A road-trip to the 2018 PCA cigar trade show – formerly known as IPCPR – was my only option … I’d developed a reluctance to get on an aircraft.
The shortest distance from Regina SK Canada to Las Vegas Nevada is 2,292 kilometres (kms) / 1,424 miles, but there were good reasons to add a few miles.

July 7, 2018. The 1st leg of the trip included a stop at Underriner Volvo in Billings MT to get some minor service done on the XC90.
After checking into the hotel, it was time to grab a bite to eat.
Shrimp & Grits dinner was enjoyed at Cajun Phatty’s, a restaurant that I highly recommend. Food was astounding & service was great!

Bright and early the next morning, I headed south to another interesting stop – the Sinclair gas station in Kaycee, Wyoming.
I loved the map with pins showing “Where Are You From?
If you look really close, you can see the pin on Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada!

After that stop, the Casper Cigar Company wasn’t too far off the I-25, so I decided to take a break & enjoy a cigar.
For the @CigarHerf blog, I interviewed Josh – the store manager who showed me the store humidor & coveted Espinosa / Cigar Dojo accreditation – before moving into the lounge to chat with a couple of friendly patrons.
It was a great experience learning all about Casper & the surrounding Wyoming area.

The CigarHerf selection was the Southern Draw – “Rose of Sharon

In 2018, it was a cigar that had been getting plenty of attention from the cigar community and it delivered a great smoking experience.

“The Rose of Sharon embraces a unique blend that will enhance the current Southern Draw Cigars core line including the Kudzu – Oscuro and Firethorn – Rosado blends.
A very well-balanced cigar with Mild Body – Medium Flavor.

The natural cloud cover of Ecuador has supplied us with a prized wrapper, a velvety feel, gentle sweetness and a toasty burn, our beloved Nicaragua has gifted us with rich and elegant binder and filler tobaccos while the distinct Piloto Cubano of the Dominican Republic adds a dose of boldness and spice that allows this blend live up to its moniker. “She don’t know she’s beautiful!”

Besides the apparent beauty of The Rose of Sharon in its semi box pressed format, the release is a celebration of Grace and the devotion of Sharon Holt as she continues her daily service via strong faith and daily fellowship. “Much like a Rose, Sharon exemplifies the Southern Draws brand with her beautiful soul, humility and a “subtle” boldness which has made an incredible impact on so many lives. We truly needed to acknowledge her.” – courtesy of Southern Draw.



… next stop: Colorado

Smoker Friendly has been hosting its annual retailer conference for 23 years.
During that time they’ve been an invaluable advocate for the distinction of Premium Cigars.
On Friday August 23.19 the conference welcomed several speakers addressing the interests & needs of Brick & Mortar Cigar shops & Cigar Enthusiasts.

Greg Vickers PCA
Guest speaker Greg Vickers of the Premium Cigar Association provided insight to the changing landscape of the political and regulatory aspect of premium cigars.
PCA is a retailer based organization moving forward with cutting edge programs for its members – including education, affinity programs and directives for a self-regulating industry.
Cigaret Shopper

A highlight of the morning conference was the presentation of Dealer of the Year, which was awarded to Cigaret Shopper of Maine and accepted by Chris Bueller.


Image 2019-08-23 at 2.10 PM
Charles “Mac” Haddow gave an outstanding presentation regarding the American Kratom Association and the success that organization has had defining regulatory practices and the impact of reporting systems within the FDA, which “needs to stay in its regulatory lane”.

Schaevitz_Barry_Main-default-headshot-photo-19862The morning concluded with Barry Schaevitz of Fox Rothschild who emphasized research proves there is no difference in mortality rates for cigar smokers compared to non-smokers.

One of the questions that came up is the definition of “premium cigars”.
As it currently stands, there are many definitions of premium cigars. What we all agree on is cigars are a 100% natural product.

In terms of who is smoking cigars, research indicated that youth usage of premium cigars is so low it can’t be calculated – it can’t be measured.
The median age for cigar smokers is in the 30-50 year old demographic.

The major take-away from the Friday conference is the vital need for cigar enthusiasts to provide support for their local tobacconists, as well as the organizations & lobby groups advocating the protection of Premium Cigars from governmental over-reach.

Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival
Smoker Friendly
Premium Cigar Association
American Kratom Organization
Fox Rothschild
Cigaret Shopper
Cigar Rights of America