By Jeff Harrison
The 2020 Tinker and the Primes conference has been canceled due to COVID-19.
Organizers said they canceled the conference because of travel restrictions, cancellations and spikes in positive cases of the virus.
“This was one of the hardest decisions I’ve made in my life,” said Bonnie Cheatwood, Midwest City Chamber executive director. “Other conventions across the nation have been canceled and we were a lone wolf trying to hang on, but it was just something that had to be done.”
The 15th annual Tinker the Primes event was scheduled for Aug. 18-20 at the Sheraton Midwest City Hotel at the Reed Conference Center.
The conference includes workshops, exhibitor booths, presentations from military senior leaders, and networking opportunities for small businesses, prime contractors and government agencies. About 1,100 people from the aerospace, defense and government contracting attend the event every year.
Cheatwood said the loss of this year’s event will have an impact on the local economy.
“It has a trickle-down effect for the Reed Center, hotels, restaurants and the people who help with audio/visual, printing programs, and setting up,” Cheatwood said.
Cheatwood said they opted not to reschedule the event due to ongoing travel restrictions and uncertainty about COVID-19.
The 2021 Tinker and the Primes will be held Aug. 17-19, 2021 at the Sheraton Hotel at the Reed Conference Center. All registration fees for this year’s event will be refunded or rolled over to the 2021 conference. Cheatwood said many have committed to next year’s event.
“We have made personal phone calls to the exhibitors and sponsors and 90 percent of them want to roll their registration over to 2021,” Cheatwood said. “So that has been very positive.”
Tinker and the Primes is hosted by the Midwest City Chamber of Commerce and Rose State College.