1999 San Antonio
The idea of a Cigar PEG was
the alcohol brain child of Ed Rigsbee & Grant Doyle. It was spring 1998 and Ed & Grant were sitting in a Banff, Alberta bar, enjoying the finest Cubans that Canada had to offer and some adult refreshments. The two decided it was time for fun-loving speakers to expand their convention activity horizons. Since the Monday night activity at the NSA convention had been suspended for financial reasons, this left a natural opening for the evening Cigar PEG party. Ed Rigsbee enrolled Ed Robinson to find a location for a party–the Presidio Restaurant. The first Cigar PEG party was 1999 in San Antonio and there was a huge turn-out–all 72 Sauza Hornitos Cigar PEG T-Shirts were sold in the first couple days of the NSA convention. We charged $15 for the T-shirts and wearing them got you a 20% discount on dinner and $2 Sauza Hornitos Tequila drinks all evening. Everybody in attendance had a fabulous evening. The PEG earned $900 and donated it to the NSA Foundation, earmarked for the Professional Speaker Benefit Fund. The Cigar PEG idea must
have come at the right time as the number of party attendees has continued to increase.
2000 Washington, DC
In 2000, for the DC NSA convention, Ed invited Patricia Fripp to be the Cigar PEG “Poster Goddess” and she changed the paradigm be offering to be sold to the highest bidder. Also, that was the year that Dale Irvin was passed over and not invited to do his internationally famous convention updates. Many thanks to that year’s NSA president, Dave Gordon!
It was both a windfall and a pivotal event for the 2000 Cigar PEG–both the Fripp auction and Dale’s uncensored convention update on the program.
By 2001, Ed was receiving a huge amount of grief from the NSA leadership–telling him that he couldn’t call the Cigar PEG a PEG–taking themselves too seriously, they just didn’t get the humor. At this point Ed was about to abandon the idea, as have many NSAers trying to introduce innovation into our association. But because Grant needed an endless supply of women to attempt to date, Ed persisted for the Dallas convention and put Dale on the Cigar PEG flyer. Ed hadn’t planned for anybody to auction, so it was decided to put Mark Victor Hansen and Roger Dawson on the spot–they could hardly refuse to be sold–in front of an audience. Soon after, Grant Doyle dropped out of NSA.
After the 2001 NSA convention, Grant Doyle dropped out of NSA leaving the Cigar PEG completely in the hands of Ed Rigsbee. In Orlando, at the 2002 Foundation evening event, Qubein took a huge personal risk. As Foundation Chairman, he formally recognized the Cigar PEG’s contributions ($20,000 at that point) to the NSA Foundation by presenting a
Foundation Award of Recognition to the Cigar PEG.
Ed shares the Cigar PEG’s recognition to those in attendance at the PEG Party–a $20,000 ashtray. Realizing he
needed help, Ed started the Ambassador Corps (below) to help run the party and entice those with money to attend the party and bid on speakers. With Grant leaving the scene, Phil Steffen, pictured below with Ed & the Ambassadors, jumped in to help Ed and the ambassadors sell shirts and promote the PEG.
Again, Dale was banned from the convention’s main stage, hence Operation Enduring Laughter (notice the
black section on the flyer). Dale continued to offer his politically incorrect convention updates for Cigar
Dale urged Ed to focus some of the PEG’s profits to Laura’s Hope which Warren Evans championed. Ed agreed
to dedicate half to Laura’s Hope which operates under the National Heredity Disease Foundation. In December 2002, Ed traveled to Vancouver, BC for the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS) Annual Convention where he presented from the main stage, the Cigar PEG’s 2002 donation to Warren Evans for Laura’s Hope. The donation was over $11,000 Canadian.
2003 New Orleans
New Orleans brought some new challenges to the Cigar PEG. Until that point, Ed had evaded becoming a full-fledged meeting planner by making handshake agreements with restaurants, assuring them that they would make money from food and drink. The Cigar PEG had grown to the point that this was no longer possible. To get an appropriate venue for the party (on Bourbon Street), a contract had to be signed assuring a minimum attendance. This was the first year that the Cigar PEG would have the venue exclusively and dinner would have to be included. The cost of the Cigar PEG membership ( the T-shirts) had to be increased to $50–yet the turnout for the party at Bourbon Vieux on Bourbon Street
was huge–287 NSAers.
By this time, Phil Steffen decided to leave NSA (seems like Ed can’t keep his help) and Robert Bradford (beads around head) jumped in to help out. Additionally, Steve Tyra, the big guy, has helped with whatever I needed since 1999. The Ambassador Corps continued to sell the shirts at the convention and operate as staff to help run the party.
While 2004 was the biggest year financially ($60,000 donated), it was a bit of a weak year for the Cigar PEG in the fun and craziness area. First, because the NSA convention was going to be in Phoenix, Larry Winget also decided to host a party at his home on Monday night. And second, the venue Ed selected, while beautiful, was not as unique as had been the locations previous. This year, Robert Bradford took on a more active leadership role in the PEG, helping Ed tremendously.
Dale was not scheduled to be on the program since he committed to attend Larry Winget’s party, but he showed up nonetheless, and for the most part, saved the day. Jeff Blackman participated as both Emcee & Auctioneer. Jeff
managed to urge two speakers to pay $10,000 each for a day with Alan Weiss–way to go Jeff!
Ed, Robert & Jeff with the 2004 Cigar PEG Ambassadors
This is the first year the Cigar PEG secured a hospitality suite in the NSA
headquarter hotel. Lynnette Thredgold keeps Cigar PEG members in line.
In 2006 Cigar PEG incorporated in the State of California and petitioned the Internal Revenue Service for 501(c)(3)
non-profit status. The determination letter was sent to the Cigar PEG, by the IRS, awarding it public non-profit charity status as of February 2006; authorizing the Cigar PEG to issue letters of donation.
2007 San Diego Aboard the USS Midway
2008 New York