My expectations for the trip were grossly underestimated. As soon as I landed and headed to dinner I was updated on the itinerary. First an intimate dinner at Ruth Chris for about 60. Can I just mention that we all were served steak AND lobster?! You know I was in heaven. Then it was off to spend some time being a “celebrity” bartender with the other athletes sponsored by the company. This included Kasey Kahne, a NASCAR driver, some other guy who races cars and whose name escapes me at the moment, and Chuck Lidell, a guy they call ICEMAN, who is the star of the UFC. Scary lookin’ guy but a total sweetheart. I’ll admit that I didn’t know who anybody was but after hearing their credentials, I was more than impressed. I mean Kasey has his own jet so the guy can’t be too shabby! It was my impression that we would have one bar that was closed off for this special event but I was wrong. There were in fact 12 bars rented out for the entire evening for the convention that was taking place. Each bar/club featured a different beverage and a different theme. So the place I was at was merely the place where you stopped to get a Budweiser—tap or draft. It made the bartending quite simple. If you wanted Bud Light and a picture with the ICEMAN, you went somewhere else. If you felt like a Michelob Ultra, that was down the street. You get the point…it was totally insane. So after my duties were completed I headed back to the hotel because I was quite exhausted but I will assure you that I was the only one to do so. Brianna Glenn was the only person without bloodshot eyes the next morning at 7:30am.
The next day we headed over to the convention center where I was set to give a speech later on in the program. I had arrived in Chicago believing that the audience would consist of a few hundred but I quickly realized I was way off. It was somewhere close to 5000 I believe. Can you say stage fright? There was a balcony for goodness sake…and seats that went out for what seemed like forever. To ease my nerves, the day started off with a 30 minute Q & A with Eli and Peyton Manning. Of course they were brought in to get the crowd warmed up for me and they did a fantastic job. In all honesty though, these guys were amazing. They had such a great story and spoke of the “will to win” which was the theme for the convention, and I found it to be truly inspiring to listen to the both of them. Later in the day I made my debut on stage and as much as I really hate to pat myself on the back or inflate my ego in any way, I TOTALLY ROCKED IT. I’m kidding. Sure, I think I did a pretty good job, but I’m quite sure people didn’t go home and tell their spouse about my two minutes of talking when they could mention Eli…Peyton…ICEMAN…Kasey, or even the Lieutenant General Hal Moore, (wrote the book from his days at war that inspired the movie We Were Soldiers), who gave the most awesome speech ever. Or maybe they will remember me…they did put up my bikini picture on about 10 different screens when I was on stage.
So overall it was a great trip. I know I got far more out of it than I probably gave and that is a great feeling…especially when they pay you for it. I met so many great people, heard some fantastic stories, and got a sneak peek at commercials that haven’t even aired yet. And did I mention my oversized Escalade with personal driver?
***I totally forgot to make use of my camera, so the only picture I took is me and ICEMAN...hence all the images off the internet!