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Zone Rep Report March 2011

Sean CridlandIn the Zone by Sean Cridland

This is a busy time of the year for PCA, even if most members don't notice it. The holidays are over and spring is just around the corner. Scheduling was is done and not it's time for actual planning. That means that the club officials you voted into office are scurrying to pull together venues, equipment, and volunteers so that when spring and summer hit, the events look as if they just "fell together." Anyone who's been involved in organizing knows they don't. There's lots of hard work by a lot of people to make any event look easy.

For some of your club officials, that also means attending the annual Zone 9 Meeting for Presidents, Newsletter Editors, and Webmasters. This is a meeting held each year for a number of reasons. It serves as a kind of retreat so that those official  have an opportunity to meet their counterparts in other Regions of the Zone, but also to get up to date info on the various sets of rules, regulations, and news from PCA national. And, just as important, to share their various sets of expertise in event organization, charity fundraising, managing club finances, and so on. It is perhaps one of the most important events of the year for your club officials, even though it remains invisible to most club members and maybe even to most Region board-members.

For as long as anyone can remember, the Zone 9 meeting was held in Albuquerque, NM, in the Roadrunner Region. Given that Zone 9 stretches all the way from the Big Bend of the Rio Grande to the Bonneville Salt Flats, it was reasoned that Albuquerque was equally inconvenient for everyone (except, of course, the Roadrunners...). But during the 2010 meeting, during which the participants discussed ways of "growing" a Zone 9 consciousness, it was suggested that the meeting start circulating to the population centers of the various Regions of Zone 9. Those include the Intermountain Region of Utah, the Rocky Mountain Region of Northern Colorado, the Alpine Mountain Region of Southern Colorado, the Roadrunner Region of most of New Mexico, the Carrera Region of Southern New Mexico and the Western tip of Texas, the Llano Estacado Region of the Texas Panhandle, and the West Texas Region of Lubbock, Midland, and south.  It's a huge geographic area to cover and so spread out that it's hard for some of the regions to generate a sense of Membership, let alone some kind of Zone community consciousness! But hey, we're Porsche aficionados. We know how to dream!

So, it was decided that the 2011 Zone 9 meeting would be in Midland, in the West Texas Region. With a membership of about 70 members, spread out over huge distances and split between two cities (Lubbock and Midland) two hours apart from each other, the WTR also suffers from what we in PCA call the 10 percent rule: no matter the size of the Region, we seem to see about 10 percent of the overall members participating regularly...and a smaller fraction doing most of the "heavy hauling" to keep the club moving.

Having said all that, it didn't deter the WTR from doing an amazing job of putting together a great weekend of meetings and social events for the visiting PCA dignitaries. President Robert Harrington, along with his team of volunteers (including past Presidents Fred Stubbs and Craig Corbett and others) swung into action to book the meeting room at the Permian Basin Petroleum Museum, home of the Jim Hall Chaparral Collection. Club Secretary Ed Runyan and his wife Dana hosted the Friday night welcoming social at their beautiful home with some really amazing food (ask me about the cake-balls sometime!). Robert had his friend Ronnie Low, caretaker and mechanic for the cars give us an up-close and personal tour of the cars, letting us in on many of the mechanical secrets of the cars that set so many standards for technological innovation for racing cars back in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. We even got to go into the maintenance garage to see many pieces of memorabilia the public never sees. The final night was at the Midland Cattle Baron's restaurant where the visiting dignitaries from around the Zone got to meet several of the WTR members. A GREAT time was had by all and, most importantly, the visiting members got to see how another Region goes about putting on its event and how members in other parts of the Zone share in the same wild appreciation for all things Porsche.

But it wasn't all fun and games. The Zone meeting took place all day long on that Saturday. Topics included: board membership and responsibility, PCA rules and procedures, approved and non-approved use of the Porsche brand, banquet planning and budgeting, charity fundraising, driving tour planning and practices, newsletter facts and practices. While I facilitated the meeting, this year I encouraged several of our Zone 9 dignitaries to present their own programs and lead the discussions and it worked out well. We have some incredibly talented and capable people handling our Regions in Zone 9.

We also had a couple of special visitors: PCA National Secretary Caren Cooper and Porsche Cars North America representative Steve Krysil. Caren did a great presentation on what's new in PCA and also was able to fill the gaps with information on various topics that I may not deal with as often. Steve gave a great presentation on what's going on in the world of Porsche cars and danced the fine line between keeping our interest and  being careful not to reveal any secrets that Porsche may be slating for a media splash in the near and distant future. He fielded a variety of questions and had some great video presentations to keep everyone excited and as a good reminder for why we all do what we do in PCA. While it's true that "it's not just the cars, but the people..." sometimes it just has to be about the cars too!

So that's it for this month from your Zone Rep. I got home from that trip for just a few days to unpack, get some work done and then to repack for a trip to Las Vegas for the PCA Executive Council Winter meeting, where I will be meeting up with all of my fellow Zone Reps, the EC, and all the various PCA chairs to be brought up to speed on all things at the National level. In my next installment, I'll let you know how that goes....

I hope to see you at one of the events.

Sean

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