Cornbread Thinks: Went to Convention

The National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Convention happened in June in Grapevine, Texas, the home city for DFW Airport and a “ring city” to Fort Worth and Dallas. Fort Worth is the “FW” in the “DFW Metroplex.” The census people are currently without a good definition for exactly what the DFW Metroplex encompasses. The official area number is 7 million souls. Operating on the “what touches mine” theory, the number is close to 8 million, which is a manure load of people. We live in an unincorporated area of Tarrant County, with a Fort Worth address. It was an hour drive to the convention. We stayed at the hotel. Short story, we live here and had to travel.

Personally, I think all the conventions should be here. It is much cheaper for the association. We are a worldwide outfit. DFW airport is the third largest airport in the world. Making DFW a top-five convention destination, there are more facilities than Lach Perks’ dog has fleas. If my magic wand weren’t propping a window open, we would have it at the Will Rogers Memorial Center. It’s five minutes from HQ and would make the early executive meetings easier. There are more than enough meeting spaces, the way cool Art Deco auditorium for the large meetings and the place reeks of the man it was built to honor.

I understand the reasoning behind jumping around, but nearly everyone has to travel. When we jump East, the West has to travel farther, and same going the other way. Salt Lake City is probably the most even – you can’t get there from anywhere. Everybody is equally disadvantaged. Just my thoughts, but I’m an amateur. What is changing is “Us” – Us being the association. Against all desires to keep using computers with vacuum tubes, Big Chief tablets and cowbox pencils, we are getting a new computer. Named “Hub” after the first “Champion” cutting horse, it’s $1.6 million worth. Hardware, software, code writing, licensing fees and smart people are not cheap. Ol’ Lach was the committee chair and he is a very smart person. He deserves a medal or at least some flea collars.

A recent upgrade for another association was a complete disaster. Lessons learned led us to a less ambitious but very expandable system, using mostly common software that millions of people use comfortably. The ability to enter online and pay entry fees is a leap – Hub won’t let you do it wrong, cross-references everything, automatically charges a card for payments. All you will do is enter your number and your stick’s number. Currently, an entry must pass through six people’s hands. When it’s drawn, three people need two days to eyeball each for mistakes. No more. Even a trainer can do it.

During her time as president, Barbara Brooks recognized how stumble bumble we run this outfit. The new big word is “governance.” She thought Chris Dublin needed something to keep him out of the pool halls, so she put him in charge, a most excellent choice. It’s harder than Chinese arithmetic. We are going to do nearly everything differently. This will enable us to make needed changes quicker, send the executive committee better recommendations from the subcommittees, provide the membership better explanations of actions taken or not taken, and involve more members in the process. This does not begin to cover the whole of it.

We voted on a bylaw change. The association is strengthening the role directors play.

A director can no longer not participate. The president can no longer excuse absences from conventions. Miss two mandatory meetings and they’re out. Automatically. It’s overdue. The directors’ responsibilities will get more definition and accountability. We have binders of people who are capable and willing to be directors, but are not getting elected. We have directors getting elected by name instead of action. When you vote, think about principles, not personalities. Be responsible so NCHA can be responsible.

This convention was just humming with positivity. Everyone contributing. Great ideas. Great back and forth in meetings. The consultants on the computers and governance were excellent. I continue to be impressed with Jim Bret. Who we needed, when we needed. We are winning. Promise you.

Cornbread Thinks: The Convention – be there or be square.