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I've heard good things about them, but never attended one myself.

 

I see you are in Michigan.  There is a very active group of rod builders in Michigan.  I believe they still have pretty regular get togethers to talk rod building, and are always welcoming to new builders.  They are a great group of guys.  I'm willing to bet that you should be able to find a mentor or three within MRBs group and get all of the tutelage you need.  I'm pretty sure one of the founding members of that group is now down in FL working for American Tackle.

 

http://www.michiganrodbuilders.com/home.html

 

A couple other guys and myself have tried to run a group for Ohio Rod Builders in the past.  We generally struggled with bringing in enough people to cover the cost of the venue rental and keep the entry fee low.  Profit was never the goal, only to share information and promote the craft.  Leftover money would serve as a deposit for the next event's venue and maybe a few door prizes.  I'll be returning to OH soon, and will hopefully give it one last go sometime in the next 12 to 18 months.

 

You'll find some very talented builders show up at the little grass roots events, as well as some newbies to the craft.  Everyone learns something, and has a great time.

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