The California Four Wheel Drive Association conducted its 62nd annual Convention this last weekend. As with many things this year, it was forced to be done for the most part electronically. It was certainly a new experience, but the technological experience of our staff and the patience of our members made for a fun and productive event. My special thanks go to Convention Chair Bonnie Ferguson for maintaining flexibility through the planning process and implementation of this hybrid undertaking.
The highlight of Convention is always the Raffle Vehicle Program and the giveaway of our fantastic vehicle each year. In November, with the cancellation of so many of our events and possible display locations, it appeared that this program was in deep jeopardy. Through the combined work of the committee and many volunteers, the program roared back and finished with the highest gross sales of any vehicle in our history. There will certainly be more detail about all of this published in the upcoming In Gear. Please look for all the specifics, along with the story of the winner, who happens to be from North Carolina!
Success breeds success. Chris Silveira of the Santa Rosa 4x4’s was ratified to chair the 2021-2022 Raffle Vehicle. Metal Cloak has once again agreed to be our master builder and supply this vehicle and over landing configuration. Chris has put together a strong committee that still needs your help to succeed. There will be plenty of opportunities in the coming year to be part of this exciting program. The Raffle Vehicle Program is so important to our membership that the Life Members agreed to loan a portion of their reserves to become the seed money for this vehicle.
The success of the Raffle Vehicle was the foundation for a positive financial report that included much greater detail for many areas that had been under scrutiny. It was clear that the board of directors has been and will continue to work in the best interests of the association with sound fiscal management. There were several “out of the box” projects and events that also added to the financial stability of the association. With the generous donations from clubs and individuals at Convention and the across-the-board cost cutting, the association is on a trajectory to be financially stable through this fiscal year. This certainly does not mean that all the things the association needs to do are able to be funded, nor are projecting a normal cash flow in the early part of the upcoming fiscal year.
As a working tool for the board of directors, it was agreed that a commercial line of credit be established using our building as collateral. Funding available through this line of credit can only be used to reestablish our natural resource consultant contracts and lobbying efforts. We are hopeful this tool will need to be used extremely sparingly as our events come back. The board of directors will work expeditiously to get Request for Proposals (RFPs) out for the natural resource consultant position. It is the plan of the board to have financing and quality candidates before May.
After a long and often complicated search for insurance that would allow for the inclusion of side-by-sides in our events, the board accepted the recommendations of the search committee. I recognize that this has been a slow process. Event insurance of any sort can be difficult to acquire. When this is complicated by the fact that we are a club/organization and not a business entity, that we require additional insured endorsements for the federal government, and now the inclusion of a relatively new vehicle type, the list of interested insurance carriers became extremely small. The board has agreed to start small allowing side by sides and other green sticker vehicles at Molina, Hi Desert Round-Up, High Sierra Poker Run and Sierra Trek. A committee chaired by Ron Delaney will be creating specific event guidelines to be sure we stay in compliance with all regulating authority.
The need to increase transparency of our financial inner workings was very apparent this weekend. Your trust of the 13 people from around the state that make up the board of directors needs to be strengthened. The board is made up of people like you, volunteers with a deep interest in making sure the association is well managed. It was exciting to see three people competing for the office of association treasurer. It was a real indication of the dedication of our volunteers. I look forward to working with Russ Chung as he remains our treasurer for the next two years. And a thank you to Debbie Stephens and Don Spuhler for tossing their hats in the ring.
There is no doubt that the events of 2020 kicked the crap out of our association. But this Convention showed we’re willing to stand back up and make the future better, stronger and more involved than ever. This next year will be a time of change. We will need your help and support to make a success of our association and most importantly be a force in OHV strategy moving forward.
I want to thank all of those who were willing to Zoom away their weekend, the committee that made this possible, the hard work of Suzy Johnson to make this technologically possible, and all of you for the support of our association!President Jack Chapman