Every so often, you come upon a situation that just plays incredibly well into your hand. This past weekend was one of those situations, and after waiting almost 5 months for it to happen, im bummed a little bit that it happened so quickly. Let me preface my experience with a little background because I think it gives more clarity to everything that happened.
I was going to be attending the Tristar Show regardless of who was appearing, but once I found out that Adrian Peterson was signing, it became a religious pilgrimage to see the Purple Jesus. If you have clicked on the link on the side and viewed my collection, you know that I am a HUGE autograph collector, and even huge-er Adrian Peterson collector. I have limited my collection to only autographs and higher end singles, and as a result I have collected everything from an Inscribed Football to his iconic SP Authentic Autograph Patch RC. Not to toot my own horn, but I would say there are only a handful of higher end Peterson collections out there, and I am definitely proud of that.
All that being said, I have a borderline ridiculous need to have at least one experience meeting my favorite players. I have gotten to meet Joe Mauer three separate times at different events, and I met Kirby Puckett a few times too. Each time I have been a fan of a player, Harmon Killebrew, Kevin Garnett, etc, I have found a way to meet them. Peterson was a little different, as most football players are, mainly because of my not living in Minnesota anymore. Not that he was readily signing everywhere in the Twin Cities anyways, but I didn’t have the same access living in San Antonio or Los Angeles. That all changed when I found out that Tristar was able to get him to sign in a place I could easily make the trip to go.
That is when my mind started to run wild with the possibilities. I knew that I had some stuff that I wanted to get signed, and I KNEW that it HAD to be personalized.I have so many Adrian Peterson autographs, paying for another non-specialized item would not really add anything to my collection. Also, because I have a personal preference towards personalized autographs, it was a no brainer. The question was, what and how many items was I going to do.
After looking at my paypal account, I figured I had enough money to buy 2 autographs and 2 inscriptions. It was a CRAPLOAD of money, but I figured it was better than buying packs/boxes and ending up with junk that I don’t want. Funny enough, I ordered so shortly after they went on sale that I ended up with show ticket 0000001 and auto tickets 1 and 2 for Peterson’s line. That was cool, but more on that later.
My options for the signature were simple, Jersey, Ball, Helmet or Photo. I had the 12″ action figure too, but the area for him to sign wasn’t optimal, so I decided against it. Since I already had an autographed jersey, and because they are expensive to prepare for display, I knew that I was going with something else. I also already had a ball and a helmet, and both were also a lot of extra added cost to the cost of the signature. Therefore I wanted to get a photo, if not only because it provides a ton of room for him to write all the stuff I wanted him to sign. Matt Lange had sent me a print of an awesome picture he had taken on the sidelines of the 2010 opener, so that was perfect because it would be a one of a kind signed photo, and I purchased another from Photofile to complete the process.
As the date moved closer, I started to reconsider my item choice, but the busy nature of my life lately prevented me from acting on that hesitation. After seeing the amazing results people had with their full size helmets, I may have made a less favorable, but still acceptable choice considering the circumstances.
I left for Houston on Saturday night and checked into the hotel around 11pm after a HORRIBLY boring 3 hour drive. Houston was nice and actually cooler than San Antonio, but really, temperature was the least of my concerns. I went to bed with anticipation and woke up early to get a head start on the day. I drove the 20 mins to the Reliant Center and was very impressed with the initial setup of the show. It was in a dedicated building with a ton of space, and very easy access to the venue. I arrived before the show actually opened, but there was already a pretty long line of people waiting to get in. Tons of the collectors there were wearing either Texas A&M gear, Steelers gear, or Vikings stuff, so I easily fit in just right in my Vikings polo.
I connected with a lady in line who obviously had more money than God to throw around. The reason I say this is because she had things that I was surprised she was able to obtain. She had two game used Peterson jerseys (purple and white), a full size helmet with Peterson’s special facemask, a priority pass, and a bag full of other stuff. I was most impressed with the jerseys, because Peterson is notorious for buying up as many of his game used ones as possible. She had spent close to 10 grand on the entire package, and it was definitely something to be seen.
I started walking through the show and was surprised by how much of the show was dedicated to autographs over cards. There were only a handful of dealers selling wax, and just a few more selling singles of something produced in the modern era. Vintage was there in force, which was really the only disappointing part of the entire show. Im not really a card collector nor a vintage card collector, but I absolutely loved all the autographs that were available there. At most shows, its easy to tell when a dealer is a douchebag from all the fakes, but for the most part, everything in houston looked great. I was also surprised by how much Packers stuff there was, even more than the Texans or Cowboys actually. Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers were everywhere, as was the rest of the guys who make their retirement living signing at shows.
My favorite part of everything I saw was the sports artwork available at a few different tables on the floor. Usually, sports artwork is either really good and REALLY expensive, or really bad and really cheap. This was the first time I saw great stuff for great prices, and settled on switching out my photofile Peterson pic for a sweet lithograph of a painting done by one of these dealers. I am so glad I did, because it really turned out awesome.
After milling about for an hour and a half, I met up with Jason from Field Level View and shot the shit. He had brought a whole bunch of cards to trade, and I worked out a quick deal for a Kyle Rudolph patch auto out of Rising Rookies. I also spent some time talking with Tristar guys about the show, all of which were extremely nice and helpful on everything. Before I knew it, it was 12pm and my cue to head over to the autograph pavillion.
Peterson was supposed to start signing at 12:15 but an extended wait at the photo booth held things up. I met some cool people waiting for them to call numbers, including people who had flown in specifically for this opportunity. I saw Peterson on his way over from the photo booth and was literally shocked at how ripped he was. Without sounding even creepier than I just sounded, the guy was a freaking beast. I would not want him running at me full speed on his way downfield. He sat down and they started calling numbers. I was the first one behind the priority pass people, and was very happy I got to see some people get their stuff signed before committing mine without expectation. Much to my shock, he started signing everything with a care and deliberation that was usually absent from athletes signing at shows. He took the time to chat with each person, signed their item as carefully as possible, and even posed as the collectors photographed him signing their stuff.
My turn was next and I walked up and handed my ticket to the handler. He asked what I wanted signed, and I explained exactly what I wanted. He was nice enough to ask what color I wanted it signed in, and I told him which pen for which picture. The results were great, and I shook his hand as I walked away. Even though hyperbole usually surrounds the description of his handshake, all of it was true. It was like shaking hands with Superman. That’s the only description I have of it.
After gathering up my stuff and letting it dry, I went over and talked to some people about getting one of my photos framed. He had some tremendous work on display and gave me a deal I couldn’t pass up. In fact, he did ten times the work of Michael’s for a fourth of the price. I cant wait to get it, I will showcase it as soon as it comes in a few weeks. Should be awesome.
When I decided against waiting to meet Arian Foster, I left around 1:30 to head back to San Antonio. It was a great experience and worth every penny. It makes me that much more excited for August and the Chicago National, as I expect Tristar will be as amazing of a host for that as they were for this. Thank you to them for a once in a lifetime experience, as I believe it easily could be something I put near the top of my list of sports attendance.
Sorry for the long post and the tiny and blurry pics, my camera (of course) broke the night before. Cell cameras just arent what I need them to be, unfortunately.