From mud to stud: A recap of Chicago and MWFA’s FSTNR week, 2023 edition

By Lonni Kieffer

No one from Phoenix will ever lament time in the Midwest in August, and this year’s trip was extended to include a few bonus events.

First, the Mud

It’s been a decade since an obstacle race was on the docket but when we heard 25+ fastener industry folks were gathering to conquer the Rugged Maniac course ahead of FSTNR week, we decided to join them!

Not only was there a lot of mud, but there was also teamwork, camaraderie, laughter, cheers, and pride. We climbed over walls and under barbed wire and conquered many challenges across three miles at the Lake County Fairgrounds. Best part: we crossed the finish line as a team, the Rugged Nuts.

Next, we built the beds

BTM Manufacturing and Abbott Interfast partnered up to host a Sleep in Heavenly Peace bed build. We were honored to move on from mud to sawdust and help build 97 beds for local kids who need and deserve them.

Finally, MWFA’s FSTNR week…and the stud?

From plant tours to print reading seminars, a panel discussion on artificial intelligence, and industry training, the week’s agenda included something for everyone, and culminated in a Back to the 80’s Fastener Bash.

The costumes were rad, the side ponytails were swinging, and there were many attendees who made shocking transformations. We’ll let you decide if the term ‘stud’ should stay specific to our bed build, based on the photos, but it was the perfect finale to an incredible week! 



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