North American Reptile Breeders Conference in Tinley Park
By Jessi Virtusio firstname.lastname@example.org March 13, 2013 3:04PM
The North American Reptile Breeders Conference & Trade Show will take place March 16-17 in Tinley Park.
NORTH AMERICAN REPTILE BREEDERS CONFERENCE & TRADE SHOW
♦ 10 a.m.-5 p.m. March 16 and
11 a.m.-4 p.m. March 17
♦ Tinley Park Convention Center, 18451 Convention Center Drive
♦ Tickets, $15 for adults, $8 for ages 5-12 and free for ages younger than 5
♦ A VIP badge is available for $50 and gets holders into the show setup at 2 p.m. March 15 along with access to an icebreaker reception sponsored by Reptiles Magazine, 21⁄2 hours early on March 16 and one hour early on March 17
♦ (708) 342-5485; narbc.com, where a $2-off admission coupon is available
Updated: April 16, 2013 3:13PM
Slimy. Poisonous. Evil. These are just some of the stereotypes that plague reptile enthusiasts.
The organizers of the North American Reptile Breeders Conference & Trade Show aim to dispel those myths and educate the public on what great pets these creatures can be.
Show co-producer Brian Potter, of Chicago Reptile House in Orland Park, said Hollywood sensationalism has furthered the erroneous stereotypes.
The longtime Tinley Park resident said reptile shows are not filled with people running around with snakes on their necks and stories about pets trying to kill them.
“It’s people really into the animals and keeping them in natural setups,” he said of who participates in the show that will be at the Tinley Park Convention Center on March 16-17.
Billed as a captive-bred only event, which also allows farm-raised species, the show will offer access to the world’s top reptile breeders.
There also will be several presentations including:
♦ Clinton “Ton” Jones, of the Spike TV show “Auction Hunters,” at noon March 16 for a question-and-answer session.
♦ Joshua Willard and Zach Brinks, of Michigan-based Josh’s Frogs, at 1 p.m. March 16 for “The Captive Care and Breeding of Dart Frogs and Tree Frogs.”
♦ Dav Kaufman on “Field Herping for Snakes Around the World” at 2 p.m. March 16.
♦ Todd Goodman, of Timberline Live Pet Foods in Marion, Ill., at noon March 17 for “A Tour of the World’s Largest Cricket Farm.”
♦ Kevin McCurley, of New England Reptile Distributors, at 1 p.m. March 17 on “The Beginning of GRAIN — Global Reptile, Amphibian, and Invertebrate Network.”
“Whenever we have celebrities, they’re always someone who’s really into animals,” Potter, 42, said.
“Ton Jones from ‘Auction Hunters’ is a really great guy. He breeds ball pythons. Kerry King from Slayer has a huge collection.”
Potter said he and heavy metal guitarist King, who breeds carpet pythons through Psychotic Exotics, go way back.
“He did (the) Tinley (show) once or twice and he says it’s his favorite show of the year, by far,” Potter said of King.
Noting that the March show is smaller than the fall event, Potter said now could be a good time to delve into reptiles.
“All the names in the business are there,” he said of the show. “This one is a very relaxed atmosphere.”
In addition to the show, an auction will take place at 6:30 p.m. March 16 to support lobbyist groups the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council and the U.S. Association of Reptile Keepers.
With the 20th anniversary of Chicago Reptile House coming in October, Potter said he’s still into the creatures that fascinated him as a youngster.
“We would walk from the creek and end up at the pond and hang out, fish and catch turtles and frogs and bring everything home and fill up my bedroom with all this stuff,” he said.
Potter said the show is perfect for people looking to get a beginner pet.
“There’s talks that go on both days. All those talks are free. It’s good stuff there,” he said.
“Approach the vendors. Ask questions. These are really good people. They want you to buy the right animals. They don’t just want you to buy something and walk away.”
Jessi Virtusio blogs about music, movies and much more on Elaborating on Entertainment at blogs.southtownstar.com/entertainment.
Follow her @JessiVirtusio on Twitter.