Joliet, IL
March 11, 2006
Story by Chris Rhoads (dustrho)
Photos by Jeff Sengenberger (Darth Berger)


The day, for me, started off by participating in Naperville's St. Patrick's Day parade, and just when you thought the day was over for this sandtrooper there was one more thing for me to do... invade the Midwest Nonsport Trading Card Show in Joliet, IL.  This event was going to be run by Paul Maiellaro of the Chicagoland Entertainment Collector's Expo.  Now, I'm not really the type of person who collects trading cards of any kind, but I since I had gotten some of the Revenge of the Sith trading cards last year I thought it would be cool to attend this.  Plus, I have been designing Paul's website for the past year and wanted to support him the best way I knew how... by showing up in my sandtrooper armor.

Since my dewback was all saddled up from the earlier mission, all I had to do was load her up and move on out.  I stopped by my friend's house (Jeff aka Darth Berger) to pick him up, and we started heading out to Joliet.  The drive took us about thirty minutes, which wasn't all that bad, and I could tell by pulling in the Holiday Inn's parking lot that there was probably a good turnout inside as the lot was pretty full of cars.  I suited up in the parking lot, grabbed my Lewis rifle (BFG), and made my way toward the hotel entrance.

As I walked inside I stopped by the front desk, and asked two ladies where the show was located.  They pointed me in the direction, and I started walking that way.  Of course I could have figured out where the show was located, if I had only looked further into the lobby as there was a sign pointing out the show's location.  Oh well.  I bet those ladies had never spoken to someone in sandtrooper armor before.

I approached the table where a few people were handling the purchase of tickets, and I spotted Paul's wife.  I walked over to her to say "hi," and she told me that Paul was inside the main room where all the people were located.  As I walked over there he was walking out of the room, and he knew right away who was underneath the helmet.  I removed the bucket, shook his hand, and chatted with him for a few minutes before entering inside.  I asked him how the show was going, and he said things were going very well and that it was only going to get busier.  So, I put the helmet back on, got my rifle in hand, and marched on in.

Surprisingly only a few people seemed interested in my presence there, but Paul had previously informed me that there really weren't going to be a big Star Wars presence there.  So, it wasn't that big of a shock to me, but I thought more people would have been interested in my armor.  A few people came up to me to get themselves photographed with me, so Jeff took their cameras and snapped up some pictures.

After the pictures were done and over with, it was time to walk around the room and see what was going on.  I stopped by Cynthia Cummens' booth and said "hi" to her.  I had met her at least year's expo, and I was totally blown away at her artwork.  She is an extremely talented individual who loves drawing anything Star Wars related, but she did admit that she loves drawing Hobbits from the Lord of the Rings movies.  I asked her if she had ever drawn a sandtrooper on a trading card before, and she told me she hadn't.  I was really hoping that she had done that, because I probably would have bought one from her.  Hopefully next time I meet up with her she'll have one ready for me.  If you want to learn more about her and see some of her artwork, you can check out her website here.

Grant Gould was also there with his collection of wonderful Star Wars artwork, and if you've ever visited the Official Star Wars website you'll remember seeing his artwork there.  I forgot to ask him if he's ever drawn a sandtrooper before, but maybe I'll contact him later about that.

Due to a wardrobe malfunction I had to leave earlier than expected.  The strap to my right thigh piece came off and wasn't fixable there.  I removed it and informed Paul that I was going to be heading out.  I could tell that he was happy I stopped by, and I'm glad I did because I got to talk with Paul, his wife, and also Cynthia Cummens.  It was fun and I'm looking forward to Paul's next big show that will be happening later this year.

To see the photo gallery containing 5 photos click here.