James Ray’s 2018 Convention Notes

SCCA National Convention
James Ray’s 2018 Convention Notes

James Ray’s 2018 Convention Notes

James Ray’s 2018 Convention Notes:
I was fortunate to attend the 2018 SCCA National Convention held in Las Vegas from January 18th through the 21st. This was my second time attending the convention, and the meetings were again held at the South Point Hotel & Casino. The hotel rooms and conference meeting facilities are great in my opinion, well suited for the club’s annual convention meetings and awards banquet. I think about a dozen New England Region members attended this year’s convention, but I’m not sure I have everyone’s name listed:

Amy, Greg
Barnes, Kathy
Beliveau, Scott
Cole, Allison
Cole, Sterling
Davis, Bob
Davis, Pamela
Honigs, Jessie
Krysiak, Paul
Mack, Pego
Moody, Kathy
Myers, Doug
Ray, James
Regan, Chris
Swan, JB
Villaume, Laura
Villaume, Peter

The convention schedule provided for two and half very-full days of program meetings, break-out working sessions, special region members’ presentations, and various leadership training and personal networking opportunities. The first half day on Thursday ended with a wonderful welcome party providing everyone with opportunities to enjoy hors d’oeuvres and libations, meeting and making friends with members from all over the country. I seem to recall some members brought their race cars (as in Cub Scouts pinewood derby style) and raced on the gravity powered track someone had erected.

On Friday our schedule began at 8 am and ended shortly after 5 pm. The day’s agenda was full and there were no formally scheduled activities in the evening, but I know of others who enjoyed the prolific entertainment opportunities in Las Vegas, including even kart racing at The Pole Position. I enjoyed my evening off having a nice meal with my wife at one of the casino’s many fine restaurants, and then getting some much needed rest! My wife is the gambler in the family so I didn’t have to ask twice if she wanted to join me on a trip to Las Vegas. I’m told she had plenty of fun while I was SCCA meetings, and not to worry it didn’t cost me too much! I didn’t ask here any difficult questions to which I didn’t really want to hear the answers.

On Saturday we began again at 8 am sharp and finished up the day by 5:15 pm in time so everyone could retire to their rooms to freshen up for the evening’s annual banquet.

There were so many big group meetings and smaller break-out sessions to attend over the two and half day convention that one person can’t attend them all. My attendance list included:

Leadership Course 101
Race Data 101
Social Media Marketing 101
How to Run a Street Survival Program
TNiA, What it Can Do for Your Region Membership
Road Racing Town Hall
Leadership Course 201
Race Data 2017 Review
Social Media Marketing 301
Time Trials Town Hall
Unique Region Events
Understanding Millennials
Creating New Events

The speakers were all excellent, their content well prepared, presentations delivered professionally, and I found the information shared to be quite helpful. It was great listening to other region members about what they have tried with their various programs, hearing success stories and hard lessons learned as well! I especially appreciated the Race Data and Social Media Marketing sessions because those are special activities with which I assist the club. I also enjoyed learning more about keeping Tire Rack’s Street Survival for Teenagers program going because I have volunteered as an instructor at a couple of these events, but I’ve never been involved with the planning, organization, and administration aspects. I was also pleased to hear some of the anecdotal stories and key performance metrics for the Track Night in America program. I’m encouraged to hear how this program is beginning to pay off in membership growth.
The final evening’s awards banquet is always a highlight of the convention for me. It’s fun to see so many hardworking members and volunteers receive recognition for their outstanding efforts, even better when I know the recipients personally or they are legitimate celebrities in my eye! I didn’t catch all the various awards and honors presented, but here are a few highlights:

Matthew Cowley was named 2017 President’s Cup Recipient
Daniel McCelvey was named 2017 Solo Driver of the Year
Mark Dudek was named 2017 SCCA Nexen Solo Rookie of the Year
Eric Prill received the RRDC Mark Donohue Award

The eight new Hall of Fame inductees, Class of 2018 were:
William C. Bradshaw
Peter Cunningham
Janet Guthrie
August Pabst
Dave Stremming and Loren Pearson
Bob Sharp
Dr. Dick Thompson

New England Region Sports Car Club of America
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