We also had a wonderful piece of art by Rev. Allen Greenwood, who has done CybCon art for a couple years now, that was printed to go with the figure, which was his interpretation of the art from that comic book cover. The set was auctioned off in the afternoon, open auction style.

As people came in, they perused the silent auction items, the open auction items, and checked out the dealers. This was probably about the most free time I had all day, so I managed to take a look at some of the dealers offerings myself, and greet a few people as they arrived. Time flies when youíre having fun, of course, and before I knew it, it was 10:30, so we decided to do a quick raffle.

Richard donated some of his unwanted toys to raffle, as well as some cheap things he picked up at Half Price books. There were other donations as well for raffle, silent auction, and open auction. While we didnít have a pile of CybCon exclusive toys to sell/give away, we did get quite a pile of freebies. Kevin Hurd contacted Paramount marketing people and managed to score a couple stacks of mini-posters and plastic cups. There were enough of those that everyone could take as many as they wanted, which was really cool. Last year he got posters and a few shirts, too.

The day was so packed with activities that much of it was a blur to me. I made several announcements reminding people to sign up for any contests they wanted to take part in. The first contest to take place was the Toy Transforming Contest for kids. The Adult contest would take place in the afternoon, when our previous champion would be arriving late. :) I called the first contestants and explained the rules and gave them time to peruse the instructions for the toy. I repeated this process several times, calling kids back when the next round had come up, and seeing their sad faces when they were defeated. I hate that part. :( We had a newcomer this year that swept the competition but finally met his match in the end, claiming second place. The top two contestants both took home a prize.

It wasnít long after the kid Transforming contest was over that it was approaching noon, and the pizza was to come soon. I got a call on my cell from the delivery driver who wasnít sure he was in the right place or not. The way he described it, he was out near the main street, so I went out to wave my hand so he could see me back at the convention center. I waved for a few seconds then noticed movement and saw the guy in his car right there in front of the convention center entrance. Turns out he was in the right place after all. Fortunately, this year I planned ahead and had tables ready for the food to be set upon by the time the pizza came. As the delivery guy brought in the stacks of hot pizza, I stacked them on the table according to type. My lovely wife had gone out to Costco shortly before hand to pick up trays of sandwiches for those who didnít want pizza, and we had the lunch line all ready to go in just a few minutes. I made the announcement and the feeding frenzy began. Ok, it wasnít very frenzied. People lined up in an orderly fashion and waited their turn with patience. I love Cybconners. :) Last yearís lack of napkins and utensils was NOT repeated, as I had them on my packing list and made sure to have lots to spare, and there were no complaints. I even had knives for each stack of pizza to help people separate the slices as needed.

Lunch went down without a hitch, and soon it was time for some more raffling, contests, and fun! Richardís table was doing well, and he managed to sell just about everything he had on offer. The silent auction was chugging along with a few bids on the more interesting or good value items, such as a hefty pile of Transformers Attacktix figures. The real prizes were the items up for open auction. This included the one and only CybCon exclusive figure by Zobovor, a bagged set of BotCon 2007 exclusives Huffer and Springer, a Transformers movie cup signed by Peter Cullen and the two movie writers, and later that day when the Nguyens showed up, who had donated the last two items in that list there, a bagged set of BotCon Exclusives Alpha Trion and Weirdwolf. These all went for quite respectable sums of money, but the funniest part was when Heidi, who had gotten those BotCon things specifically to donate for CybCon auctions, bid the highest on the Transformers movie cup with the signatures! She donated them to help make sure CybCon would continue (i.e. I donít lose too much money putting it on), and helped ensure that by bidding up the cup until she won.

As the day wore on, I did my best to make sure all the activities were running smoothly and people were having fun. Thatís why I do this, after all. Itís hard, though. I think next year Iíll enlist someoneís help specifically to run the contests throughout the day. I didnít get nearly the number of photographs or video that Steve was able to capture for me last year, because I had so many other things to do. Iíll probably ask someone to help with that as well. The hard part about being a helper like that is that you donít get nearly as much time to check out the dealers and hang out with people.

The biggest challenges for the games was to get people to sign up and play the board games. Not many had interest, and since they took so long to play, we had to make sure people were playing them throughout the day. I also had to have some contests running simultaneously, and when a person was signed up for both of them, we had to juggle contestants or postpone a match. Iíd also have to take breaks every half hour for a raffle or an auction or something.

The trivia contest was a challenge again. The adults knew the basics fairly well, and no matter how random I tried to be, I seemed to always end up asking similar questions each year. The kid contest was hard because most of the kids knew mainly the recent seriesí of Transformers, which my trivia database was very weak on. I ended up giving each kid questions from their preferred generation of TFs, rather than forcing them each to answer questions from the same generation in turn. Iím really going to need to find some new trivia questions for next year, preferably with the movie and cartoon as large portions of the questions.

The BW:TM video game tournament went well enough, though. Each round was played in good fun and sportsmanship, with a lot of close matches, and a few shut-outs. Whenever I was able to watch, it was great. The players even helped me keep track of who won and lost each round.

Time came for the silent auction closing, and then the open auction. A lot of people got really good deals on the silent auction things. As I mention earlier, the open auction items did well enough, helping me to come close to breaking even on the event. I appreciate the donations from everyone, from the smallest raffle item to the biggest auction item.

The day drew to a close with happy smiling faces thanking me for doing CybCon again. People took home their loot and the dealers began packing up their wares. I made a final announcement reminding everyone that those who wanted to see the movie (again ;-) that evening, that we were going to the 7:10 showing at the theater across the freeway. Alas, things did not go as planned. Joe, with his 3 table setup and complicated backdrop shelving wasnít out of there until 7:30. By the time my wife and kids got to the theater (they went ahead of me), the 7:10 showing was sold out, and we got tickets for the 7:40 showing. I almost didnít make it there, but a couple other people were still there to the last, and helped Joe get his stuff packed and out the door so that I could leave. This is why next year weíll plan for longer setup and takedown times.

Overall it was a great day, and I look forward to CybCon 2008. Some plans are already in the works!

Richard's Report


A week has gone by since CybCon '07 and it was a good time (except for my bout of acid reflux at 3:30 the morning before - ugh). We topped out at about 75 attendees, which I believe is an all-time high. We had 98 pre-registered and 71 of those pre-paid. That's two more records. There was plenty to do for everyone too. We had eight dealers, counting myself (I did well, though i got skunked on one deal I was trying to work out) and ended up with my smallest 'Con haul yet. I walked away with WST Snarl and Grimlock, the Sam's Club movie deluxe 3-pack, and a huge Jazz banner from a car dealership (Thank you so much, Charlie!!!).

With the amount of people came a few problems. I ended up having to man the auction/raffle prize table most of the time as some people like to man-handle things that aren't theirs (yet), especially five young boys who apparently have no concept of manners or common courtesy. This cause me to trip over the ill-placed extension cord for the PS2, thus unplugging it. Thankfully, that didn't adversly affect anything as the Transmetals tournament wasn't going on at those times.

Greg was the busiest (outside of Joe from Portland who was mobbed from start to finish despite the best efforts of Caroline, Don, and Fred) with running all the contests. How he managed to take pictures and film video on top of all that is beyond me.

Our exclusive, the Megatron Versus Spider-Man PVC set kitbashed by Zobovor with accompanying artwork by Rev. Allen G and a fanfiction story by Zobovor that bridges the gap between the 1986 movie and "Five Faces of Darkness" went to Liam, the young man who has been coming to the show since it first moved out of Greg's house. His father, Charlie, brought the Jazz banner he gave to me along with a huge Bumblebee poster and some Ratchet standees. The standees were raffled off with at least one traded afterwards to Caroline (she really wanted it too, so that was great).

We were going to see the movie again after the show, but my Brother-In-Law David, his wife Shelly, and their daughter Emily came up the night before, so we hung out with them after the show. They were nice enough to score me some Wal-Mart Transformers movie signage including a huge Prime poster, a Ratchet image, and some logo strips.

So, all-in-all, it was a good day. And it looks like we may have more help next year so maybe Greg can hopefully take a break.