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Masters Invited to the Big Dance

July 2004
George Mathews

Thank you, Bengay. Masters has finally gotten a seat on the dais at our organization's most prestigious award banquet, The Jesse Owens Hall Of Fame Banquet. As I discussed in last month's article, this has everything to do with money. We can do wonderful things with the green stuff.

I should share with you how this "Masters Athlete of the Year" will be selected. First, we should understand that this award will be decided between LDR and Masters Track & Field. Always in the past these selections have been done at the Annual Meeting. Because we need time for the honoree to make arrangements to be at the banquet, both LDR and Masters Track & Field Committees will have to decide their candidates by early October.

Phil Byrne and his hard working committee will start working early and pick the one and maybe two or more candidates for the award. The Masters Executive Committee will approve the final candidate for submission for the final vote.

The LDR Executive Committee will also decide on their candidate after of the final important race of the year. The final decision will then be made by the respective Masters Chairs of LDR , Track & Field and The President of USATF.

Also, the "Bengay Travel Grant Program" really gives our Masters Invitation Program a shot in the arm. We will truly have our best athletes representing us at the Olympic Trials.

I hope you all see that this is not the creation of an "elite" program. We are helping the athletes equally, regardless of their standing in the qualifications. It really behooves us to be able to put the best athletes in each race so we can show off what masters athletes can do. This, frankly, is one of our best marketing programs. Thanks to Mark Cleary and the people that help him get this put together.

Bengay is also going to participate in the sponsorship of our National Indoor Championships in Boise. Thank you again, Bengay. I hope this is the start of something big for our National Championships.

Think about how you can get sponsors to help support other meets. They don't have to be global brands like Bengay. They may be the local bottler of healthful soft drinks, etc. You don't get if you don't ask!

I also must thank the National Office, especially Craig Masback and his very professional staff, for developing this sponsorship and inviting us to participate. This shows the kind of horsepower we have working for us.

I know many have thought over the years that we can do this by ourselves. I have always thought our real potential has been in working with our own professional staff. They surely know we more than exist. This is just the beginning!

I hope most of you approve of this application of funds. This proves our value to the commercial world and that the masters movement is really a significant market and one of the most affluent, highly educated buying groups in the U.S. Now we need to support the people that support us.

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