UPCA and IPSD. Alphabet Soup, Anyone?

OMG, I need more MPG from my SUV, ASAP!

IPSD 2012 International Pipe Smoking Day

We’ve become inundated with acronyms, and especially with text messaging shorthand, they’re becoming more pervasive by the day. There are two, however, that I enjoy talking about- UPCA (United Pipe Clubs of America) and IPSD (International Pipe Smoking Day), and since I’m the one writing this article, that’s what I’m going to address, and there’s nothing any of you can do to stop me… so, there!

Chicago Pipes show 2010 Scott Bendett and BobbyGThe UPCA is an organization of almost 30 different local pipe clubs from across the U.S. and is backed up by a number of companies in the pipe world. The purpose of the group is to support and, where appropriate, promote the hobby and help the local clubs grow. UPCA is also our representative body to the CIPC (International Committee of Pipe Clubs) , which is a worldwide organization of 25 pipe club groups from around the world.

Other than promotion, one of the functions of these groups is to supervise and coordinate slow-smoke contests locally, nationally and internationally. They have set the rules for the contests, arrange for contest pipes and blends (when needed) and provide awards. Some regional events are organized, and then the winners of those contests, here in the U.S., are invited to the national contest in Chicago, during the CPCC Show each May. A contingent of entrants to the international contest is culled from those entered in the Chicago contest and the UPCA.

This year, UPCA celebrates its 10 year anniversary, and also the decade-long service of the driving force behind the group- New York City attorney, Vernon Vig. Vernon is a fixture at virtually every pipe show, promoting UPCA, and is a wonderfully gregarious man who absolutely loves the hobby. I’ve been fortunate to work with Vernon as an executive board member for the last three years, and as the organization has grown, its use of its website and ventures into social media are bringing this group into the mainstream.

Membership for local clubs is very reasonable, and member clubs have access to the assistance of veteran pipe smokers and people within the industry. If you belong to a local pipe club that is not a member of UPCA, please visit this website and check them out. It’s definitely a beneficial arrangement, and if individuals go to the website looking to join a local club, they will refer the person to the nearest member group.

Educational (history of pipes) display at the Chicago Pipe show 2010If you attend any of 2012’s pipe shows, take a few moments to stop by the UPCA table to find out more about the organization, say hi to Vernon (who will most likely be there) and help us celebrate 10 years of existence.

IPSD (International Pipe Smoking Day) goes hand in hand with UPCA, as the group actively promotes the only day devoted to pipe smoking. IPSD was put together by members of Smokers Forums to give us something to hang our hats on, and is celebrated every year on February 20. There’s a website devoted to the day (http://www.ipsd.eu/), and it’s marked by a variety of events from pipe clubs and retailers around the world.  We’ll also be putting together our annual IPSD “goody bag” (lots of free stuff with an order) and our IPSD blend always sells well at PipesAndCigars.com .

I really enjoy the day and I do everything I can to promote it. I hope through the encouraging fellowship of IPSD, we may get more pipe smokers to join their local pipe club and maybe get their clubs to join UPCA.

So, on IPSD,  load up a bowl of BCA in your GBD. TTFN.

About Russ

Russ Ouellette is the blender/creator of the Hearth & Home series of tobaccos for www.pipesandcigars.com in Bethlehem, PA. He has been a pipe smoker and blender for over 30 years, and enjoys feedback from the pipe smoking public. You can reach Russ at russo@pipesandcigars.com or by calling 1-800-494-9144.