It is official and I can now share it with TASA members, Sledheads and any other interested persons.
As you know, the Tahquamenon Area Snowmobile Association election of officers is March 31, 2009
Last night at the TASA meeting, Prez Bob Brown (who has served as Prez for 2 consecutive years and Trail Boss for over a decade) announced that he would not be running for any office and would no longer be Trail Boss. His wife, Judy Brown, has served as TASA Treasurer (and within the past two years Grant Writer) for 10 years and she will not be running for Treasurer.
Bob and Judy have both given unselfishly of their time for TASA, the Newberry area and you sledders…and they had nothing to gain by it other than the satisfaction of helping out. They do not own a business that benefits from their participation and dedication to TASA and the area; they have done it just because that is the type of giving people that they are. I don’t think most people realize just what they have given up to do this for you over the past decade….and all the running around, and back and forth from their home to the TASA barn (which probably is 15 miles one way), meeting with the DNR, listening to complaints from locals who aren’t even TASA members (it is hard enough listening to complaints from people who ARE TASA members, especially when you have tried to do a good job)…anyone who has served on a snowmobile association board knows what I’m talking about.
A snowmobile association is not like the Chamber or a Tourism Association or your local Kiwanis. First of all, using TASA as an example, think about the property that TASA as a whole had to purchase in order to build a barn which would house the grooming equipment and all the other tools and equipment necessary to keep the trails maintained (from brushing and signing to the actual grooming). Tires go flat, oil needs changed, routine maintenance must be performed every so many hours on the tractors, cleats on the tracks need changed…there is always something.
When the trail signing is completed, then the trails have to be inspected by the DNR BEFORE a club will be approved for start up money. There are a LOT of State hoops to jump through in order to get that grant money. (Some of you may wonder how much grant money amounts to and what it is used for….here is a quick example just for the month of January…TASA’s January reimbursement for grooming was $22,047.77. Out of that, things like our monthly diesel fuel bill of $7,728.76, propane to heat the barn at $689.73, repairs and maintenance can be nothing or they can be upwards of $1000. Currently, TASA has a pending grant of $4980 for repairs on Groomer 11. Groomer # 9 has to be “shipped out” and the bill for that is going to be about $11,000…grant is pending. So you can see that a snowmobile association is NOT like your local Chamber. )
Long hours are put in by groomer operators and the mechanics. While the groomers are out on the trail, someone “back home” has to be responsible for being in radio contact WITH those guys out on the trail…would YOU want to be the person who had to “sleep” with a communications radio (similar to what the county road crews use) at the head of your bed?? It is necessary because you never know what could go wrong out on the trail (such as the track issue a week ago where Groomer Dan and Mechanic Jerry got called out in the middle of the night out in the middle of the trail system to put the track back together). And Prez Bob always has a radio at his side at home so even though he might not be on call, he is constantly monitoring what is going on out on the trail…and you can bet if he is needed, he will be right there to respond. And there have been times when even Treasurer Judy has had to take over the radio at night due to no one else being available and Bob was out grooming (to check things over for himself). Or think about being out on the trail in white out conditions. Even our most experienced groomers, Bob and Dan, have had that happen…it can be pretty frightening when you can’t even see the trail and you for sure don’t want to have a breakdown during those conditions.
So no, TASA is not like the Chamber or a Tourism Association.
I’m making it sound all bad, but that isn’t the intention. If there wasn’t some good to outweigh all of this, NO GROOMING ASSOCIATION WOULD EXIST! All of us have gotten personal satisfaction of some sort out of serving on the board, or being a mechanic or a groomer operator. There is the camaraderie of the group that we have become over the past 10 years, the interaction with the sledders, the emails from sledders (good or bad), “TASA fans” who bend over backwards to assist the club in any way they can (be it helping out on the trail if a groomer is broken down or stuck, donating needed equipment no matter how big or small, becoming a member of TASA)…all kinds of ways we get satisfaction from being involved. THERE IS HAVING THE HONOR OF NEWBERRY TRAILS BEING NAMED 5TH IN THE NATION OF THE BEST PLACES TO GO SNOWMOBILING, AND BEING NAMED 1ST BY LAKE SUPERIOR MAGAZINE.
True, the whiners and complainers take the wind out of our sails every once in a while, but those are normally people who do NOT understand the grooming operations, or that even the texture of the snow or the temperature makes a big difference on how the trails turn out after grooming, or the “hot-doggers” who purposely tear up the trails just to see how far and how high they can throw snow.
Some of the people at the meeting last night tried to cajole Bob into staying on at least as Trail Boss. Another person said that since Dan and I had made our announcement first (that I would not be serving as Secretary/Trail reporter and Dan will not be a groomer operator), that Bob and Judy had to stay another year; that all 4 of us could not leave at once.
It WILL be extremely strange for all of us to not be involved with TASA after the election and we all truly hope that there are people in our community who are more than willing to throw their hat in the ring and serve on the board. We have all taken pride in what we have done...and that is how we came by the motto;
WE TAKE PRIDE IN YOUR RIDE!
Time will tell….a month to go….
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