The Mid-Atlantic Tent Renters Association (MATRA) was started in 1987 with the aim of providing a forum for various tenting industry professionals to help and educate each other about safety and new products. MATRA has grown immensely since its inception, with a full executive board, board of directors, numerous members, scholarships for the children of tent renters, and an annual Tent Show.
The annual Tent Show is the gem of MATRA. It is hosted at a different location each year, all across the mid-Atlantic region. The Tent Show is not only fun for the hundreds of attendees and many organizers, but provides the opportunity to mingle with like-minded people AND learn about the newest and most innovative products on the market. The MATRA Tent Show also organizes many workshops, highlighting different trends in the market with a special focus on safety.
One product that we discovered at the 2012 MATRA Tent Show is the Block and Roll ballast system. These innovative weights have allowed us to phase out our water barrel weighting system to a safer, more easily completed, and more visually appealing weighting system. This saves us time and money, allowing us to pass the savings on to our customers. The concrete Block and Roll weights are specially designed and are perfect for the tenting industry. They allow a more transportable but heavier ballast to secure even the biggest tents. Securing a tent properly is something that tent companies should take very seriously. When dealing with hundreds, even thousands of pounds of steel and fabric, and unpredictable weather of the Atlantic coast, tents must be installed and secured properly to prevent damage and harm. Check out this video showing the effects of a windy day on a frame tent. Luckily no one was hurt. They probably didn’t use Block and Roll ballasts.
Another great new product that has changed our ways is the Dura-Trac flooring system. Prior to finding this great product, we hand constructed each of our floors with a sleeper system of 2” x 4”s, a subfloor, and a finished floor on top. This method was time consuming, labor intensive, and costly for our customers. With the discovery of Dura-trac, we can provide a strong, durable, and attractive flooring for nearly any surface, all while saving money for our customers. We also feel great about having a greener approach, both with our flooring and with our ballast system.
We love seeing new products at the Tent Show. Over the past few years, the popularity of the Sailcloth tent has grown immensely. From the beautiful baby shower in the back yard, to the casual graduation party, to the extravagant ocean-side wedding, the sailcloth style tent is perfect for any occasion (and one of my personal favorites!). This year at the MATRA Tent Show, we are seeing innovations in the sailcloth tent, including Germany-based Losberger Industries offering a sailcloth fabric in a Clearspan structure. This is the first time we have seen such a product– perhaps it is a new trendsetting style.
MATRA gives the chance for tent industry professionals to learn from each other, get little known tips and tricks of installation, learn about and purchase new products, and of course, allows all attendees to have a fun. Because we all know, boys will be boys.