Your comments are appreciated and we hear you loud and clear! I thought I'd provide some background and also let you know that we will change the rules to accommodate the photographs at any recognizable landmark at each destination rather than just the Post Office. We want to make this fun for everyone, but we must make some changes to lighten the loud on volunteers.
The USA Four Corners administrative tasks are substantial and in recent years we've had some difficulty getting material out timely. This is because we are a volunteer organization and volunteers are spread out over significant distance. All Board members and volunteers are unpaid and donate copious amounts of time. There are a lot of moving parts in handling the paperwork, web site, certificates, pins, patches, etc. with the USA Four Corners Tour. With the addition of Bill Allen, the new Chair, we expect to be able to get materials in and out timely, but frankly, handling the Four Corner material as it arrived one Corner at a time is a clerical issue. Consider, for example, each year approximately 100 riders submit registration paperwork for the USA Four Corners Tour. Then, 100 starter packages are assembled and mailed. In the past, much of the paperwork was incomplete and required follow-up. With the advent of the new on-line registration process we should be correcting that issue, but believe me when I tell you getting the web site to do what we need it to do has also been a challenge and considerable investment in time. After registration 100 riders start their trips, spaced out over 7 months and the Chair was receiving 400 Corner envelopes between April and December. Many of the forms are not complete and require a whole lot of follow-up. The rider destinations also need to be posted to the web site. You may have noticed we are behind on this. After receiving 100 rider finisher packages, the paperwork needs to be certified and then 100 Finisher packages need to be assembled and sent out. Couple this with questions and incomplete paperwork it's a daunting task that generally needs to be handled in one location.
The allegations appear to be some changes are being made to simplify the process to lighten the load for the administration of the event. Well, we must plead guilty as charged! It was our belief handling the Corner paperwork at one time would be easier for us. Yep, GUILTY! As I mentioned, based on these comments and others, we will allow the photographs to be taken at the other recognizable locations with the registration towel. There is no reason not to allow this, and pointing it out was a good thing.
Now, let me address some of the other concerns. There were some comments regarding the SCMA making a "considerable" amount of money on this event. I have not been involved wth the event for a long time but I can tell you this. At this time, there is little or no money made on this event. We try to spend the registration money on the rider. I can tell you several years ago the SCMA, in an effort to be prudent, made a significant investment to buy lots of materials to cover several years of USA Four Corner rides. In theory this was a good idea because volume purchases generally reduce costs and provide value. These materials, however, are dated, some impractical, and frankly, don't rise to the level of quality this Board wants to deliver to our rider. This does not mean you will receive less for your future registration fees for this event. You will receive MORE and BETTTER products in the coming year(s)! It is the desire of this SCMA Board to improve the quality of the products for all events, including the USA Four Corners. As a result, we will not be using much of the inventory we have in stock. To this end we are re-designing, adding, and subtracting, several of the products associated with this and possibly, other events. For good or bad, (the jury is still out) the towel for the USA Four Corners will be added and embroidered (not silk screened) with riders personal registration number on them as well as the year they register for the ride. The towel will be white, with red and blue numbers and writing on it. It is an item we hope people will treasure after they complete the ride, and it will be unique to each rider.
The Finisher Certificate has been re-designed, and as of right now, we are discussing with vendors having it mounted in a way so it will arrive "hang ready, instead of it going into a folder until YOU go to the expense of framing it... if you get around to it. I suspect there is more than one certificate sitting in a folder. The "frame" we are considering has a coating to prevent yellowing (UV protection)and is scratch resistant.
As you may have noticed there is now an additional version to the USA Four Corners called, the TRUE X. This ride adds miles and dimension to an already remarkable ride and was created as a result of member feedback. A "TRUE X" pin and certificate have been specially designed for this ride in 2013. Also, while the TRUE X has a 26 day limit, those doing it in 21 days or less receive both the regular and TRUE X pin. But to address your concern about the SCMA making considerable amount of money on this event, we don't. It is the desire of the Board to provide value to our member riders, and as such we are attempting to take your registration fee and spend most of it on you. Any additional money, if there is any, goes to pay for things such as a web site, software, maintenance, postage, paper, and other additional material. None of your registration money is paid to support countless hours of meeting with vendors or working with vendors to design pins, patches, and decals. Your money is not used to maintain data bases (unless it is the paid web master), assembling packages, certifying rides, or the 100's of hours and gallons of gas used to manage the rides. In short, we try to spend all of your money on you, less the cost of actual hard costs directly related to a ride.
I hope I've clarified some things and you have a better understanding behind the reason for some of the changes and give us a chance. I think we'll more than make up for it with the quality of product you receive. I challenge you all to take the ride again (or the first time), and tell me what you think of the NEW stuff! We have no other goal in mind than to make your ride enjoyable and provide some treasures before and after you complete the USA Four Corners Tour. We exist for only one reason... to create rides for you!
All of your comments are welcome and we will adjust based on what we hear from you to benefit all riders (and sometimes volunteers). So keep the comments coming because we want to make YOUR Association better.
Thank you, and ride safely!
Vice Chair, SCMA