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ON THE ICE, the kids had it covered. But off the ice, it was Los Angeles-based Bartsch Trotter & Associates that wowed the crowd with a Hollywood themed “draw party” — one of two events they produced for the 2002 State Farm National Figure Skating Championships, held in Los Angeles in January.

To develop the draw — a tradition where skaters choose the order in which they will compete, explains partner Charles Trotter — Bartsch Trotter project manager Ruth Moyté worked with volunteer Carol Nitake of the United States Figure Skating Association's Culver City, Calif.-based local organizing committee. According to Trotter, design inspiration came directly from host venue the Millennium Biltmore Hotel, once home to the Academy Awards. With a nod to the entertainment industry's top honors, Moyté created a glittering wall of “Hollywood statuettes” with numbers on their bases, which skaters selected to find their lineup spot.

Besides sorting out skating order, Trotter says, the event was designed to give 550 guests — skaters age eight to 30 and their families, plus coaches, officials and competition organizers — a chance to socialize.

Both Trotter and Nitake tout this event as a smash. But, they agree, the bond between a temporary local organizing group and a professional planning company isn't forged easily.

Nitake says she contacted “a lot of event planners” before tapping Bartsch Trotter, which impressed her with its follow-through. In addition to Moyté being the mother of a figure skater herself, Nitake says, Bartsch Trotter “were the ones who really came through with a concrete proposal.”

Trotter notes that while working with Nitake's committee proved a positive experience, planners thinking of partnering with a temporary committee “should be really aware of who they're doing business with.” One way his company has found to skirt potential problems: “If we carry any balance past the start of the event, it's less than 10 percent,” he says. “Whatever amount we work out, 90 percent is paid before the show date.”

Bartsch Trotter & Associates 2337 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 90291; 310/822-1882;

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