Back from the Western States Horse Expo

Rick and I just got back from exhibiting at the 2011 Western States Horse Expo in Sacramento, California.  Even with a lot of caution around EHV-1 there was still good attendance with visitors from Oregon and Nevada in addition to CA.  We got to meet with many customers- both current and prospective, and gave out tons of ribbons, making kids smile with a Clean Pony Award or blue rosette.
 

Besides manning the booth we got to check out demonstrations (like Cowboy Mounted Shooting)  and lessons by clinicians, including well-known horseman John Lyons, former Olympic dressage rider Charlotte Bredahl, hunter-jumper trainer Nick Karazissis Jr., and competitive trail champion Mark Bolender.

Here are a few photos:

Rick with Sydney of the California State Horsemen's Association, and a flat of freshly picked fruit (yum)

Clinician Mark Bolender and his horse Checkers negotiate the log pile (bridleless!)

The Art Show awarded Chatham Rosettes to winners in photography, sculpting, drawing, painting and more

 

A new member of the Hodges family

Bella, in one of her rare quieter moments

Two weeks ago, the non-human portion of the Hodges family grew a little larger when Hodges Badge Company’s President, Rick Hodges, and his wife Jenn, adopted Bella, a six-month-old yellow lab.  While not a rescue in the truest sense, Bella was taken in from friends of the family that were not going to be able to care for her.

McKell, our other office canine, has been busy showing her little (but already larger) sister all the best play spots around the office.    So if you happen to be on the phone with Customer Service and hear a squeaky noise (or a big WOOF) in the background, know that you’re not hearing things.

While Hodges may be best known for our horse show awards, I think it’s safe to say we really do have a soft spot for dogs, and an affinity to anyone identifying as a ‘dog person.’

Super Spellers

2011 winner Sukanya Roy hoists the trophy

So I have a confession to make.  Last night, instead of watching the NBA finals (or more reality TV), I was glued to ESPN watching the 2011 Scripps National Spelling Bee.  No, Hodges Badge Company didn’t sponsor the shiny gold trophy.  I was just amazed at the abilities of ten to fourteen-year-olds to decipher or recall the spellings of words you don’t come across unless you read the entire dictionary (which the winner did, twice).

Watching the ‘final five’ knock out 21 words in a row, including “caciocavallo”, “völkerwanderung”, “abhinaya”, and others that were difficult to pronounce, let alone spell, I started thinking about my job.   Tell people you work for an awards company and often times you’ll hear the argument about how “everyone gets a trophy” and “kids don’t value hard work when they get awards for just participating.” 

Well, at the Bee, they weren’t handing out trophies to all the finalists or runners-up.  But if you saw what those kids were able to do in front of the TV cameras, you’d probably want to hand them all blue ribbons.  Because sometimes, you don’t have to finish on top of the pack to have accomplished something.

Meet our Customer Service Reps- Part XI

We’re back with another opportunity to get to know our Customer Service Reps.  This time we spoke with Donna, who began working for us last summer.  While she may be relatively new to the Customer Service department, she actually has previous experience working for Hodges Badge Company, as she spent time in our Rhode Island factory as our Shipping Supervisor in the ’90s. 

Now that she spends more time taking calls, Donna shared how interesting it is to talk with people from all over the country, and how much there is to learn about the different type of competitions our awards are a part of. 

When I asked her what customer service means to her, she noted how important it is to make the customer comfortable.  This means being yourself on the phone in order to provide service on a personal level. 

Originally from Fall River, Massachusetts, Donna is a super busy mom to three kids- ages 11, 10 and 6.  When she gets a spare moment, she loves reading, running, and spending time outdoors.

A Little Story about our Cookie Cutters

So if you browsed carefully through our 2011 Dog Show Awards Catalog, you may have noticed we slipped a few new non-traditional prizes into the mix.  In addition to our obedience and agility frames, silver, and new whistles, are a selection of dog-themed cookie cutters.  And keeping with the tradition of our equestrian cookie cutters, the shapes come with a cookie recipe.

McKell, posing in between cookies

Anyone who looks for recipes online knows there are plenty of dog cookie recipes to choose from.  Do you want to use liver, bacon, cheese, jerky bits, yogurt, peanut butter, or another central ingredient?  Well, to make sure the recipe was simple enough, and would get your dog salivating, we had to test the recipes.  Our President Volunteer Baker Rick Hodges was happy to test them out on McKell, our company dog-in-residence.

It turns out the yogurt recipe burned too easily, and the bacon recipe didn’t look too good after it sat in the jar for two days.  Rick said that there was no way he was putting raw liver into his blender!  So we stuck with the dog-approved classic peanut butter.  While McKell “really would rather just lick peanut butter straight from the jar,” apparently she thinks the cookies are pretty good too.

We’re Having a Rosette Sale- 3W is Back!

Great news!  Back by popular request, our three-streamer rosettes with white center streamers (3W) are now on sale through June 17th.  That means you can order the Ideal 3W, Empire 3W, and new to the sale, the Beauty 3W at a significant savings.

These are our classic rosettes with a design twist to help you save.  They feature a white gold rim center with any stock logo, and a white center streamer with customized gold print.  With these special rosettes, the side streamer colors denote placings while the center streamer stays constant to enable the savings.

In a hurry?  Rush orders can still take advantage of this offer. 

Have a question? Leave a comment, send an email to info@hodgesbadge.com, or call Customer service at 800-556-2440.

Made in the U.S.A.

During the evening in March and earlier in April, those of you that tune in to watch ABC World News may have caught a clip from a series of segments on American manufacturing, called Made in America.  Being an American manufacturer, the series caught our eye. 

It was particularly interesting to watch the news crew empty a family’s house of everything made in a foreign country (there was almost nothing left!), and then redecorate with all American products.

Want more information on buying American?  Take a quiz to see if you can correctly identify the brands still made in America.  In addition,  ABC has put together this list of online resources to guide you to American suppliers. 

Lastly, we know there’s still a good bit of time before Memorial Day and the 4th of July, but wouldn’t it be nice to know that your red, white and blue, patriotic ribbons were actually made in America?