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CAMEX trade show a bonanza for college sports fans

Published March 5, 2012 6:31 pm

Salt Palace • Exhibit has 7,000 vendors from across the United States.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

College sports fans loyal to their teams often go to great lengths to show their support.

So the thousands of different logo items on display at the National Association of College Stores CAMEX trade show Monday at the Salt Palace Convention Center should surprise no one. But the creativity was astounding.

The show brought 7,000 vendors and college bookstore managers from across the United States for a conference and trade show that ends Tuesday. The latter included 719 exhibitors in 1,491 booths occupying 148,200 square feet of space.

And it was filled with cool, "must-have" stuff for sports fans of every stripe.

Utah Jazz fans might want to purchase a grilled cheese maker that grills the team logo onto the bread.

Or, "you can get a dart board of your rival and throw darts it before the big game," suggested Kim Qualls of Image One which, of course, makes such dart boards.

University of Utah or BYU fans might want to buy several rolls of "Duck Tape"-brand duct tape adorned with the schools' trademark logos to decorate tailgating tables or, as the company displayed at its booth, create cheerleader outfits to wear to the game. Honest.

Of course, "cheerleaders" who really want to make a statement also could order an Atti-Tutu-De tutu made in their school colors to be worn on the head or around the waist.

Believe it or not, not every item had a logo on it.

One product for dorm living is called Poo-pouri and guarantees to eliminate unpleasant bathroom odors. Another, from Bytox, is billed as "the fastest hangover prevention remedy," which probably isn't a bad product to have for tailgating day.

There is also a "Frost Boss," which, using a few pieces of ice and batteries, guarantees to chill your favorite beer can to 38 degrees in less than two minutes.

That might go with a foam, glove-like device called Wrist Shots by the Game On Glove company that is a shot glass holder complete with shot glass and logo. And, for course, don't forget the logo-covered bar stools.

Even dogs didn't escape the logo madness. All-Star Dogs offered dog beds, coats, leashes and collars.

There were even fans for sports fans. Champion Treasures offered hand-held or desktop battery-operated fans that lit up with the message, "Go Cowboys," when activated.

One company, Hanky Panky, offered officially licensed lingerie, while another offered logo-covered bikinis.

The University of Utah had a big presence at the show because it was asked to bring its mobile tailgating logo store trailer to the event. "We're just trying to find new fan stuff," said Mike Hurt, of the University of Utah college bookstore.

Footwear manufacturers joined the school color and logo craze. Fans soon will see all sorts of flip flops and canvas shoes decorated with logos, along with "Stadium Stompers," cowboy boot-style rubber boots brightly decorated with team colors.

Some book stores also might want to purchase a school-logo bait-casting fishing reel from Evercast.

Tech fans could have a computer keyboard covered with a photo of their favorite football stadium, complete with matching mouse. Flash drives even have logos, as do ear buds and earphones.

Among water bottles, there is one called "The Freedom Bottle," which crushes down to almost nothing, making it easy to carry empty into a stadium or to a tailgating bash.

In fact, chances are that if you could wear it, hold it, use it as furniture or put it on your pet or wall, there was an item with a college logo on it, including tissue boxes, bandages, belts, bed spreads, lighted helmets, fraternity wooden paddles, tennis racquets, lit helmets, stuffed animals, wooden footballs, road signs, chip and dip plastic carriers, banks and wind chimes.

There is even a rolling case called a Smart Cart to help fans haul all this stuff to the game. Of course, it comes with an optional logo.

wharton@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tribtomwharton