This is the craziest thing Ive ever scene, said Chico Bukovansky, Da Kines Snowboard Sales Manager of the tornado that hit the Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City. He called the Transworld Snowboarding Business offices several hours after the tragedy and gave us this report.
He was setting up the Da Kine booth in one of several different tents erected to house the overflowing trade exhibition when he noticed that all of the sudden a storm was moving in. By the time he got to the door of the tent, he said that it had started to hail outside and that when he looked out, he saw metal objects flying through the air.
Shit, this fuckers coming down, he said looking over at the tent that the different booths were under, and he and Sales Rep Paul Warner ran behind a generator to hide from flying debris. The whole event lasted less than two-and-a-half minutes, he said.
It was carnage, widows were broken everywhere, a lot of people were freaking and screaming, Chico continues. It was general mayhem.
He says that the tents were erected with huge steel girders, and that one collapsed and landed into the booths inside the tent. After the storm passed, he and others went inside the tent and tried to help out whomever they could while they waited for the fire department and ambulances to show up.
Across the street, a large crane that was being used to construct a new building was broken in half. The windows at the Wyndham hotel were all blown out.
Apparently, Da Kines Product Manager Erik Hauge had left Chico and the booth several minutes before to get some building supplies from the GES trailer. He left the trailer just in time to see it picked up and thrown into the tent by the violent storm. He found Chico about a half hour later, much to both their relief.
During the phone conversation, Chico says, Hey, therere the Smith guys (referring to the Smith sunglasses and goggles crew). Looks like theyre all okay. I guess they were in the Wyndham having a sales meeting when the thing hit. But theyre all okay. We just keep seeing people and saying, ‘Hey, youre alive!
This town has been turned upside down, he continues. They say this show will be closed for three days. Fuck this, were going to find some alcohol.