NTPA thoughts part 2

Published September 10, 2014 12:23PM, by Dick MorganViewed: 4004 times

I wanted to do a follow-up on the NTPA leadership article I did on August 26th. In that article I expressed my opinion that a leadership change within the NTPA is sorely needed. Having had a chance to read the proposed 2015 Rulebook changes I noticed that there was as much concern about how the pullers wanted changes in some existing rules, but there was also a real strong underlying tone on how the pullers wanted to be valued. Maybe it's just me but it sure appears that the members want change.

There is a problem in some of the classes with puller and hook numbers and this is a great opportunity for the NTPA to start to make some changes that will not only benefit the pullers but also overall show quality.

To start with the NTPA needs to start limiting the number of events they have for certain classes. There should not be more than 16-18 hooks per class. To run the pullers all over the country devalues the product. If any class is in that much demand they should get more money. It just stands to reason that if a promoter wants a class after that class has reached it's 16-18 limit then there should be a premium paid to the pullers. Let the promoters pick classes in order of seniority, events that have been with NTPA the longest get first choice, once you reach 16-18 events, that class is done being booked.

They need to stop asking pullers to drive around the country for one [1] day events that they schedule in the middle of the week. They seem to have no problem asking the pullers to go to some show in the middle of nowhere and not provide a hook the next day close to the previous nights show. Simply too many one-session events for the pullers. Too many times the NTPA will have only one class hook at a regional event and call it a Grand National event. The NTPA also needs to realize while truck and tractor pulling is their source of income and jobs, most, if not all pullers have real jobs that they need to keep to be able to support their pulling hobby.

Another thing I noticed when reading the rule proposals was the “show-up” money that other organizations give to their precommitted pullers. I know that talking to people that hook with PPL they get a $250 check the minute they park their haulers. They get one check for a one or two-session event, and if they travel to a show the next night they get a second check. If one organization has already implemented this practice it puts pressure on any other organization to follow suit. It does seem fascinating to me that the sanctioning body and sled operator get paid in the event of a rain out, yet the pullers get nothing, interesting!

This brings me to the NTPA's business model. There are three major revenue sources that the NTPA has at their disposal. One is sponsorship, the second in membership fees-hook fees and the third is sanctioning fees. Here in lies the problem, they need to sanction as many shows as they can to support their expenses, their overall operating budget. What a conundrum, some pullers want fewer hooks, rain out money, raised purses. Where is the money going to come from, while I'm sure not every request will be met, there does need to be some effort by the NTPA to at least hear the concerns of their members.

So like any business or even any household when the expenses exceed the income there has to an adjustment made somewhere. If you can not raise your income you have to reduce your expenses, sounds simple. However I'm afraid that the business model is the problem. What people are proposing such as less shows, raised purses and show-up money will stretch the NTPA is an area that they may not have much wiggle room. What-or who-will be wiggled out?

One thing I would like to see is the pullers have to option to be able to drop one hook per season. The points race would be much more exciting if the puller that has had breakage could drop a hook and still be in the points race. As it is now once a puller misses a hook because of breakage the incentive to get back out is lessened because there is no way they can get back into the points race. Lets be honest, in some classes there is just not enough vehicles following the points race to generate any excitement when just one or two pullers have breakage and miss a hook. And for those pullers that are lucky enough to make every hook they can still drop their lowest finish. And I've heard people say that the pullers will drop the farthest hook, I don't see that happening as nobody would drop a hook if they didn't have to, it's their ace in the hole, now they can drop their worst finish.

This is a great opportunity for the NTPA to do something bold, to reinvent themselves, put some exciting and innovative ideas in their shows, in the sport. Will they take this challenge, only time will tell. I know that in the past they have had the attitude that “I've seen other associations come and seen them go”. I believe it's a mistake to take one's opponent lightly, especially one with strong financial backing. A very dangerous game to play

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/12/2014 07:28AM by Jake Morgan.


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