Updated January 19, 2022 - 6:26 am
Tools as small as trowels and as large as concrete pump trucks are on display in Las Vegas as the annual World of Concrete trade show returns for the second time in seven months.
The construction trade show began Tuesday and runs through Thursday at the Las Vegas Convention Center. It also included educational sessions that began Monday.
Organizers expect attendance to exceed that of the 2021 show, held in June, and be closer to numbers seen at pre-pandemic events.
SpitzLift, a manufacturer of lightweight portable cranes, exhibited at last year’s show, according to Nicholette Spitsbergen, director of business relations.
She said the summer event was slow but noted the first day of this year’s World of Concrete was more promising.
“We were happily surprised,” Spitsbergen said. “The show has started out with the way it has been. It’s been steadily busy, so it’s been good for us.”
More than 60,000 contractors, managers and distributors in the concrete industry normally attend the annual show in January. The show’s organizers estimated on its website that about 1,000 exhibitors are taking part in this week’s show.
Last year, the show kicked off pandemic-era conventions when it was rescheduled to take place in June. It became the first large trade show to use the convention center’s new West Hall and underground people-mover system by the Boring Co.
This year’s event appears to be shaping up to outpace the 2021 version.
“Leading up to the event, there have been only a few small cancellations from participating manufacturers with very minimal impact,” Steven Pomerantz, senior marketing manager for organizer Informa Exhibitions, said in an email before the show’s opening. “Attendee registration is pacing at a rate of double that of the last event held in June and is on track with events traded prior to the pandemic, underscoring the mission-critical need industry connection.”
Organizers say they are following local health guidelines, including Nevada’s mask mandate in public spaces regardless of vaccination status. They have also reminded attendees and exhibitors that the rule applies to indoor spaces, including casinos, meeting spaces and hospitality venues.
The pandemic has not discouraged some new companies from attending. Australian boot brand Blundstone held its first exhibit at World of Concrete. The company makes rubber work and steel-toe boots, but its casual Chelsea boots are more popular in the U.S.
Work and safety sales manager Fernando Nazco said Blundstone chose this convention to break into the U.S. work and safety market.
“Everyone else in the world, it’s the opposite,” Nazco said. “But here, we’re known for our leisure products. It’s a good way to capitalize on the success of the leisure (boots) in the U.S.”
The show continues Wednesday morning with one of its major draws: Masonry Madness. The outdoor event features four masonry competitions with prizes that include cash, a Ford F-250 truck and a Kubota XL1140 utility vehicle.
The highlight of the competition, the Spec Mix Bricklayer 500, pits 23 teams of masons and their tenders against each other to build the best and largest 26-foot-long brick wall with the fewest errors. This year’s bricklayer event marks its 20th anniversary.
McKenna Ross is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @mckenna_ross_ on Twitter.