Nab, Bill, Rus and everyone else:
Speaking as the “other Director” who attended the LISST Drags this year, I must say that it clearly was a thoroughly planned and well executed event. Having read about it on this forum and elsewhere for several years, I specifically planned my trip out to Pennsylvania and New Jersey so that I could attend the Drag Day. I was really danged glad that I did, too. If it didn’t take place 2,800 miles from home, I would plan on being there again next year, if there was any way I could!
I was thrilled to have the opportunity to attend both the LISST event and Mountain MadneSS. I was able to do this, even though MM (from a Director’s perspective) began the very next day after Drag Day, and I had responsibilities relating to the planning, organizing and execution of the MM week. My point is, having the two events adjacent to one another on the calendar enabled me to attend both, although I probably could have done more in my role as one of the Board of Directors members in the implementation of the Nationals if I had not wanted to join in the big fun at Englishtown. Although they are not in the same corner of the country in 2006, the LISST Drag Day is not scheduled for the same day as Indy. Karl intends to participate in both, and I would think that other members of Northeast clubs could do so, too.
Bill’s point is well taken that as one of the leaders of his club, he will have responsibilities immediately prior to next year’s LISST Drag Day. Being a principal planner/organizer of one of the biggest B-body events in the Western U.S. (Reno RODarama), I can attest to the fact that there is a huge list of details to be taken care of in the final days before the event. I can also confirm that there is never ONE date choice that works well for EVERYONE who might attend an event. In fact, if one can avoid alienating any more than 20-25% of prospective attendees with the date that is ultimately chosen, one is doing pretty danged well. Believe me, the ISSCA Board of Directors is sensitive to the fact that some members simply cannot attend the national event because of scheduling conflicts. The idea is not to be “dicks” about it and ignore other club events on the calendar, but to try to accommodate the maximum number of members possible, within the limitations imposed by the availability of venues and dates.
Everyone needs to recognize the huge amount of work and effort that goes into selecting a date and venue for the ISSCA Nationals. Potential venues to host the event are somewhat limited, nationally, as the location must be able to accommodate drag racing, a big track road race event, autocross, and a nice, scenic venue for the car show and sound-off competitions. How much calendar juggling do you suppose goes into trying to coordinate the availability of venues for each of these activities within the same three or four days? The issue of the cost of such venues has been raised in this thread, and it is enormous. Would you be surprised to hear that ISSCA had to spend over $15,000 on track rental and insurance costs for our driving events this year? You don’t even want to know what that would be if we had scheduled the events on a weekend! It sure starts to make that $25 competition license sound like a bargain, doesn’t it?
So, it is clear from this thread that there are a number of people for whom the dates selected for Indy just won’t work. Who would like to propose the new dates and arrange the venues for an alternative? Many on this thread make it sound as though the leadership of the national club went out of its way to ensure there was going to be a conflict with another major B-body event. What could possibly be the motivation for that? Would not ISSCA have an interest in ensuring the maximum attendance at any event it sponsors and sanctions? Wouldn’t there be great incentive for ISSCA to try to select dates especially appealing to enthusiastic members like those from the Northeast? Do you really think the Impala SS “community calendar” was not consulted in trying to select the date that would work for the maximum number of members?
Bill, I do not mean - in any way - to diminish the contribution and participation of LISST members at this year’s nationals, but even if there were 15 members from your club who attended MM, that still is less than 10 percent of the total attendance. You admitted, yourself, that you had to cajole some of those members into attending. So, how many LISST members might we have expected to attend Indy if it were scheduled on a date that did NOT conflict with Drag Day? If we view this purely as a statistical analysis, it would seem that the calendar proximity to LISST’s biggest event of the year might alienate a few ISSCA members who might have driven to Indy . . . even if there were not a calendar conflict . . . but as Abe Lincoln said, we can’t please all the people all the time. The goal is to try to accommodate the biggest majority.
Again, I don’t intend to minimize the importance of including as many members as ISSCA possibly can in its national event, nor do I mean to debate the significance of a calendar conflict with another major B-body event. Unfortunately, the reality of life is that “for the members” can never mean “for 100% of the members” in every instance. The club’s leaders have to attempt to accommodate the maximum number, and inconvenience the minimum number of participants. Beyond that, we are also at the whim of the calendars of each one of the necessary venues, including the hotel for the big event.
As for “putting it to a vote” where and when we hold our national event, who gets to select the choices presented on such a ballot? Do we expect three or four Directors in different parts of the country to simultaneously go through all the effort of trying to calendar the availability of all the venues necessary to accommodate the ISSCA nationals, so the choices can be available to members who sit back and wait to harvest the fruits of those efforts? Imagine the immense amount of work required for even ONE group of local club leaders to try to schedule coordinated alternative dates for each of the major venues in their own area.
So, we contact the management of the local “big track,” and find three available dates. Then we contact the local drag race facility and make sure they are available either the day before or day after EACH (not just one, because we need to have a choice) of those three available dates. Next, we contact the owner of an open parking lot facility with sufficient “paddock” space to accommodate an autocross event, and ensure that the facility is going to be available on dates immediately adjacent to ALL the SAME three selections coordinated between the big track and the drag track. With that accomplished, we find a large park, golf course, or other suitable scenic venue that will allow us to park a couple hundred car and not draw complaints from the neighborhood about a sound-off competition, maybe a mobile dyno, and hundreds of people traipsing in and out of the location. And, of course, they have to be willing to commit to three different dates, the SAME as all the other facilities, to allow us to decide which one we want. Finally, we arrange with the hotel/resort to provide us a sizable block of rooms, and without making a commitment to any particular week, we simply convince them to hold THREE separate spots on the calendar open just for us to decide which one we want.
OK, the groundwork is laid, and having now coordinated all the necessary facilities with three optional dates on all the calendars, we put this to a vote of the ISSCA membership. Since not all ISSCA members are Internet-enabled, I guess we will have to mail a postcard, as was suggested in this thread, to every dues-paying member to voice an opinion, wait for everybody to return their card, gather all the responses and tabulate the results, and only THEN can we nail down commitments for the dates selected by the MAJORITY of those responding. Trust me, friends, it ain’t going to happen. Note, too, that the result of all this monumental effort is that we appease the MAJORITY of the members who respond, and some folks are going to be severely disappointed in whatever choice is made.
Let me ask you this. When you’re putting next month’s meeting date and venue on the calendar for your local club, are you always able to take into consideration each individual’s availability and desire for which restaurant, park, speed shop, etc. that is chosen? Of course the answer is that it would be impossible to do so. Now, imagine trying to coordinate a few hundred members’ desires with the limited availability of a drag race track, a motor speedway, an autocross parking lot, a park or other venue for a car show and sound-off competition, and a resort/hotel that will quote decent rates for a large block of rooms. I think it is pretty remarkable that this can be accomplished - with any degree of success - and such has been done by the ISSCA BoD three years in a row now, with the bulk of such efforts already having been completed for next year.
Bottom line . . . no matter what date is selected, some will not be able to attend. It is unfortunate that the availability of all the necessary venues resulted in the national event for ‘06 being immediately contiguous to the LISST Drag Day. It is further unfortunate that some folks will have family, church, patriotic or other activities scheduled for the Independence Day weekend and will not be able to participate at Indy. Isn’t it great that we live in America, where we can choose to go drag racing, take in a ballgame, go to our hometown parade and barbecue in the backyard, or attend our favorite car club’s national event - all on the same weekend? Wouldn’t it be cool if we didn’t have to choose, and could do everything we wanted to on the same weekend?
So, how is that for “spouting the party line,” Rusty? In actuality, I am speaking purely for myself in this message, and have no “authority” to represent ISSCA to this thread. I do happen to know, however, a little bit about how much effort has gone into the planning for Indy, and how tremendously difficult it would be to, essentially, start the process over again. In the end, chances are very good that a whole new category or regional club of ISSCA members would be inconvenienced by whatever alternative date is selected. I would be willing to bet that we would hear from folks squawking that we should have planned the event to coincide with time that they already had off work - like, for instance, the July 4 weekend! How wonderful it would be to satisfy the needs and desires of EVERY member of ISSCA in EVERY decision made by the Board of Directors.