CHAMPS Trade Show Las Vegas: Day Two
Day two of CHAMPS saw the must-have brands continue to boom, the hype continue to build around the Glass Games Masters Invitational entries now taking shape and a glassblowing legend make a surprise appearance on the torch.
As day two rolled on in Las Vegas, the big dogs didn’t need to do much barking (and the pups fought for their piece of the pie) but one of the most unique stories in the room had to be that of Blazer, the longtime torch producer that didn’t even realize it was a leader in the space.
For the last 32 years, Blazer has produced its best-selling, high-quality Big Shot torches in Japan. While they’ve been a long-time hit with plumbers, electricians and others in need of a sturdy flame, Blazer didn’t realize until a few years ago that they were at the top of the ultra-competitive cannabis extract torch market — without even trying.
Blazer’s General Manager Mark Lugo laughs when he remembers the warm welcome the company received during its first CHAMPS visit.
“When we came the first time, everybody already knew who we were,” he said.
For decades Blazer only produced its go-to black model, but witnessing the color spectrum on display at shows like CHAMPS (and consumer demand for those colors) got them to switch things up. Their recent release of the first colored edition of the Big Shot in purple made waves, and they’re planning two color releases this year, with the first scheduled for May.
The marketing campaign at Blazer had always been fairly organic, and the addition of social media has made waves for them.
“Most of the new shops that are coming up to our distributors are coming due to requests from their customers,” Lugo said, adding shop owners easily recognize the craftsmanship. “The Big Shot is our highest priced torch and it’s also our best seller — that’s saying something.”
The insanity continued at the Glass Games Masters Invitational, with 30 creations continuing to grow — and a surprise thirty-first.
One of the artists drawing quite a crowd was Hendy, who we spoke with yesterday. His entry has grown to a large pyramid base of nine skulls, and he looked to be preparing a massive ornamental top piece for the final product.
Another of the many exciting entries under construction came from Orion. Yesterday he told us he’s greatly pleased with the quality of the artists competing.
“It’s going to be really fun on Thursday,” he said. “[The excitement] is going to be like Christmas morning for everyone.”
On the opposite side of torch row, Arizona’s Shuhbuh crafted what looked to be the start of some kind of dope bamboo Forrest. From the look of it earlier in the day, he was working on some fantastic twirled connector rods. The final assembled product should be a blast.
“It’s hard,” Shuhbuh said smiling. “Because I want to go around and see what everyone else is making!”
The biggest surprise of the day came when none other than Darby Holm took to the torch. Not competing, Darby was demoing the Zenit Dragon, which is basically everything a dragon-loving glassblower could ask for. In all seriousness, the Zenit Dragon is the product of some extreme tech and craftsmanship from German company Arnold Gruppe.
Tomorrow we’ll find out who wins!
TELL US, when was your first visit to a headshop? What did you buy?