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Re: [RC] ENTRY FEES - Barbara McCrary

Very detailed rundown on ride managers' expenses, Angie.  Very good.
I have been able to save money by printing all my own signs with a printing program on my computer and a laser printer.  Also rider cards (on cover stock), rider lists, trail profiles, etc. on regular paper.  I use staples for attaching the signs to trees.  I print labels for ride finish order.  I save flagging from year to year, because it is tied on clothespins.  Some of our flagging is going into its 5th year, at least.  A bit faded, but it still works.  I buy thin brown paper envelopes in large quantity at a paper, restaurant and janitorial supply business.  Light sticks are a huge expense.  We use 250-300 or so, at least $1 apiece.
The rider fee has gone up, and that's no small potatoes.  Also, in CA, we are required to pay the state a drug testing fee of at least $5 per horse, maybe more now, and a drug tester almost NEVER comes to the ride.  I resent that fee, but there's nothing we can do about it.
Someone mentioned counting meals.  We require riders to indicate how many meals they want and to pay up front.  We pay the caterer for what we order, whether or not the meals are eaten.  No one HAS to order a Friday meal, but the awards breakfast is included in the entry fee.  If someone cancels, we will refund everything but the cost of the meals, unless they cancel before I have sent in the order, which is about one week in advance.  In that case, we just destroy the check.
We feed the vets and secretaries Friday night, Sat. lunch, Sat. dinner, and Sunday breakfast.
We would be paying a hefty special use fee to the state park, but I convinced them to waive that because we help keep the trails cleared.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, June 01, 2008 1:36 PM
Subject: [RC] ENTRY FEES

>>>, the purchasing of items to mark the trail; a small completion award and payments to vets(usually the vets are owners of our sport, as well, and only charge according to the number of horses) all else is considered FRILLS.
Again, I am a no frills person, but for my ride there were lots of incidentals...like having someone come from out of state and driving around borrowing water tanks and hauling water to remote locations for a couple of days. Even when he wouldn't accept anything but gas it was a fair amount (but worth twice that!). Some of our SERA "professional volunteers" come from a long way off and work their butts off. Gas is about all they charge for working so hard but that is another ride manager cost that is worth much more and appreciated *immensely*. I consider those costs as basic as paying vets.
Here are a few items from my checkbook I wouldn't have thought of in pre-ride budget:
Stamps (boy have they gone up!)
Copy paper for rider cards
Copying ride flyers & cards
100 Brown envelopes for rider packets
Gas to run around town doing that.
Food & drink for volunteers
Lots of flagging
Paper plates & 4 rolls of colored duct tape to make arrows (that stuff's expensive!)
Staples for staple gun
Office materials, legal pads, packages of ink pens, staples, paper clips, etc.
Gas money for those who spent a lot for the "privilage" of volunteering >ha!<
more gas money to go clear trails (at $25 per trip to my trail I'm afraid to add it all up!)
cattle markers
electric posts to lay out vet check
Big markers (those are expensive) to make signs.
That's not even getting into T-shirts & awards expenses.
The last time I was ride secretary I believe I paid $1.50 per entry to AERC (could be wrong...1988 or so). Was a little shocked to see I owed AERC $6 per entry and SERA $2.
Regions could save managers a *lot* of money by making a list of riders who absolutely know how to use the internet and don't need their flyers mailed to them. Riders should update their e-mail address with AERC. I wrestled with that trying to find a way around it, but when one person who bring 3 entries almost didn't know about the ride if it hadn't been for me mailing it out by snail mail, I realize that mailing may be worth the expense.
I still did OK financially. There is a profit. I had good weather and people decided to come despite gas prices. It would be fun to think "Hey, I made a profit being a ride manager, this is a good deal!"  Except...I realize that if they'd forecast rain for 4 days prior to my ride and if it had been lightning at the start like this morning I might have suddenly had 45 starters instead of 90 and lost more than I gained this year...so I'm just shooting for averages. I'm *so* thankful to get to start out ahead or there would be no "next time" but since I did, the ride can have its own emergency account for next year rather than risk my family's finances.  When Wesley Crowe can tell me he lost money with 160 entries I know I'm walking on thin ice.
One thing I won't do is limit entries by raising the price. When I said I might have to limit the ride someone said, just raise the price and that will limit it, but I don't care for that route. I'll keep the entry reasonable and first come first serve.

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[RC] ENTRY FEES, rides2far