Some miscellaneous ramblings about the SCCA National Convention…
One of the nice things about being RE of Colorado is that it is a Jumbo Region, grouped in with San Francisco, Atlanta, Washington D.C. and some others. Colorado is a small Jumbo (an oxymoron, like “jumbo shrimp”) but a Jumbo nonetheless. The Big Board and the Topeka staff make themselves available for quite a bit of private face time with the REs of the Jumbo Regions because collectively they represent a very large percentage of the total membership.
This year I was going to the convention immediately following the publication of the new Runoffs qualifying scheme. Those of you who were at the Colorado Region membership meeting in January, or have seen the discussion on our website forum, or maybe the Prod forum (gasp!) know that the reduction in qualifying requirements to nothing more than four National finishes is controversial at best and highly unpopular at worst. I won’t go into all the arguments here; you can read them on the forum. But I did raise the issue at the Jumbo Region meeting with the BOD. In the discussion that followed, Central Florida Region reported that, as soon as the change was announced, 25 entrants for their recent National cancelled their entries. You should know that this change was implemented by the previous BOD, and there were Directors at the meeting who voiced their disagreement with the decision. About all I can tell you is that we were assured that the BOD has heard a lot of complaints and will be continuing to discuss the issue and will monitor the impact of the change. In any case, I felt honored to have the opportunity to take the concerns of our local members directly to the Board and argue in person on their behalf.
Problems with car counts, declining worker numbers, costs, and competition from other car clubs and recreational activities appear to be common in all the Jumbo Regions. The REs all agreed that the regions need more flexibility from Topeka to make their programs successful given each region’s unique circumstances. At one point the 5-run-group rule for National events was brought up. I mentioned the “phantom” run group technique that has been implemented here, and was complimented on “a devious and practical solution”. So kudos to those among our RMD Stewards who thought of it.
In another session, entitled “Event Management – Doing More with Less”, the attendees were divided into groups and asked to come up with a plan to staff a 10-turn racetrack with a total of 40 workers across all specialties as an exercise in dealing with the downturn in volunteers. Some of us were asking how this differs from what we do every race weekend. It’s nice to know we are on the cutting edge of the future of SCCA, isn’t it?
There will be more in Redline next month on specific information discussed at the convention. Topeka is making the individual session presentations available to us, but did not yet have them compiled.
I thought you might like to know how we were selected to win the 2009 Region Achievement Award for Jumbo Regions, so I asked. The Region Achievement Award is based on six categories: Potential Growth, Membership Retention, Change in Total Membership, Weekend Membership Conversions to Full Membership, Number of Programs Offered, and Total Number of Events Offered. With the exception of Total Events, Colorado Region placed in the top three in all the other five categories, including placing first in Weekend Membership Conversion and first in Number of Programs. And even though times have been tough, Colorado Region still experienced a 2% growth in membership in 2009. Every member of Colorado Region can and should be proud of what we all do to keep amateur motorsports alive and well such that We the People can participate in it, not just watch it on TV.
Finally, for those who have a bit of history in the club, I got to hear Pete Hylton refer to Nick Craw as “the Devil Incarnate” as he introduced Nick for induction into the SCCA Hall of Fame.
On another note, Colorado Region monthly membership meetings have for some time been suffering from being held in a very small venue at the Breckenridge Brewery. We are looking for a larger room. Among our criteria are: a private room, food and drink available with good variety and reasonable price, central metro Denver location with quick access from major highways, abundant free parking, no additional room charge other than the business we bring, and no funny smells from the back of the building. Not much to ask, really. If anyone has any candidates that they would like to suggest, email me jrgbox [at] yahoo.com and we will check it out. When we find a new home we will post it on the website, in the forums, and email blast it to you in plenty of time for the following meeting.