Fridays tend to be rough, and this one is no different. I spend the whole day walking around a massive warehouse and studying new manufacturing techniques. I make copious notes about the complexities of laser cutting steel and welding aluminum. Then, after a long day of courting new clients in an uncomfortable environment, I’m thrilled to jump in my truck, grab dinner, and head to what I was really looking forward to all day.
On the West side of Houston, not far from The Galleria is a small strip center called Briargrove. In that strip center is a 4800 sq/ft wonderful place by the name of Stogies World Class Cigars. Founded in 1995, and due to double in size shortly, Stogies is the host of the Houston pipe club. I suggest to owner Jorge Ahued that it’s obvious pipes must have been his first love given that he settled in a place called Briargrove, but he insists the idea had never even occurred to him.
When Kevin was invited by Matt Guss to be the Keynote Speaker at the 2015 Seattle Pipe Club Annual Dinner, he was truly honored. The Seattle Pipe Club is one of the largest in the country with 340 members. Kevin was so excited that he called me from the Chicago Pipe Show to tell me that we were going to Seattle in January.
January seemed a long way off from May at that time. In the meantime, I have since learned to smoke a pipe, by only the best of course, but am still considered a newbie at the hobby (I still have a hard time lighting a pipe and of course keeping it lit—kind of important). Kevin thought it would be fun to hear my version of The Seattle Pipe Club Annual Dinner and asked me to write this article. I plan to chronologically tell you about some of our Seattle experiences that led up to the main event and then provide my version of the day of the dinner in full detail.
Marshall "Butch" Armstrong
The sun is shining, the temperature is 10° F/-13° C, the roads are covered with snow and the lakes are frozen over. It’s winter in Minnesota and I am headed to St. Paul for the Great Northern Pipe Club’s monthly meeting. (I like the name. It reminds me of the "Great Northern Railroad" which was started by James J. Hill who lived in St Paul. You can tour his mansion here.) I’ve been thinking about going for quite a while now but St. Paul is over 50 miles from where I live so I haven’t done it yet. Well, it’s finally time. My friend Ted, of "Vig Guitars," also in St. Paul, invited me up, so here I go. The Great Northern Pipe Club meets on the third Sunday of the month at the Golden Leaf Tobacco shop on West 7th street near downtown St. Paul, and the meetings are open to everyone. It took about 50 minutes to get there and another ten to find a place to park that I didn’t have to pay for. The Minnesota Wild hockey team are playing at home today so the streets are filled. The wind is up and it’s cold out here.
About a month ago my family (and all but the mouthpiece of one of my pipes??) moved to one of the biggest cities on earth. A city-state in Western China called Chongqing, referred to locally as the Mountain City, or the Fog Capital. Chongqing, like most of China, has its’ share of juxtapositions to make the untrained Westerner tilt his head and wonder. Extreme poverty next to opulent wealth, or street sweepers in suits, trash truck drivers in heels, etc… Yet, as many of you may know firsthand, one of the beauties of our hobby is the way it has an ability to bring people together who might otherwise have nothing in common.
By Bill Unger
Founded in 1993, The North American Society of Pipe Collectors (NASPC) has since grown to over 1,000 members in almost every state of the Union, Canada, and many countries overseas. I am Bill Unger, NASPC’s treasurer and editor of its newsletter, The Pipe Collector (TPC).
TPC offers members interesting and readable articles on any and all aspects of pipes and tobaccos. I am particularly interested in offering as many new people as possible the opportunity to see their names in print and to be read. All TPC submissions-technical articles, personal essays, profiles, fiction, tobacco reviews, what have you-are written by the members. These are not just “posts” like you find on many pipe websites or chat forums. These are real articles, whether long or short, that you can sink your teeth into.
By Bob Tate & Jeremiah Dreier
A new millennium had just been born, and had barely gotten its legs under it, when three pipe smokers who had met on the internet collaborated and decided to start a club.
The year? 2000
The three pipe smokers? Matt Guss, Gary B. Schrier, and Ron Butler
The club? The Seattle Pipe Club (SPC)
They started working on the club details in late 2000 and had their first meeting in January of 2001. This was the dawn of a new century and millennium for everyone in the world, but it was the dawn of a new era for pipe smokers in the Seattle, Washington area.
By Bob Tate
The New York Pipe Club (NYPC) was established in the early 1980’s and currently has around 200 members. Over the years they have had many different presidents such as Sailorman Jack, David Siegel, and Vernon Vig to name but a few. The current president, Lou Carbone sat down with PipesMagazine.com’s Bob Tate for a chat to find out more about the pipe club in America’s largest city.
The NYPC currently meets once a month on the second Tuesday of each month. Over the years, the club has had many different meeting places for their monthly meetings. As most of you may know, it is becoming increasingly hard to find smoker friendly establishments where they can host the meetings. Unfortunately, this is not something new to the NYPC. They have had difficulties finding and keeping a meeting place pretty much since its inception. And now with all of the current smoking bans in New York, it makes this task that much more difficult.
The United Pipe Clubs of America is putting out a call to all pipe clubs; old, new, and as yet to be conceived.
If your pipe club is not a member of the UPCA, you can now join for FREE for the first year.1. It was decided in yesterday’s Executive Committee meeting that new pipe clubs joining the UPCA will have no dues for the first year. According to UPCA President, Vernon Vig; "Increasing our membership is more important than the amount of money in our bank account. Our priority is not fundraising, but rather increasing memberships and promoting pipe clubs". Increasing membership of the UPCA helps support all pipe clubs while also sustaining the growth of the pipe hobby.
No Club in Your Area?
If there is no club in your area, and you want to start one, the UPCA can help. Here is a great article to get you started, "Starting Your Own Pipe Club", By Steve Fallon.
Every year, since 2003, the United Pipe Clubs of America (UPCA) hosts the annual U.S. National Slow Smoking Championships at the Chicago Pipe Show. This year it was held on Sunday May 15, 2011 which was the last day of the show. Slow smoking contests are where contenders get together and see who can smoke their pipe the longest with only one light, using two matches.
Once your pipe goes out, you are out of the contest. The last person smoking is the winner and declared the U.S. Champion. This year’s winner was Mike “Doc” Garr with a smoking time of 1-hour, 20-minutes and 22-seconds. Mike will be representing the U.S.A. at the World Cup competition which will be held in the Netherlands in October. (Mike is also the President of the Pocono Intermountain Pipe Enthusiasts (PIPE), and Vice President of the UPCA.)
The Seattle Pipe Club held their 10th Anniversary Dinner on January 29, 2011, and PipesMagazine.com’s Publisher, Kevin Godbee, was there to cover the gala event.
Highlights of the evening were legendary VIP guest speaker Clive Dunhill who flew in all the way from London. (There were other guests, including the author, that flew in from across the country, including members from the NY Pipe Club.) The event included the traditional “Lighting of the Clay Ceremony”, gourmet food, silent auction, live auction, speeches and awards. Mr. Dunhill made a fantastic presentation that was extremely entertaining, and which we have video footage of included here.
The Seattle Pipe Club is one of the largest, most active, and well-funded of all the pipe clubs across the nation. Although, they do not put on their own annual pipe show, like some of the other clubs do, you can usually find their members at all of the pipe shows in every part of the country. They are quite active in the hobby nationwide. They celebrated their annual dinner & auction on Saturday January 29th at Smokey Joe’s Cigar Lounge in Fife, WA.