Tuesday, June 26, 2007

10th Anniversary of MBOSC

This year marks the 10th anniversary of MBOSC. In honor of the 10th anniversary, I would like to share this article by Keith Kelsen (the founder of MBOSC and the first President) on the beginning of MBOSC.




The headline in the newspaper I was reading was bold and unexpected - "Gray Whale Ranch Bought by Save-the-Redwoods League". Right away I thought, "Wow,this is great!"

Gray Whale Ranch is adjacent to Wilder Ranch State Park. A riding haven on the west coast near Santa Cruz, it had been a favorite of mine to ride for years before it was purchased and trespassing laws enforced five years earlier. But now Save-the-Redwoods League had just purchased the 2,500 acre property with coastal vistas, redwoods, long meadows and chaparral for some 12 million dollars. Save-the-Redwoods League, a nonprofit, has been purchasing land for state parks since it's inception in 1920's. In exchange, they were asking the community to repay $600,000 of the purchase price.

The article also stated that the open space alliance was involved in putting on an auction to help raise some funds. Well, I called some of my riding compadres and told them I would put in $100 if they would put up the same. In no time we had a $1,000, so I raised the anti to $200. So we had $2,000. Not bad, but hey, we could do better than that.

I called the local paper and told them that local mountain bikers... uh... Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz... were pitching in to raise money for the purchase of Gray Whale. They printed the article and a couple of weeks later we had raised close to $7,000.00 and Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz was born.

To raise a portion of the $600K we decided to hold a raffle - the "WIN A BIKE and a Place To Ride Raffle". Our goal was to have our name on a grove ($20K) and more if possible.

We went to manufactures and local bike shops. They were very supportive and gave us over $23,000.00 (retail) worth of donations, including 9 bikes (3 full suspension). And I would like thank them all for the incredible response.

We received media support through co-sponsors for print, TV and radio. We produced commercials for both TV and radio and created ads for print. Along with the commercials we produced a 9 minute documentary on Gray Whale which aired on the local cable channel.

We selected two dates to hold the raffle and distributed tickets to bike shops, who agreed to sell the raffle tickets. The idea was to advertise and bring people into their shops to buy tickets. I was told it was an impossible task. But we kept up on the media and articles in the paper and Gray Whale became a visible movement in the community.

We were also very fortunate to link up with ROMP in the Bay Area to get their help with ticket sales. Also, ROMP donated $1,350 on behalf of its members. IMBA was a great help as well. They published an article in DIRT and IMBA members mailed in their money for the raffle tickets and support. One IMBA member, Tom Shepard, won 5 out of 20 times including a front suspension VOODOO.

For each raffle we opened up Gray Whale just for the day for biking, hiking, and horseback riding. Over 400 mountain bikers showed up for the first raffle and 200 for the second. We finished with $20,000 from the raffle. The total we raised with donations from riders and a Giro donation of $5,000 was $31,000. Not bad for a challenge between friends.

The side benefits to all this were incredible. We have a full-fledged club, we do trail work, a news letter (qtrly), group rides, brochures and actively present a positive image for mountain bikers in the community. We actively seek trail use in other parks. This organization is an idea who's time has come. The work is actually just beginning!

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