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ABA Name Not Fading Into History

December 31, 2011 by · Comments Off 

USA BMX Logo with ABA Tagline

When the ABA/NBL Merger was finalized in Mid June, many BMX Racing fans thought that the names of both leagues would fade into history, in favor of the new USA BMX moniker. At first, one direction the ABA discussed, was to have the brand names of both leagues live on under the USA BMX banner (some nationals flying the NBL flag running total points, and some flying the ABA flag running the transfer system) But, as the reality of the merger began to take root among track operators and the rank-and-file racers, it was clear that the NBL brand had been damaged beyond repair by the events of 2011, and the desire for a split series was practically nil.

“Even the (NBL) loyalists were saying it didn’t make sense to keep the NBL name alive,” said one former NBL track operator. At the end of the day, the ABA system made the most sense, and it was decided that the initial plans would be altered to make it one national series, running under the ABA transfer system.

So, what did that mean for the ABA brand name? Some industry observers thought there was a real possibility that the ABA would pivot the plan again, and just keep things running under the ABA brand name. Others argued that the USA BMX brand does a great deal to signify the “unified” condition of things, and is smart branding by saying “BMX” right in the name. In the end, both points of view made it into the final recipe.

The above USA BMX logo was circulating this week, as the final version of the first USA BMX logo. As you can see, it includes “The American Bicycle Association” as a tagline under the USA BMX logo.

So, what do we call this thing? Just like with “Willis Tower” here in our native Chicago, people are slow to accept a name change of something so deeply rooted in their memory. Indeed, just over Christmas, we said “check out the Sears Tower,” calling the kids’ attention to the antenna towers on the top, lit up for the holidays. We were quickly corrected from the back seat “You mean WILLIS Tower, dad” (um..no, I really meant SEARS tower, but whatever).

In the BMX context, this is how we are thinking of it: Since the ABA remains the business entity of the organization, and operates USA BMX and BMX Canada, it seems to be proper to say, in conversation, “We are working with the ABA on a sponsorship deal,” but not accurate to say ” I’m going to the ABA National next weekend.” You’d be going to the USA BMX National next weekend. You would also be “renewing your USA BMX membership,” and making plans to race the USA BMX Grands in November 2012.

Now that we’re done with Robert’s Rules of Order, BMX Edition, let’s gate up for an amazing 2012!

ABA/NBL —> USA BMX / BMX Canada

October 7, 2011 by · Comments Off 

The ABA's Canada Solution to USA BMX

USA BMX is a great name for a BMX sanction. As long as you’re in the “Free 52.” Since the moment news of the merger between the ABA and NBL, under the USA BMX Umbrella, was first announced, there were questions asking “What about Canada?” What about Canada, indeed.

News was just talking about this subject at the recent Interbike trade show with some folks from up that way, and the sentiment was that they really didn’t mind the USA BMX moniker, as applied to their brand of BMX Racing up North. “I mean, it doesn’t exactly fit, but whatever” said one racer.

Well, no need to shoehorn the Canucks into the program, because Gilbert’s got ya’ covered. Little did we know that plans were underway to give Canada a league of their own, via BMX Canada. We spied the above shot on ABA’s Facebook page earlier in the week, and gOrk confirmed that this was the BMX brand for the Northland.

The above rig will roll on Canadian soil this weekend, just in time for the 2011 ABA Canadian Grand Nationals, held at Chilliwack Heritage Park in Chilliwack, BC.

Keep it right here on BMX News for more developments from the Arctic Circle to

Oh, and we’re reasonably sure that yellow “boot” is a security device so the trailer won’t get stolen. Looks too new to have five parking tickets already :)

#SingItWithMeNow – O Canada

ABA ROC and NBL President’s Cup Merge

August 16, 2011 by · Comments Off 

NBL President's Cup Moves to Tulsa, OK

Just in to the BMX News Command Center: The ABA Race Of Champions and the NBL President’s Cup will merge for 2011, to become the USA BMX President’s Cup Race of Champions, held on the Friday of ABA Grands Weekend (November 25, 2011) in Tulsa, OK.

Many of the traditions of the storied NBL classic will be brought to Tulsa, including the “Parade of States” (where all the riders from each state, led by their state’s flag, will walk the track, in a show of state unity). The race will also feature a cup, to be taken back to the winning state (as in previous President’s Cup races), and a banner of all previous President’s Cup winning states since 1985 (ala the “National Champion” banners the ABA has always displayed at the Grands).

The race will remain a “by-qualification-only” event, as both events have been in the past. The ABA Race of Champions qualification criteria are finishing in the top 10 in the ABA State Series, based on age and class (i.e. top ten 8-year old experts). On the NBL side, riders will qualify who have finished in the top 15 in their NBL State Series, based on age and class.

For the Friday event, the stands will be divided by state, so state teams can strategize on how to win the Cup. This will also provide a great opportunity for the ABA and NBL riders who do not normally “see” each other on the state and local level to meet, and compete as a team–all cheering for one and one cheering for all.

The award of the day will carry the “President’s Cup” theme, with cups for all classes. In addition, each class winner will receive a ROC/President’s Cup #1 number plate they can run after the race (ala the ROC #1 in ABA), as well as a “vehicle sticker” you can use to pimp your ride with your #1 honors.

We think this is a great melding of the two cultures, in putting together two world-class events in one venue–an “appetizer” to what will come in 2012.

BMX News will have more on this important development in the unification of ABA and NBL, in the coming days.

—Mike Carruth

gOrk To Depart Redline. Destination?…Gilbert, AZ!

May 18, 2011 by · Comments Off 

Craig

Just got word that, tomorrow, Seattle Bike Supply will announce long-time Redline Marketing Director Craig “gOrk” Barrette will be leaving his post of nearly 12 years. “Where to?” you ask? Well, this is why it is such amazing news (even kicking the ABA/NBL merger off the “Top Story” slot).

gOrk will be reporting for duty at a place he has reported to before. Oh, sure, the lunch places may be different than in 1999, and there is more traffic gettin there…but gOrk will be rollin up to Sunrise Boulevard in picturesque Gilbert, AZ. Specifically 1645 Sunrise Bl.

You don’t need Mapquest to tell you where that is. Just look at your ABA Card or the new issue of “Pull” magazine. That’s right! gOrk is heading back to the ABA, this time as their “Chief Communications Office,” a newly-created position. You may remember that, prior to putting on the red, white and black for Redline, gOrk was editor of the BMXer…and before that he was editor of the massively-popular BMX Action Magazine, where he set the standard for hundreds of thousands of BMX racers on what “cool” was (that month…something cooler was always coming next issue).

This news is big enough on its own…but when coupled with yesterday’s news of the likely merger of the ABA and NBL into USA BMX, we can hardly contain our excitement for our friend. In an email to him today, I said “In my opinion, you could not be coming into a better place, with a better job, at a better time, in the history of the sport. The potential for making an impact, and taking your own career to the next level are truly endless.” I would not usually share something written in private correspondence, but it so perfectly sums up how I feel, that I figured it would be a perfect case for breaking my own rule.

At Redline, gOrk has been a tremendous supporter of what we do here at BMX News, Vintage, BMXNOW, and BMX Action Online, and I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank him for believing in us over the past few years, investing his marketing dollars with us, via advertising, and yes…knowing we love a good scoop to quicken the pulse (my heart is racing as I type this, hoping to get it posted before anyone else can).

Incidentally, this isn’t part of the big ABA/NBL news yesterday. gOrk’s move has been in the works “for months,” and was planned on being announced now, for a July start. We caught a whiff of it in Chula Vista last month, but nobody was talking with any specificity on the subject, which is why we did not report it then.

We asked him to tell us how it all came about, and give us some scoop on how he was feeling about things. here’s what he said:

“This has been in the works for a long time. Really, ever since BA took over as president of the ABA – and probably even some years before that, one of the first things he has said to me whenever we see each other was ‘You ready to come back yet?’ So at Rockford last year, when he asked me that question for about the hundredth time, I finally began thinking about possibilities and what it’d take to make it happen.

Then last November at the Grands we talked about it a little more serious, and they gave me a really good offer that was hard to refuse.

It’s not that I was unhappy at SBS/Redline – in fact, I always figured I would work here until I retire. And I will truly miss the entire SBS staff – just the same as I have missed my friends at the ABA over the past 11 years. SBS has been an incredible company to work for.

I’m just stoked to be going back to concentrating 100% of my effort on BMX racing, and doing whatever I can to increase the exposure for our sport and to help it grow even bigger. And with yesterday’s news and USA BMX becoming the new home for all of BMX racing in North America, the timing of this just couldn’t be any better.”

What more can we say? The guy is a hall of famer, sidehack national champion from the 1970s, as marketing savvy as it gets, and can still mix it up with the best of us slangin’ the Nikons on the infield. I expect we’ll be seeing much more of him out there, and that is a beautiful thing!

Congratulations, gOrk! We’ll miss you in Seattle, but can’t wait for you to get to Gilbert.

—Mike Carruth

Replay: ABA/NBL Merger Webinar Audio

May 17, 2011 by · Comments Off 

By Mike Carruth

With the permission of the NBL and ABA, BMX News was allowed to record, and rebroadcast, the evening Webinar, so that the entire BMX Racing community could hear what was going on with the ABA/NBL merger.

Let me say that this is an amazing moment in the history of BMX racing, and if you care about the sport and its future, it is worth a full listen (maybe in a few “bites,” which is why we split it into four segments).

More than 100 questions were answered live, as they came in from NBL Track Directors and others concerned with the process. In our opinion, Gary, BA and John David did an outstanding job of fielding all questions that came in, though some details are still to be worked out, and the “proposal” for the merger, while approved by the NBL board, will be finalized in the coming days/weeks.

Many times throughout the webinar, both Gary and BA made it clear that the letter of intent to do the merger is a “living, breathing,” and “working” document, and that details discussed here may change before the final document is signed, hopefully by June 1.

I recommend you look at the original post from earlier today to read the updates and clarifications that were made, as well as highlights of key points in the segments below.

Many readers have asked “Why is Gary Aragon running this meeting if the ABA is the one assuming the responsibility of running the combined organization?” This is because the webinar is directed to NBL Track Directors, so it is fitting the NBL CEO run the meeting, with BA and John there for “after-the-closing” questions. We, as the BMX Racing community, are a “fly on the wall” in this webinar.

Full-Play Audio of the Evening Webinar:

*note: apologies if the first three minutes of segment one sound like an obscene “breather” phonecall for you headphone wearers. I didn’t realize my headset mic was hot and it was about a millimeter from my mouth

Part 1 of 4:
link

Part 2 of 4
link

^^Clarification: At :10 in segment 2, BA says that as of January 1, all riders will be able to race both ABA and NBL tracks with one membership. The riders will be able to “cross-race” (ABA riders can race NBL tracks and vice-versa), as of the start of the USA BMX program (slated for June 1). However, current NBL riders will only be able to redeem their “credits” (as mentioned above) at NBL tracks. This was confirmed after the fact by BA.

Part 3 of 4
link

Part 4 of 4
link

Join the Discussions:

On VintageBMX.com

On the bmxnews.com Forum

ABA and NBL to come together, via USA BMX

May 17, 2011 by · Comments Off 

NBL and ABA will become USA BMX

In a Webinar conducted this morning, NBL CEO Gary Aragon announced that the NBL board of directors has approved a letter of intent on a proposal made by the ABA for the two organizations to “merge operations.”

Both “league brands” will remain in place (meaning there will still be an ABA and an NBL, racing their own style of BMX), but under the proposal, a new, “umbrella” organization, USA BMX, will be created to manage the operations of both league brands and handle support services to tracks, fulfill memberships, etc.

Details are being finalized, and the agreement, while approved by the NBL board, is not yet final. The parties are hoping for an effective date of June 1, 2011 for the proposal to become BMX reality. Repeat, this is a proposal, and not a legally-binding commitment by any party, as of this writing. As Gary Aragon put it on the evening Webinar “this is a living, breathing document, so there may be subtle changes from this point.”

Here are some highlights:

* USA BMX Membership cards will carry both ABA and NBL logos, and all members can race at any track in North America.

* Under the proposal, the NBL’s “All You Can Race” membership format would be discontinued, and all tracks would return to a “pay as you go” format, as in years past.

* A formula will be applied to all of NBL’s “all-you-can-race” memberships to arrive at a “value realized” / “value credit” number. The money you paid in to your 2011 membership will be “debited” at a rate of $5 per local race and $60 per national race you have ridden thus far. For example, if you paid $99 for your local membership, and raced four local races since you bought it, you will have $79 of entry fee credits to use toward further racing under the new…old…well, let’s just say the “pay as you go” system after this goes into effect.

* The NBL rulebook, tracks, racing format, national series, Grand Nationals and other programs will continue, as scheduled, for the balance of 2011.

* All NBL tracks that are presently owed money by the NBL will be paid in full. NBL Pros owerd money by the NBL will also be paid. Both are expected to be paid in full within 30 days of the agreement’s effective date.

* The Christmas Classic will, under the new system, be a combined “East vs. West” shootout, where champions of both Grand Nationals will slug it out to see who is best. Qualifying and other granular details were not yet available.

* ABA CEO BA Anderson, who was in the room with Gary Aragon for the event (along with ABA COO John David), responded to a question from a listener asking “will I have to buy an ABA membership to race one day in Nashville this weekend.” BA said (in the evening Webinar) “for one day, yes you will have to buy an ABA membership” If you are signing up for two days, and have NEVER held an ABA license, you will get your ABA license free.

* The NBL “Board of Directors” will live on, overseeing the “NBL Foundation” which will be charged with “Advocacy, governance, will fund athlete training, fund USA athletes to the UCI worlds and USAC national championships, act as a trustee to a to-be-created “BMX Racing promotion fund,” and other tasks befitting such a board.

* GSX, and their management of the UCI Supercross series will continue as a separate, independent entity. The NBL will divest itself of the shares it currently owns in GSX, and Gary said a purchaser of those shares is already in the picture.

* Gary Aragon will, himself, resign as of the closing of this transaction. He added that he will “put his name in” with the NBL Board to play a role in the NBL Foundation, but it would be up to them, at that time, to re-hire him or not.

* Both Gary and BA were strong in their position that the NBL brand and legacy should continue, with every bit of the sense of pride it always has. The sentiment was that the only thing that would change is the postmark (from Ohio to Arizona).

* The NBL Magazine will reportedly be discontinued (no word on whether Floyd Publications plans on continuing it under a new name).

* In a moment of levity, former NBL Chairman James Bagwell submitted a “question” asking BA for an executive decision on whether his ABA and NBL memberships could be reclassified to Novice. BA said he would grant him the Reclass only if he agreed to a challenge race. If James won, he’d get his reclass. If BA won, James would continue in Expert. No word on whether they’d be using the transfer system or total points.

Update 3:37 CDT: BMX News will post a podcast of tonight’s NBL Webinar. Watch for it soon after the call, around 10:30PM, EDT right here on News

UPDATE 7:58PM CDT RE: NationsTour. We reported earlier that it was officially canceled. After the evening Webinar, it was clarified that the NationsTour was a GSX matter and no final determination has been made yet.

Update 5:10 CDT: Another clarification: USA BMX will pay tracks the $5.95 per rider for any riders that have “credits” on their existing NBL membership. If a rider shows up at an NBL track once USA BMX is in place, they will be able to race without paying an entry fee, and one credit will be debited from their membership. All other riders will be paying a per-race entry fee as of the effective date, and track operators will, once again, pay their race report and insurance fees, as they did before the NBL’s “all you can race” format went into effect, 137 days ago.

Update 6:17 CDT: Former NBL Chairman Darol Carr was brought in to speak for and to the NBL board in the negotiations with the ABA. Gary Aragon says Darol wholeheartedly endorses this agreement.

Update 6:21 CDT:ABA and NBL Halls Of Fame will be combined, and move forward as the National BMX Hall Of Fame.

Update 6:25 CDT: NBL Tracks will fold into ABA state districts as of next season, and all riders in that district will compete for district plates.

Update 6:25 CDT: USA BMX will run one Regional series, to which ABA and NBL riders will be invited to participate.

Update 6:27 CDT: ABA and NBL National series will continue independently, and will end with each league’s Grands…but then both will come together at the Christmas Classic. President’s cup will continue in its current format (with ABA riders brought in for 2012). That is going to probably be the biggest race of all time.

Update 6:30 CDT: “One Membership Card” will take effect as of the closing of the deal

Update 6:27 CDT: $5.95 is the value of one local race to be debited from your paid-in value. Regional and Nationals will be calculated at “Entry Fee” value (the amount you would have paid if you were using a local membership $60 for nationals and $50 for regionals). Team Sheets will work the same way, where a value is assigned to each team sheet going forward, and that amount is deducted.

Update 6:34 CDT: Gary spoke for 34 mins, then opened it up to questions.
NBL Tracks have been told to sign new riders up for a 30-day membership and not a full membership. The thinking is that the new USA BMX membership will be in place for sale by then.

Update 6:48 CDT:Opens Do not count toward your “Debited” racing from your paid-in value.

Update 6:56 CDT: Your 2011 NBL membership will be evaluated in this way:
1). How much did you pay for your membership to date (either up front, or as a per month charge).
2). Less a “membership fee” (undetermined as of this writing)
3). Less how many races you rode based on a value of $5.95 for local, $50 for regionals and $60 for Nationals.

Anything left over against your paid-in value will be a credit toward future entry fees.

Update 6:56 CDT: No location set for President’s Cup/Christmas Classic in 2011 yet. USA BMX will make the announcement in the future.

Below are four segments containing the full audio of the evening Webinar (total running time: about two hours).

*note: apologies if the first three minutes sound like an obscene “breather” phonecall for you headphone wearers. I didn’t realize my headset mic was hot and it was about a millimeter from my mouth

Full-Play Audio of the Evening Webinar:

Part 1 of 4:
link

Part 2 of 4
link

^^Clarification: At :10 in segment 2, BA says that as of January 1, all riders will be able to race both ABA and NBL tracks with one membership. The riders will be able to “cross-race” (ABA riders can race NBL tracks and vice-versa), as of the start of the USA BMX program (slated for June 1). However, current NBL riders will only be able to redeem their “credits” (as mentioned above) at NBL tracks. This was confirmed after the fact by BA.

Part 3 of 4
link

Part 4 of 4
link

Discussions:

On VintageBMX.com

On the bmxnews.com Forum

New “Pull” Holeshots at the So. Cal Nats

April 15, 2011 by · Comments Off 

Pull Magazine on BMX News

So there I was, chatting with Jason Carne$ in the Redline pit, about the upcoming “Flight School” Tour, when all of the sudden, a picture of Mike Redman was all I could see. Before I could adjust my eyes, another photo, looking like someone from Blue Man Group. Focusing in, it wasn’t a Blue Man at all, but Marc Willers in a Blue Man-Meets-KISS motif, riffing on his home country’s flag.

It was the new issue of Pull Magazine, enthusiastically presented by BA Anderson. The new issue indeed, had Redbone on the cover, and a very nice profile on the industry legend and famed announcer. Some great photos from the past 25 years packed in there. Page 31 starts the race coverage, with some very nice photo work by Jasen Krenek from the Super Nationals. Further in, you get some serious mind mechanics laid down by Dr. J. Rich. Good stuff.

But on Page 46, the whole thing gets turned upside down and is impossible to read.

…It gets much easier if you think “Down Under.” You know how the vortex in your sink is supposed to swirl down the drain in the opposite direction in the southern hemisphere? Well close the magazine, flip it over, and you’re back in “discovery” mode of this month’s Pull.

On a “second cover,” we find the photo of Willers. Issue 02 “.5″ has an equally-compelling profile of Marc Willers to its counterpart of Redman on the flipside. Also, the Winternationals photospread, and a track profile on Cedar BMX in Pennsylvania. The balance is Track Directory and Points.

The issue is a quick and entertaining read, down to the red, white and blue staples holding it together (gotta love those little details!). Look for it in your mailbox soon!

—Mike Carruth

ABA Teases On New Magazine

February 25, 2011 by · Comments Off 

BMX Racing News via BMXNEWS.COM

Last week, the ABA teased visitors of its website with the above graphic, saying that the days of their in-house magazine, BMXer, were over as of the issue that just hit our mailboxes.

Word is that a new-era publication is in the final days of production, and will be hitting mailboxes in March. Not much else for public consumption on this yet, but we are convinced that when you pull this dude out of your mailbox before leaving for the Winternationals, it’s going to scream “I’m Here!”

More to come as info is available.

Motel 6 Leaving the Light On For ABA BMXers

January 7, 2011 by · Comments Off 

aba_motel6

The first national BMX sanction to announce a coast-to-coast lodging deal, the ABA announced today that they will partner up with Motel 6 for the 2011 season. Here’s the release, as obtained by BMXNEWS earlier today.

Motel 6, known for offering a clean, comfortable room and a great service for the lowest price of any national chain, and the American Bicycle Association (ABA), have announced a partnership for 2011.  The partnership, among other things, will provide a special discount to all members of the American Bicycle Association.

“We are delighted to announce our partnership with Motel 6,” stated ABA CEO, B.A. Anderson.  “We know that our membership has been staying with Motel 6, and now they will get a 10% discount.”  With over 1,000 properties around the United States and Canada, Motel 6 will become another option for travelers when attending ABA Nationals or other ABA races.  In addition, members will benefit when traveling for pleasure or business when staying at Motel 6.  “With over 70 properties located within 15 miles of the 27 Nationals on the current schedule and the lowest rates of any national chain, our partnership with Motel 6 is one that brings added value to our members,” continued Anderson.  

“Motel 6 is proud to support ABA and its members by offering a discount at all our locations in North America,” stated Olivier Poirot, CEO of Accor North America, Motel 6 & Studio 6.  “We look forward to a successful partnership with ABA as we continue to welcome its members during their competitive and leisure travels.”

The American Bicycle Association has worked closely with the local sports commissions and visitors centers at all of the 2011 national locations to provide a list of accommodations for each of the national stops.  The ABA will continue to utilize these properties but now will offer Motel 6 as an additional option.  Motel 6 will have a list of all Motel 6 properties in close proximity to the nationals on a special Motel 6 /ABA web page.  Members using this booking tool or the ABA account number will save 10%.

Click Here to access the Motel 6 / ABA web page. Members will be provided with a special number to utilize when making reservations.  Stay tuned.

Engage!

December 28, 2010 by · Comments Off 

BMXer Editor Dan Mooney and Girlfriend Emily Souza are engaged

Big BMX News congrats to ABA BMXer Editor Dan Mooney and girlfriend Emily Souza on their December 26 engagement. Dan reported on his Facebook page that he popped the question on the beach while the couple was on Christmas retreat in Oregon. A glimpse of the impressive engagement hardware can be seen in the above shot, also pinched from Dan’s Facebook page. No word on a wedding date, or if the ABA semi will be used as a wedding limo and mobile dressing room for the happy couple.

Congrats, Dan and Emily!

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