2012 AKA Grand Nationals – Day 3

With the late night, we pushed our alarms forward another 30 minutes and after a stiff cup of French press (so glad I brought it), we once more made our way over to the convention center for the morning workshops… Mostly wandering the hallways chatting with folks, we did very briefly stick our heads into Make a Rokkaku by Ronda Brewer, Kites as Art by Jon Burkhardt, Banners – Spice Up Your Life by Carveth Kramer and Make a Prairie Glider by Paul Fieber.

The glider workshop literally spilled out into the atrium as it was held upstairs and folks simply stepped out the door to release their creations (actual gliders – not kites) from a decent height, much to the surprise of unsuspected victims below… Made out of styrofoam plates, they were totally safe and had kitefliers playing like children for a little while – too much fun.

I believe I mentioned in a previous update that my Word on the Field workshop was going to be this morning, but it would appear the late night writing got the better of me… It’s actually scheduled for tomorrow, just in case you were wondering why it wasn’t included in the report today.

Volunteers at the registration desk were still at it receiving late arrivals, and the bag raffle opened today with a whole bunch of great items up for grabs… Old kite prints, classic sport kites, t-shirts, pins, single line art kites, old VHS tapes, way too much to name but so much of it well worth dropping some tickets on.

Finishing up there, TK and I headed over to the Wooden Nickel for a real (but good) greasy spoon breakfast before finally headed out to the flying fields where some folks had been flying since fairly early in the morning… The wind was up quite a bit more than yesterday with a fairly steady 10-13 mph through most of the day, and not a could in sight – temperatures were probably in the high 70s to low 80s – so comfortable!!

The sport kite events continued, and I was actually recruited to judge both Experienced and Masters Multiline Ballet (MMB had the largest flight order of AKAGN wth 8 competitors)… Glad it I had the opportunity to be on that judging panel as there were some good performances today, particularly Mark Quirmbach from California who flew a really, really stellar routine, so much so that I was actually glad I wasn’t flying against him this week!

I know I said we’d decided not to post scores due to TBA blocking out the names, but as you’ll see below – the fliers are actually shown on the sheets are in random order, but without giving away who earned what scores (look for final results in Saturday’s update) – in the meantime, we’ll keep posting scores as they become available (usually the day after).

Our attending fighter kite pilots held skill building games, Ronda Brewer followed up her earlier indoor workshop with the outdoor workshop How To Fly Rokkakus, the Memorial Fly (white kites flown for kiters who have passed on), a mass ascension of cellular and dimensional kites, as well as “open fly” periods scheduled at six different points of the day (although they are really assigned for the folks who are busy the rest of the time with various events.

The comprehensive kitemaking competition commenced today with twelve categories on the schedule and some really nice kites being judged for their build quality, aesthetics and flight capability… Mike Mosman presided as the head judge, and kept a good dialogue going over the mic in-between sport kite events.

There was a good turnout from the media today (newspapers and TV), and it would seem Enid locals are starting to find us as we saw more non-fliers than yesterday, many I saw engaged in conversation with fliers on the sidelines – spreading the bug no doubt!

I got about 30 minutes total on my short line (30′) Rev, playing with the wind and giving occasional lessons or pointers to folks who stopped to chat, TK was also roaming ALL around the field with her own short line Rev… Good times, and due to the “intimacy” (smaller than average group of attendees) I have had a chance to meet a ton of passionate kiters that I normally don’t have the chance to connect with, the whole event has been chock-full of positive energy and really, I haven’t seen any sign of the major contentions (political and otherwise) that we’ve struggled with in recent years.

A full day already behind us, we dashed back to the room for a quick clean up, scarfed down dinner at a local (and so so) Chinese buffet, then to the convention center once more for the annual AKA business meeting where attending members and the board of directors have a chance to interact in person, discuss the business side of the AKA and catch up on current affairs… Barbara Meyer presented The President’s Report, Mel Hickman was called away today on family business but his Executive Director’s Report was presented by our president Barbara Meyer, the Treasurer’s Report was presented by Cliff Quinn, By-law Reports by Ted Manekin and Nominating Committee by Kathy Brinnehl.

I won’t bore you with the details, except for one item that really caught my attention in relation to AKA members around the country which involves the re-consideration of reapportioning regions, something the by-laws require the leadership to do every 3 years because the different AKA regions naturally fluctuate every year which sometimes leads to one region having nearly double as many members than some of the others – the potential issue with this is an imbalance in geographical representation, and reapportionment sometimes gives regional directors too large an area to cover, making this a perpetually challenging but sometimes necessary topic.

Now for the Gayle Woodul took the mic and presented this years Election Results for the regional directors (congratulations to Scott Davis for Region 10, Tom McAlister for Region 11 and Glenn Rothstein for Region 12) as well as the results for the position of president.

*heart beating wildly – why are my palms so wet?*

Amidst a bunch of 1-10 write-in votes for various folks and characters, I was elected with an extremely positive tally (I think it was around 594) but that part and the actual work to come isn’t what had me going (not at all), it’s what came next – stepping on stage, verbally accepting the election, reading off my executive committees, asking for the motion to accept that list and trying to communicate my sentiments and passion for the job ahead amidst my lack of public speaking experience (I’ll get over it with time)… Still, I don’t think I floundered too badly and at the end of the day, I know and genuinely enjoy way more than half the folks who attended tonight so it was all worth it and folks pretty much know what I’m about anyway.

Here is the Executive Committee I’ve selected for 2012:

  • Vice President – Gayle Woodul (TX)
  • 2nd Vice President – Linda Sanders (AU)*
  • Treasurer – Rod Beamguard (WA)
  • Secretary – Alexa King (WA)*
  • Director at Large – Simon Crafts (OH)
  • Director at Large – Mike Mosman (MD)*
  • Director at Large – Bob Kelly (VA)*
  • Director at Large – Glenn Davison (CT)*

* = retained

Deepest thanks to outgoing president Barbara Meyer and her team, who along with some passionate volunteers, has managed to stop the financial bleeding and generally stabilize the overall organization – this will make the incoming team’s job that much easier and truthfully, some of the credit for any future successes can go to the foundation left in place for them.

For those who might ask, don’t worry – while you may be overwhelmed with AKA talk here (it is the daily updates after all), you’ll still be getting 100% Kitelife here – at this point, I’m happily sharing my skills (at least for the year) because each entity has it’s own inherent value to the greater kiting community and folks seem to think it’s time for a new kind of vibe on the board.

Right, it’s once again past my bedtime… Time to rest up for three more full days of AKAGN!!!

Hasta manana,

John Barresi