MGAA Nationals 2014 – Planning

July 3, 2014

This year I am organizing MGAA Nationals.  It is the organizations premier event of the year and includes 3 days of competition, a party and lots of special prizes and activities.  It involves a LOT of planning and work, even in comparison to a normal competition.

This year is no exception, and I am really working to make it the best Nationals ever.  We have 130 riders coming, making up 6 intermediate teams, 12 masters teams and 8 fossils teams.  We have a team coming from Australia, one rider from Wales and somewhere in the 20-25 range of riders coming down from Canada!  We have 3 preliminary sessions and two final sessions for each team to take part in.  This is the first year we have had two heats of fossils at this event and I love seeing this growth.  Our intermediate division is lacking some, mainly because Pony Club Championships is in Kentucky, and starts the day after MGAA Nationals.  Although some hard core games families are taking part in both, and leaving for Kentucky right from Nationals in Pennsylvania.

Each year we have sponsored races during the final sessions.  This is something unique to Nationals and also super cool. Anyone can sponsor a race for $50 or $75 dollars.  This money pays for gift cards to be awarded to the team that wins that race.  So no mater how that team places in every other race, if they win that specific sponsored race, they are getting gift cards.  Generally the gift cards are to places like Subway, Panera Bread, Chipolte, Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, Target and Amazon.  Some sponsorships are for products instead of money.  In this case a company sends a set of 5 items that the team will win.

This year, Wendi and I have been sponsorship getting crazy people.  I managed to secure sponsorships from the equestrian apparel company, Kerrits, tack shop, VTO, small dog toy business, Mootugs (what horse person doesn’t also have a beloved dog?) and equestrian gift company, A Horse Box.  Wendi kicked butt by bringing in sponsors like Horse Loverz, Southern States, Hillcrest Farms, and a couple others that are evading my memory at the moment.

Nationals also requires extra special prizes for all riders, and includes a perpetual trophy for the winners of each division.  I have been getting boxes and boxes from UPS, FedEx and USPS for the past month and I realized yesterday that my usually overly kind UPS lady is starting to get a bit miffed.  When I got home I found 20 something boxes of prizes dumped in my yard.  oops.

I would love to list all the AWESOME prizes here, but incase some MGAA people read it, I do not want to spoil the surprise.  Maybe Ill be able to post some photos and such after the event so everyone can see the awesomeness.

Saturday night at Nationals is the night we have a party.  Some years we have done a formal dinner and dance.  But this year we are going for a good ole back yard bash.  MGAA is providing DJ Shorty Rock, who has DJed at several of our events in the past.  He is one cool dude.  We also have a mechanical bull coming, are having an ice cream bar, door prizes, a funny photo booth type of thing with dress up items and lawn games like corn hole and giant twister.  Ashley is in charge of this part of Nationals and I can’t wait to see how much fun she makes it.

Needless to say all of the planning has been taking up several hours of my day for the past few weeks straight.  Not only is there the general planning, but there is a high standard for everything to be held too.  Chief Referees for example.  I did not want any CR to be over seeing a division with a family member in it.  I also wanted CRs with a certain amount of experience and knowledge.  Assistant Refs also are a tough one.  Again I did not want family members overseeing family members, and I wanted to have the most experienced people at the job.  And I did not want to end up with the same group of people working extra hard while others did nothing. So lots and lots of work manipulating all that.  And the planning went on, stall assignments, riding schedules, mechanical bull contracts, a vet for jobs, on call ferrier, shavings, camping, a special shirt to mark the occasion, and paperwork galore!

But you know, I really enjoy all this.  I think my ideal career would be to organize and host large equestrian functions.  I wonder how many of those positions are available out there?

 

Just some of the boxes of prizes waiting to be loaded.

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 My view driving up my driveway yesterday.  20140703-123821-45501478.jpg

All prizes.  Yikes. I am starting to get concerned about how I am going to fit all this stuff in my rig along with my ponies, myself, Daisy and all the stuff Ill personally need.

20140703-123823-45503345.jpg

 

 

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