The 2013 South Atlantic Well Drillers Jubilee held in Virginia Beach has ended and it left much to be desired. Could it have been more professionally planned? The quality of standards and professionalism of a family oriented event were missing.

Porky and Son

National Driller columnist Howard “Porky” Cutter, left, with son Chris “Piglet” Cutter at June’s South Atlantic Well Drillers Jubilee. They dropped by the National Driller booth as editor Jeremy Verdusco was setting up. Source: Jeremy Verdusco

Even though there are several great golf courses, there were no programs for the golfers. There are many nearby entertainment centers such as Ocean Breeze Waterpark, the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, Nauticus and the Battleship Wisconsin. Virginia has many historical sites within driving distance, such as Jamestown and colonial Williamsburg, to name a few. I know these are here because I live in Virginia Beach.

It’s a fact that many people before leaving the Jubilee would pre-register for the next year’s convention. Many well drillers plan their annual vacation in advance to provide a vacation for the family, while allowing the driller to stay informed of the regulations and new products, and obtaining their continuing education for their respective state well drilling licensing.

I believe that it wasn’t well attended by many prospective attendees because they weren’t advised of the upcoming show and the show was almost a month earlier than usual. The general statement was the motels were too expensive. Several people advised me that the traffic was backed up for hours before they reached the tunnel to Virginia Beach and they would not attend the SAWDJ if it’s ever in Virginia Beach again.

Those that use the Internet weren’t able to register online until two weeks before the exposition.

There were fewer exhibitors partially because the display booths were considered too expensive for the suspected low attendance because of the previous year’s low attendance.

Also, due to the low fuel restrictions allowed in the display vehicles, many of the exhibitors had to dump, or in some cases, give away hundreds of gallons of fuel because they had previously fueled the vehicles before entering the tunnel.

My personal disappointment was the missing “Wall of Fame” banner (this is the only existing timeline history of the SAWDJ family). The second and third generations visit this historic banner every convention. Families donate their history to this banner annually. My question is, where is the documented history of 2012 and 2013? It is vital that this be continued. I pray that the managers will see the importance of returning the “Wall of Fame.” That’s the history of well drilling.

On a positive thought, I believe the exhibitors and the attendees will return when the SAWDJ returns to Myrtle Beach, S.C., in 2014. However, it may take several years to return to the 3,000-plus attendance that I have seen in past years.

I am hopeful the new managers of the exposition can reserve the exposition for the usual time, the end of July and the first part of August. I hope they will notify everyone of the show in plenty of time for everyone to make plans to attend.

Bess, myself and our sons have attended the SAWDJ, almost since its inception. We have attended well expositions all over the USA and I feel that it’s one of the best. We look forward to returning to it in Myrtle Beach, S.C., in 2014!

An update on “Porky”:  On Feb. 26, I had my left knee joint replaced and I’m doing great with it. The last day of the SAWDJ, I walked most of the day without the Hoveround chair.

In July, I’m having cataract eye surgery and lens replacement surgery, as I have a clouding of the lens of the eye and it’s a bit like looking through a frosty or fogged-up window. It makes it more difficult to read or drive a car, especially at night.

 With both knee joints replaced (the first one seven years ago) and the eye surgery, I hope to attend the National Ground Water Exposition in December in Nashville, Tenn. Come see me, the “Bionic Man.”