The first annual Stonemakers Convention, held October 21-23, 2011, was an overwhelming success, featuring inspitaion from keynote speaker Rudy Ruttiger. The following was taken from the Nashua Telegraph:
'Rudy' offers up insights
Former Notre Dame football hero Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger found himself in Nashua last week, a long way from South Bend, Ind.
Ruettiger, the subject of the 1993 film "Rudy," shared his underdog story of walking on to the Notre Dame football team Friday night at the first StoneMakers Dealer Convention at the Radisson Hotel.
The convention was hosted by StoneMakers, an outdoor design and landscape company based in Manchester. But Ruettiger stole the show, delivering the keynote address.
"I wasn't a candidate for the university academically or athletically, and I don't think you were, either," Ruettiger told the crowd. "Looking at you, I think we're both in the same boat: dreamers."
StoneMakers founder David Montoya, a lifelong college football fan, said he chose Ruettiger to headline the convention because his company shares Ruettiger's underdog outlook.
"We wanted someone that is the heart of what we're all about," he said Friday. "Everybody told (Rudy) he couldn't do it, and he just said, 'I don't care. I'm going to do it anyway.' And he did, and he created his legacy on it. ... That's what we're doing here."
Ruettiger's Hollywood story is almost as unlikely as his football one, he said Friday before the convention.
In the years after he left Notre Dame, Ruettiger worked as a car salesman, among other jobs. But in the 1980s, he took his story to Hollywood in hopes of making a movie.
Despite long odds, producers picked up the film, and it was released nationwide.
The movie, which starred Sean Astin, later of "The Lord of the Rings" fame, included some errors, but, "They got 98 percent accuracy, so we were happy," Ruettiger said.
"But it doesn't matter whether it's fact or fiction. Really, you can't get caught up with what happened. It's what you got out of the movie - the message. That's what's important."
Ruettiger, who now lives in Las Vegas, was scheduled to fly out Saturday to South Bend, home of Notre Dame, for the football team's rivalry game against the University of Southern California. And he was quick to offer a prediction.
"Notre Dame should win," he said. "They will win when they come to the finalization that they deserve this win."