Seventeen years ago the Association of Professional Piercers decided to put together a yearly conference. Little did they/we know that it would turn into an international phenomenon that would bring so many people together. Although the event is more accurately called “conference” to most the annual Vegas gathering is generally just know as APP.

Each year the APP conference features classes, lectures, and workshops that help to educate piercers of all levels, but of course the conference is much, much more. The spirit of the event is one of community, open sharing of information, and lets not forget entertainment. Besides the fact that Vegas is known for its nightlife, the APP too has it’s own grand event. A banquet dinner is held the last night of conference to celebrate, remember, and honor people that have affected the world of piercing. This year was no different, except for the fact that two of our very own received awards.

First of the night came the Josh A. Prentice Volunteer Award that was presented to our very own Gus Diamond. Some of you might remember Gus, and his group Suspended Animation from the Hook Life piece Sandbar Spirituality. The award is given out once a year to honor a conference volunteer that has gone above and beyond to help make the event the huge success that has become.

As the evening continues, it is often filled with mentions, acknowledgements, thank yous, and more awards. However, the most prestigious award is held until the very end. Each year the president of the APP has the daunting task of honoring just one person that has impacted the body piercing industry like no other. This year the award was presented to Steve Joyner.

For anyone involved in suspension, this man should need no introduction. His brainchild CoRE (Constructs of Ritual Evolution) is hands down the most successful and widely known performance troupe to integrate suspension into their shows.  He’s been a part of the body modification industry for over 2 decades during which time he served as vice president of the APP, sat on several different committees, worked as an educator and a facilitator, and most importantly spent countless hours dealing with legislators to protect both the piercing and suspension communities alike.

Steve may not have an official title in the world of suspension, but if you call me the “father” then Steve would definitely be the Godfather of Modern Suspension. I can say with out hesitation that if it weren’t for his tireless efforts neither suspension nor body piercing would have reached the levels of safety, notoriety, and acceptance that world knows today.

Congratulations both Gus and Steve. We are proud and honored that you are both members of our community!