I love magic conventions, been going to them for 33 years. My first one was the Wizards Conclave in Cleveland 1978; I took second place in the junior close-up contest. Seems like a lifetime (or 2) ago. I was 12 years old. In subsequent years, through my adolesence I would regularly attend the Magi-Fest in Columbus, Ohio. That's where I would meet Gary Plants.
Gary (on left) is a hardcore underground card man. Back in the day when the best sessions at the Magi-Fest were hosted by Bill Miesel in the Precursor Suite, Gary never failed to leave a room full of magicians without their jaws on the floor. Yes, he's that good. As a teenager I had never seen someone do such beautiful bottom dealing. In recent years, he's been manufacturing some of the most diabolically clever custom card gimmicks at his Card Plant in Texas.
Recently Gary and his wife retired from 30+ years in education. He has a sparkle in his eye and spring in his step. His chops are as good as ever and it was a real pleasure to spend some time in his company. In this picture, he's showing Steve and me a wonderful routine of his own construct. I'll see him again, if I head down to San Diego for Magic Con.