by Al Myers
After the chalk settled, and the lifters full from a BBQ of burgers and chicken, the USAWA membership sat down to have the National Meeting, presided over by USAWA President Denny Habecker. Several issues were on the agenda this year that if voted “yes on” could change the direction of the USAWA and the future of the organization. The first item brought up was the review of the bylaws. The USAWA has been working with bylaws that were developed when the organization began in 1987. In this time no changes have ever been made to the bylaws, despite the fact that the USAWA has been operating in a different fashion from what the original bylaws outlined. Much of this was the result of the failure of the USAWA to grow in numbers – and the original bylaws were written with the idea that the USAWA was going to be a large organization and thus would require complex governing bylaws. After a short discussion, a committee was formed to re-write the bylaws. Members of this committee are Tim Piper, Joe Garcia and myself. The next item brought to the floor was the process of Hall of Fame Induction. The previous system was a point system in which an individual must accumulate 1000 points, and upon reaching this number, would automatically be the Hall of Fame. One person was designated to keep track of everyone’s points. This system ceased to work when the individual in charge of it retired and no one took it over, and thus no one has been inducted since 2003. I presented a new Hall of Fame Induction form to the membership based on a nomination process whereas an individual would nominate someone and be the one responsible for figuring the nominees points, taking the pressure off of one individual. No motion was made to accept this new form. Again, a committee was formed to investigate this process and to report to the membership at next years annual meeting. The Hall of Fame committee consists of Denny Habecker, Dennis Mitchell, and Dale Friesz. The next item was a review of the Officials’ Test. Discussion included that the current rules test is too long and is discouraging people from taking it. As of now, only 8 individuals have taken the rules test in the past 3 years. This was countered by discussion pointing out the importance of having an extensive rules test with stringent criteria in order to become a qualified official, much like other sports organizations. Also included in this was reasons why a practical exam should be implemented. No motions were made. Joe Garcia volunteered to be the Officials’ Chairman. The next item was the approval of the new Rule Book. The Rule Book was updated and expanded on this spring, and was reviewed by several people. The approval of the Rule Book passed unanimously. The motion was amended to include a date of August 1st for the new Rule Book to take effect. The reason given for this was to give time so people could be made aware of it that do not have access to a computer. The proposed Rule Book has been available on the website for the past 6 weeks. The next item brought up was a review of the drug testing policy. Much concern was voiced by the membership about the considerable expense the testing program is costing the organization, and that other cheaper testing programs should be looked at. Amongst the discussion was the importance of maintaining an extensive quality testing program, which this program has done, and having outside individuals doing the testing instead of doing the testing in-house. A motion was made by Chad Ullom to continue with our current testing program and it passed by majority vote. The next item discussed was the future of the Strength Journal, which is published by Bill Clark. Bill Clark announced that he was resigning as publisher of the Journal, effective at the end of the year. Discussion included trying to convince Bill to have a change of mind, but it was to no avail. The next agenda item was election of officers. It started with Bill Clark announcing that he was resigning as Secretary/Treasurer after over 20 years in this capacity. A motion was then made by Bill Clark nominating Denny Habecker for President, myself as Secretary/Treasurer and Chad Ullom as Vice President. The motion was seconded by Randy Smith and passed unanimously. Included in this motion was that the new officers would take office at the beginning of 2010 to allow time for transition. The next item was a review of the record keeping process. Discussion included the possibility of having the Record List put on the website. Joe Garcia, the Official Record Keeper expressed concerns over bandwidth and whether this would be possible with the new website. This was discussed and agreed upon that it needed to be looked into further before the Record List would be put on the website. Joe and I agreed that we will work together on getting the Record List on the website. The next item was a review of the website. Discussion amongst the membership included wanting to have a message board, and being able to register online for membership and sanctioning. Next up was a review of club memberships and the discussion of team awards. In the past, club awards have been given out but this ceased when club memberships declined. As of now, the USAWA has 4 registered clubs. The membership agreed that this was not enough clubs to have an club award program. Next item up was a discussion of insurance. As of now, the USAWA does not provide insurance for sanctioned meets, nor has an insurance policy that would allow meet directors to purchase insurance for meets. Meet Directors must find their own insurance, or just go with out. Discussion included having this looked into and what the costs would be to the organization. No motions were made and no committee formed. The next agenda item was a review of the age adjustment, and whether the point correction was fair. This issue was brought up at the IAWA meeting last fall. Dennis Mitchell presented a survey done by the IAWA committee that was formed to study this. The study showed 1 percent was somewhat fair up to the age of 60, but after the age of 60 performance decrease was more rapid than 1 percent. Concerns were expressed by the membership that increasing the age adjustment for lifters over 60 may deter new young lifters from joining the USAWA. The majority of the membership felt that no change should be made, and this should be the USAWA recommendation to IAWA at the IAWA meeting in October. The next item was an issue brought forward by the Technical Committee concerning whether using the Zercher Lift in the Continental to Belt should continue to be allowed. This issue was brought up at the last IAWA Meeting requesting that the Continental to Belt should be divided into two lifts – the Continental to Belt and the Continental to Belt Anyhow. Discussion among members felt that by the definition of a continental using a Zercher Lift to get the bar to the belt is within the description of a continental, and there would be no point in separating them. This was also the recommendation of the Technical Committee. Next up was a discussion involving whether we should remain part of the IAWA, or join with the BSAG. Membership voiced overwhelming support of IAWA, and after a very short discussion, no motions were made. The next item was a motion made by Bill Clark naming the Overall Best Lifter Award at Nationals the Monahan Award, in honor and memory of Rex Monahan. It passed unanimously. The last item was asking for bids for the 2010 National Championships. Denny Habecker put in the only bid, and it was accepted unanimously.