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Redwood Emp letter to AERC

	The situation described in this post is one that is all too familiar to
me.  Up here in Canada, we find that many of the rides in the northern
regions are attended by a very small, if dedicated, number of riders.  All
ride expenses (marking, awards, vets, and sanctioning) need to be met from
the entry fees of a limited number of riders, and it costs almost as much
to put a a small ride as a big one.  Before the mandatory sanctioning of
the LD rides, these fees could be used by ride management to offset the
costs of the entire event; since then, these rides have consistently lost
money for the organizers year after year.  I began writing to various AERC
Directors (my regional directors, the directors-at-large, the Ride Manager
Committee Head, etc) several years ago, pleading for some kind of relief
for the small rides that are still (I hope) a significant part of our
sport.  I mentioned that although I was writing from Canada, I was sure the
situation must also pertain to some US rides--I was thinking Hawaii and
Alaska, though, not California! As opposed to simply complaining, I tried
to offer some suggestions.  (For example, that Day Managers be allowed to
pay only the $10 non-AERC member fee, just like riders, or that a separate
membership category be allowed for non-riding RMs, just like the vets.
This would allow the dedicated riders who are the force behind putting on
the ride to participate it in, without the ride having to pay an entire
membership fee for a non-rider to work their butt off at one ride/year).
No help, although some of these ideas were kicked around at Convention.
Then our (Canadian) dollar went down to $.60+ US, and the problem became
140% worse.  Now the $10 (US--$15 Can.) non-member fee for LD.
	Seven (count 'em) rides in the northern part of BC have elected not to
AERC sanction in 1999.
	They have been discussing this option for several years, and those of us
that are loyal AERC members have been trying to hold back this particular
tide, but it has become impossible.  Few of these people are AERC
members--almost no one rides more than 400 miles in a season, and it is too
far to attend rides in the US.  The organizers can simply no longer justify
sending hundreds of dollars to a foreign country, when so few of their
members see any benefit.
	So:  AERC will be losing all fees, etc, from these rides.  In addition,
the half dozen or so AERC members up there have no incentive to renew their
membership, so these funds will probably be lost as well.  And most
significant of all, the various AERC funding policies have directly led to
the creation of a new entity--the unsanctioned endurance ride (50+ miles). 
	KS Swigart said:
>It would be unfortunate if endurance riding were to go the way of the show
>world where the competitions were divided between the "haves" and the
>"have nots" where the "haves" compete in the rated/sanctioned events and
>the "have nots" go to local/"schooling"/non-rated/non-sanctioned events. 
>It is my observation that the big difference between the rated and the
>non-rated shows is the price, and much of that is contributed to the
>assortment of "fees" that I have to pay at a rated show.
>So yeah, non-member fees are gonna make a difference in who comes to the
>rides.  It may not make a difference in how many people come.  LD rides
>have historically been "shooling" events...and schooling events,
>generally, don't have huge membership fees associated with them.
	I foresaw this exact scenario--unsanctioned "backyard" events for the
"have nots" vs sanctioned event for the "haves"--several years ago, when
this trend became apparent.  I cannot say that I am happy to be proven
right.  If the small rides, in remote areas, can't survive under this
system, or the cost of entry into the sport at the "newbie" level becomes
prohibitive, where will the sport go from here? How many of us want to go

Terre (shoot!--getting intense again!)

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