For many golfers the big stick is the cigar, and in the Rocky Mountain Area, golfers flocked to the Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival to see the latest cigars, gadgets, local & national libations, fly fishing, exotic cars and have comradery with other stogie aficionados. Estimates are that 5% of the population smokes premium cigars.
Started in 2009 by Smoker Friendly, a group of tobacco and cigar stores, the event has grown from 600 attendees to over 2000 this year. Held at the Omni Hotel and Resort in Broomfield, Colorado on August 23rd, the event had to move from its previous venue at the Harvest House to accommodate the increase in attendees and vendors. "The number of women attending the event has steadily increased each year" according to Joe Liggett of Smoker Friendly.
Options for the stogie bunch ranged from a simple social ticket up to VIP passes which included special food, drinks, cigars and lounge areas. Golfers attending used this event to stock up on cigars, learn about new options, and even contribute to charity. The depth and breath of the vendors definitely was a draw with something for every level of linkster no matter what their taste or price range in cigars or lifestyle options.
Gurkha cigars, established in 1887, has the trademark of the being the most expensive cigar in the world. Demoed at the RMCF was the Ghost, a medium bodied cigar, which will come in a sleek black box, featuring a special laser-etched holographic foil on the band, which has not been used before in the cigar industry. Bianca Melone, marketing manager for Gurkha noted with the potential involvement of the FDA in the cigar business, many brands were moving to the $7-12 price point to counter potential taxes and regulations.
On the other end of the scale, Smoker Friendly has their own value line known as the "Big Pig." At $3.50 retail, it even has a curly cue tail like it's bacon brother.
Daniel Marshall, is a former surfer who by chance started building humidors instead of boats and surfboards. Used by U.S. Presidents as gifts to other heads of state, his humidors are considered the ultra-bling humidor as evidenced by the likes of George Burns, Al Pacino and Brando as owners. Marshall is the first to have gold-wrapped cigar that leaves a gold ash. Uber oohs and ahs from the attendees on this one!
Lighting the cigar on the course can be tricky with wind, so Xikar, has the Allume, which is just over two inches tall, but mighty in wind, one or two flame models. A new iconic teardrop shape cutter has been paired with beautiful coral handles found on the ocean floor. The natural coral handles are crafted by hand and assembled by Scrimshaw Artist, Rick "HutcH" Hutchings. No two are alike.
At Fate Brewing Company, it turns out that food is what inspired craft beers in Boulder as Fate was first a restaurant, then beer caught up. The Sudice stout was a big hit with the stogie bunch.
A spirit with a definite western punch was the zippy vodka from Black Canyon in Longmont. Mayhem Creek Pepper Vodka, made with fresh chili peppers, delivers all the taste and heat of fresh jalapeno, Fresno, Serrano, and habanero peppers.
Cigars for Warriors, a local charity, offered the attendees a chance to donate cigars for troops. Soldiers receive packages that are a combination of cash donations, cigars and accessories.
Attendees jawed positively about the diversity of vendors and the chance to try new products. Charlie and Dave Murphy, father and son from Highlands Ranch liked the new venue, and "found plenty of new cigars that would be good on the course." Chequita Prince and Carmen Scott attended the event to find new options and enjoy the comradery of people who share their interest in cigars. "We'll be back next year!" they chimed.