Heartland Wraps 13th Annual Trade Show in Lake Ozark

MRDA Officers and Board Members

The Missouri Rental Dealers Association wrapped their three-day annual regional trade show and seminar on Thursday, June 29th. This year had a tremendous turnout with approximately 238 attendees of both rental dealers and vendors and truly was a memorable event as MRDA celebrated their 30th Anniversary this year. The Heartland of America Trade Show proves to be a regional concept as MRDA represents seven states including Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Iowa, Indiana and Illinois.

Bass Tournament Winners: MRDA President John Cleek, Jr. and “Tiger” John Cleek.

Day two started bright and early on the morning of Wednesday, June 28th, as rental dealers split up into two groups to either participate in the golf tournament or catch some bass at the Bass Fishing Tournament – see results below. Participants grabbed some lunch and had a chance to freshen up before that evening’s events.

Attendees reconvened at the exhibit hall where they were greeted with a cocktail reception, raffle and any last bits of buying and networking with vendors. MRDA had a sold out exhibit hall with 71 booths, representing 47 vendor companies and 84 vendor attendees. Dinner and the annual awards banquet shortly followed the Vendor Showcase.

MRDA President, John Cleek Jr., welcomed all those in attendance while introducing this year’s MRDA Officers and Board Members (see below). Junior further acknowledged and honored both new and tenured vendors. He gave a special thanks to all of the vendors who sponsored events totaling $12,650 and those who gave PAC raffle item prizes. National RTO, MRDA Past President and former APRO board member, recipient of the Heritage Award (2005) and the Rental Dealer of the Year (2014) Dan Cole provided a PAC Fund update sharing that the fund contributions were lower than usual for two reasons – the RTO industry hasn’t experienced any political issues at this time and/or people are tired of hearing about politics in general. He emphasized that the industry has avoided political issues because MRDA has worked to established relationships with Jefferson City and members of congress. He stressed that the association has to be vigilant because the industry can’t afford to stop education of the RTO Transaction. Show Me RTO Owner, MRDA Past President and APRO Past President Senator Gary Romine Missouri State Senator, District 3 followed Cole and further emphasized the importance of contributions to the PAC Fund. He stressed the need for individual one-on-one dealer meetings with members of congress to further educate and define what the industry does and why.

MRDA Exhibit Hall.

Tiger Cleek took the stage and before sharing a history of MRDA he took a few moments to recognize APRO’s Outgoing Executive Director, Bill Keese, was recognized for his dedication to MRDA and the industry as a whole. The MRDA Board pitched in to gift he and wife, Debbie, $2000 to go toward airfare to Barcelona as they take a cruise that was awarded to them at APRO’s convention. Lastly, Tiger announced that MRDA’s two $1000 scholarships, administered by APRO, will now be named in Bill Keese’s honor. MRDA scholarships are in part of APRO’s Education Foundation Scholarships, click here for details. Tiger closed with saying, “The toughest part of running state associations is to keep them going…each MRDA president has made an impact whether it was introducing educational sessions, the PAC Fund or booth sales. Thank you all for your participation and let’s just agree to keep it going!”

APRO’s Executive Director Jill McClure took the stage and introduced herself to MRDA’s membership. She shared her professional background experience and what she’s observed of the RTO Industry thus far. She touched on how the culture of the industry was very family oriented and felt there was a true care for the industry employees and community. “There’s a really good story to tell here and I look forward to helping tell that story.”

MRDA’s Executive Director, Ken Steiner, closed the awards presentation with a message on the importance of digital progression. He shared his challenges and experiences with learning new work tools but remained an advocate of digital progression. He shared his gratitude for the vast interest of vendors in showing at the exhibit hall and encouraged interested parties to secure their spot for 2018’s trade show as soon as possible. Lastly, he announced next year’s dates, “Mark your calendars for Heartland of America 2018 Regional Trade Show and Seminar, June 12 – 14, at the Lodge of Four Seasons Lake Ozark, Missouri. See you next year!”

Click here to see more photos of Heartland of America 2017.

MRDA Officers and Board Members
President – John Cleek, Jr.
Vice President – Aaron Windsor
Secretary/Treasurer – Scott Mitchell
Board Members: Cindy Boyers, “Tiger” John Cleek, Dan Cole, Mark Connelly, Mary Hazel, Kevin Hollaway, Chuck Kuluva, Macy Mitchell, Tom Moore, Jerry Pinkley, Gary Romine, Joe Laney, Tim Mayer, Kevin Welker and Mark Windsor.
Vendor Rep: Scott Young
Executive Director: Ken Steiner

Bass Fishing Tournament Winners
1st Place: Tiger Cleek and John Cleek, Jr. (Cleek’s/Aaron’s)
6 keepers; 2.95lb big bass; 15.25lb total weight

2nd place: Dan Cole and Steve Braning (National RTO)
6 keepers; 2.85lb big bass; 13.6lb total weight

3rd place: Brett Tiley
4 keepers; 2.55lb big bass; 9.2lb total weight

4th place: Shawn Oligschlaeger and Jeff Dowdy (Cleek’s/Aaron’s)
6 keepers; 8.3 total weight

5th place: John Nissen and Mike Groves (Cleek’s/Aaron’s)
2 keepers; 2.15lb big bass; 3.2lb total weight

6th place: Stan Davis and Adam Nance (National RTO)
1 keeper; 2.1lb big bass; 2.1lb total weight

Golf Tournament Winners
1st place, Score: 64 – Clip Guy, Ron Baum, Mike Adams, Braxton Dean

2nd place, Score: 68 – Kent Clark, Kaine Clark, Jerry Pinkley, Bob Holiday

3rd place, Score: 69 – Adam Perryman, Greg Skinner Nick Wuesthoff, Gary Romine

4th place, Score: 70 – Tom Purcell, Gary Jones, Rick Rineberg, Dennis Shields

5th place, Score: 70 – Aaron Windsor, Mark Windsor, Bill French, Alex Rindone

6th place, Score: 70 – Daryl Rhodeman, Dan Anderson, Harold Suda, Andy Scott

7th place, Score: 70 – Lyle Aldridge, D’Ann Reyering, James Selby, Steve Wilmsmeier

8th place, Score: 71 – John Mays, Brian Vander Werf, Steve Gibbons, Paul Gibbons

9th pace, Score 71 – Todd Homberger, Brian Homberger, Scott Young, Mike Johnson

Closest to Pin: Adam Perryman and Rick Rineberg

Women’s Long Drive: D’Ann Reyering

Longest Putt: Steve Gibbons

Men’s Long Drive: Steve Wilmsmeier

Click here to see more photos of Heartland of America 2017.