A cowboy guide takes you on a Desert Jeep Tour to explore the rugged landscape of the Sonoran Desert, with giant Saguaro cacti, intriguing wildlife and breathtaking panoramic views.

AFSA Phoenix Convention Offers Entertainment, Excitement and Education

From the River to the Desert

While the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) will offer 55 hours of technical and managerial seminars at its 34th Annual Convention & Exhibition, AFSA in Phoenix: Rising to Excellence, there will be plenty of entertainment with optional tours and the ever-popular golf tournament. Mark your calendars for October 10-13 so you don’t miss these exciting events. Join in the fun!

River Float Tour

Raft through the desert! The Rio Verde and Salt River are very important sources of water to the valley and animal community in this area. Guests may see wild horses, bald eagles and a variety of fish. This tour is a unique experience to relax and appreciate the surrounding mountain peaks and giant cacti, but keep a careful eye out for the river otters that have recently made their return. A little paddling is required, but a guide will steer the boat and provide a fascinating lesson on Sonoran Desert geology, hydrology, flora, fauna, and human history. This tour will be held 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 10.

Cattle Drive

Set out across the beautiful Sonoran Desert and experience Arizona’s spectacular scenery and wildlife the old-fashioned way – on horseback. During this adventure, guests will have the opportunity to ride with cowboys and understand the importance of cattle wrangling. This two-hour activity will give guests the chance to see bald eagles, remote burros and possibly wild horses while gathering the herd. Participants are required to wear closed-toed shoes. Long pants, a hat and sunscreen recommended. This tour will be run 8:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, October 11.

Desert Jeep Tour

Experience the awesome beauty of the pristine Sonoran Desert with your cowboy guide. The desert holds so much more than what meets the eye. Guides will assist guests in exploring the canyons and ridges as they four-wheel the rugged trails through a forest of cactus and critters that are found nowhere else on Earth. Learn some of the secrets of the desert’s inhabitants, as guides demonstrate how the cavalry and the Native Americans used the abundant desert plants to survive. Don’t forget your camera; guests will witness some of the best panoramic views that Arizona has to offer during the nature hike. This tour will be held 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. on Monday, October 12.

Pasta Excellence Cooking Demonstration & Competition

Solo gourmands or epicurean couples are both welcome to experience fine dining from scratch. Participants will whet their appetites with a carefully planned menu accompanied by a demonstrations of the gourmet process. The chef begins with a culinary presentation on how to make authentic old-world pastas using traditional methods. Then participants get the chance to show off their skills in a team competition. Teams will compete for bragging rights and the chance to win the grand prize, a Marriott gift card for each winning player. The JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa culinary panel will judge teams. This event includes lunch, so participants will not leave hungry. Space is limited so reserve your seat early. This tour will take place 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 13.

Golf Tournament Time!

AFSA’s popular golf tournament will be held the afternoon of Saturday, October 10 at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa’s Wildfire Golf Club. A desert gem of Phoenix and Scottsdale’s golf courses, the club features two picturesque 18-hole courses designed by two of golf’s greatest legends, Arnold Palmer and Nick Faldo. The Palmer Signature offers scenic and expansive fairways allowing the ball to remain in play even on an errant shot. Surrounding this course are the majestic McDowell Mountains and century-old saguaro cacti. The courses of Wildfire Golf Club were voted one of the Top 75 Resorts in North America by Condé Nast readers. This tournament will be a four-person team scramble and will include longest drive and closest to the pin contests for both men and women.

Oasis in the Desert

AFSA’s official convention hotel this year is the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge. All of this year’s seminars, exhibits, networking breakfasts and lunches, the opening general session, golf tournament, and transportation to offsite tours and parties will be held within the resort’s conference complex, just steps away from AFSA’s official room block. Guest rooms feature private balconies or patios with dramatic desert vistas, mountain views, and tech-friendly amenities. With your all-access registration to the convention and your reservation at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge in the AFSA group block, you are entitled to receive these value-added benefits compliments of AFSA:

• Three networking breakfasts (Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday)

• Three networking lunches (Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday)

This meal offer is valid for one breakfast and one lunch per night reserved at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge in the AFSA group block.

Be sure to book your room at the AFSA special room rate of $234 per night plus tax, which includes guest room Internet, daily use of the fitness center, and hotel resort fee. Room types are based on availability. Guests are encouraged to make reservations early to get preferred room type. Group rates are available from October 7-16, 2015. For room reservations, visit firesprinkler.org/convention/travel or call 480-293-5000 and ask for the AFSA Group Rate. The cut-off date for guaranteed room rate availability is September 4, 2015. After this date, AFSA attendees will not be guaranteed the group rate.

Registration Open!

Online registration is now open for this year’s convention at firesprinkler.org/convention. You can read details about and register to attend all convention-related events, including tours and golf, and find a link to reserve your hotel online. Also be on the lookout for the 2015 the convention brochure, which will arrive in your mailbox soon. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Don’t let your reservations be hijacked! In the past, several AFSA members have received calls from hotel reservation companies claiming to be representing AFSA and its convention. AFSA does not have any housing companies associated with its 2015 Convention & Exhibition. Reservations made at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa through a reservation company, such as Global Housing or Exhibitor Services, do not qualify for AFSA networking meals. While hotel resellers may contact you offering housing for your trip, they are not endorsed by or affiliated with AFSA or its show and entering into financial agreements with such companies can have costly consequences.

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