Well, it’s the weekend following, A View From the Edge, and I’m finally getting caught up on my sleep. My main man, Monico Perez and I had been working 15+ hour days for several weeks leading up to the show. We were actually editing the entire new CD series entitled Drive Time University AND preparing for The View.
This is the first year that the crowd was too big for a conventional theater, so we had to make the move to an arena. We had a great experience at the Special Events Center in Garland (Dallas) Texas. My lighting director really stepped up in a big way to help us make the move from a theater to an arena. She brought and old colleague from Fellowship Church, Mike Walker, to run the production. Mike is amazingly talented and helped us with a variety of special effects we had never used like making it snow in the arena, fly me on and off stage a few times and much more. We went all out with special effects and our sets, which have always been the responsibility of my good friend Richard Montez from Cornerstone Ministries. Richard literally travels all over the world doing productions for Christian Churches. We have been the only secular show he has done for quite some time. He out did himself as usual.
We had many additional crack members of our crew that made the weekend a tremendous success lead by the indispensible Frank Peebles.
We started the show at 7:30 Friday night and hit the ground running. The crowd was definitely shocked to see the opening character fly out of the stage to end the first skit. That set the stage for the best View we have ever done. We had over 2500 people in attendance at the event, and we have been inundated with emails, text messages and calls to assure us it was just that; an overwhelming success!
Saturday featured a character with a class of students, never seen before. WV staff member Ric stole the show when, because of bad behavior, he was banished to sit time out, and subsequently fell asleep in the most odd position you could imagine. The crowd laughed and laughed, but also learned one of the best lessons of the weekend. We ended Saturday night about 10pm on an electric high note that was just felt throughout the arena.
Sunday featured various characters that were new to the WorldVentures Reps, featuring The French Chef, Forest Gump and Batman. The President of WorldVentures led an unbelievable auction to raise funds for Big Brother Big Sister. Local BBBS CEO, Charles Pierson watched in awe as the top leaders in WV helped raise over $60,000 which was matched by WorldVentures for a total of over $120,000 !!! We also had about 50 people volunteer to become Big Brothers or Sisters themselves. What an amazing success!
Robert Oblon also awarded the first annual Kim Eaton (Hero) Award to the inspiring WV leader Byron Schragg. Byron and his family qualified for the free lunch plan when he joined WV and didn’t even have a car. He and his wife Susan are now run one of the most successful distributorships in the whole company. Kim Eaton passed away earlier this year and had over 1000 people at her memorial service. She was a true inspiration, and Byron was a most deserving inaugural winner of her award. Byron and Susan were very emotional when they were honored and gave a very heartfelt acceptance speech.
WorldVentures also presented one of the lucky View attendees with a Brand New Mercedes sedan. Everyone who was in attendance had a chance to go home with the car. We drew 10 people’s names out of a hopper on the stage and had the 10 people pick a key and see which one started the Mercedes. The winner turned the victorious key shortly after midnight.
The show culminated with George Washington visiting the country that he is the father of, to give a State of the Union address to the WV crowd. It was a very patriotic moment. We ended the character with a moving video set to the Star Spangled Banner and then followed that up with a live performance by local singing phenomenon, Rob Johnson, singing Proud to be an American. By the time he concluded the song, the arena was literally vibrating with a sense of patriotism and honor!
I finished the show by singing a song of my own, with the help of my good friend and professional musician, Eddie Head. We played a song that pretty much summed up the message of the entire 30 hour weekend, Live Like You Were Dying, by Tim McGraw. I urged the crowd to take that challenge for the next 12 months, in memory of Kim Eaton, and to live their own lives in a way that they have never experienced.
As I said the accolades have been streaming in ever since. It is such an honor for my wife Kelly and I to serve the amazing reps in WorldVentures. We have never felt so welcome and at home in our lives. WE offer a sincere thank you to Mike and Wayne for giving us a chance to be a part of such an amazing family. We also thank Dan Stammen and Robert Oblon who make the entire experience worth doing everyday, and finally to the hard working WV reps who paid the price to be there both literally and figuratively. What an amazing group of champions.
We will be putting a form on www.wvview.com very soon to have you name your three favorite characters if you attended the event. As I said in the beginning of the blog, I am finally getting back to normal and am already looking forward to teeing it up all over again in 2009!