We're racing through history!
I was at the Museum this morning helping Don Mock work on the horizontal wing for the Blue Blaster when fellow member, Bob Senior, came over to say hello and to check on our progress. Bob is a very special person having been involved in Unlimited Hydroplane racing in one form or another for nearly 50 years. I always look forward to a visit from Bob. Among the things we discussed during his visit was the growth of (this) Museum Website to over 700 members. That’s nearly a three-fold increase since the website went on line nearly 2 years ago. Bob pointed out that our paid membership – that is, full members of the Hydroplane and Race Boat Museum and not just the website - has not kept pace. It’s growing, but not at 300%. As museum board member Steve Compton, pointed out in his blog 2 years ago,
“ We are approaching 250 members on the new site. You can read about, and participate, in Museum events, post and/or enjoy many hydroplane racing photos and videos, create a blog, start a discussion on the Forum or join the group for your favorite hydro. But please understand that by registering on the site, you have only become a member/participant of the web site, it does NOT include membership in the Museum itself. Museum membership involves a financial participation. You can find more information, benefits and dues structure, by clicking on the Museum Store button (in the Menu bar above) and then clicking on Museum Membership in the left-hand column. The Museum Store is also a great place to do some Christmas shopping for that certain hydroplane fan on your gift list. Thank you!”
My initial response to Bob noted that many of you were not local residents thus were not able to frequently enjoy all the benefits of paid membership, like free admission to the Museum. You pretty much enjoy and share your passion for our sport and its wonderful history with this (no cost) website. The stories, the amazing never-before seen photos and recollections from all around the globe have been terrific. Still, it seemed like a no-brainer to me. Why should you spend money when you get the website for free?
I began thinking more about this on my way home, when it suddenly struck me: I am a long-time listener and viewer to Public Television and NPR Radio and I support both with annual cash contributions. I am a member of local PBR affiliate KPLU and PBS channel 9, KCTS. I can listen and watch both without cost. But I choose to be a member.I am getting value for my money. Okay, I confess that my annual contributions are tax deductible when I file my tax return, and I do the same with my museum dues, since it qualifies as a 501 (C) (3) organization. Despite the tax savings I am simply delighted to be a member of all 3 organizations, which serve to provide me with entertainment and information not available anywhere else. Besides, it also gives me discounts from the museum store, which I don’t get from PBS and NPR. No big deal, I’d rather wear my Miss Wahoo jacket than one that says, “I Love Sesame Street” (even though I do)
Membership dues to the Museum make it possible to not only keep the doors open, but help fund the restoration of some magnificent and historically significant race craft that might otherwise be lost forever. The work being done by an unpaid team of volunteers bringing the famous Atlas van Lines “Blue Blaster” is mostly funded by museum memberships.
I’ve rambled on far too long, but I have a passion for what I’m doing for nothing more than the joy of playing a part in the restoration of one of the great icons of my formative years. Even if you can’t be at the museum nearly every day, like me and Don and the rest of the restoration team, you are no less important with your full membership. By the way, one of the ‘Blaster team members flies out from the East coast 2 or 3 times every year just to help us with the project.
Or, would you prefer that we call you during dinner every 6 months asking for your pledge? Just joking, but please consider becoming a full member of the Hydroplane and race Boat Museum, won’t you?. It is so important to all of us who cherish and honor the sport. I’d love to have the Blue Blaster back in the water next year. Heaven knows I’ve spent the better part of 3 years of volunteer work just to help bring her back to life. I do so because I love what I’m doing. I even pay for the privilege. I sense from the website activity that a lot of you feel as I do.
I appreciate every one of you who follow our activities from a distance and provide so many stories, photos and anecdotal histories, but why not join us in “The Pits” and help continue the museum's growth? I think you’ll find some of the activities and projects “in the wings” to be very exciting. Please be a part of it with your full membership.
Oh, and at the risk of further rambling, if you’re reading my diatribe this far, I would personally appreciate hearing from those of you who haven’t joined, simply to understand why not? Be sure to include your phone number and usual dinner time. (Smile)
Thanks for indulging me...