The 20th Anniversary MORC Gala at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis on Sunday was fabulous. As a MORC board member, I’m more than a little biased, of course. So with that caveat, here’s a glimpse into the wingding.
The doors opened at 2pm for the Surly Brewing Happy Hour, with live music by The Lost Wheels. MORC Board member, meteorologist, and 2WheelWeather blogger Kristin Clark (@2WheelWeather & @KClarkWx) was the Master of Ceremonies and began her duties by introducing each of the speakers.
Gary Sjoquist, Mountain Bike Hall of Fame (MBHOF) member and QBP’s Director of Advocacy, gave a detailed overview on how mountain biking got started in Minnesota, and how MORC came to be. Some of this history is included in the MBHOF page on Gary.
Kristin then introduced Paul Douglas (@pauldouglas), her boss at WeatherNation and long-time local meteorologist. Paul deftly and humorously wove mountain biking into his speech’s theme on climate change in Minnesota. He got a big cheer from the fat bikers in the crowd when he confirmed that a significant snowstorm was on the way.
Steve Flagg, co-founder and president of QBP (@QualityBike) told the story of how the company came to see the potential for fat bikes and the role it has since played in their proliferation. We also got to hear the story of the company’s tag line: Every Butt on a Bike.
I had a hard time focusing on Steve because right below the podium was a red full-suspension carbon Salsa Bucksaw fat bike that he said he’d just seen for the first time and that Salsa Cycles (@salsacycles) marketing manager Mike ‘Kid’ Riemer had just blogged about a few days earlier. I had dinner with Mike and his son Jordan and I told them: My geezer butt needs to be on that bike. Real Soon Now.
Libby Shea Hurley, Communication Director for the Minnesota High School Cycling League (@MinnesotaMTB), spoke about the League’s mountain bike racing in Minnesota, which just finished its third season. “Pretty cool” was Libby’s operative phrase and I’d agree. 2014 saw over 500 student-athletes participating, with 42 teams representing over 60 schools.
Rebecca Rusch (@thequeenofpain) spoke, not about her lengthy list of achievements as an athlete, but about the importance of bicycle advocacy. She walks the talk. A recent example: Wheel Girls MTB Club in her hometown of Ketchum, ID. She was also signing copies of her new book, Rusch to Glory. I bought a copy and had her sign it for my daughter Gilly, a ‘queen of pain’ in her own right.
After the silent auction and dinner, Kristin presented Penn Cycle & Fitness CEO Pat Sorenson with a signed and framed print #1 of the MORC 20th Anniversary poster by Adam Turman.
Penn Cycle was the Title Sponsor of this year’s MORC Gala and has also become a MORC Diamond Level Partner in 2015.
Titanium level sponsors for the Gala: Angry Catfish Bicycle and Coffee Bar; QBP; and Surly Brewing.
Andy Imholte, Black Diamond Auctions, then took over for the live auction of these 7 items:
- Mukluk 3 fat bike from Salsa Cycles
- Float 29er fork from Fox Racing
- Road Machine fluid trainer from Kinetic
- Custom fit session with accessories from Erik’s Bike and Board
- Spearfish frame from Angry Catfish Bicycle and Coffee Bar
- VIP entry for Rebecca’s Private Idaho thanks to Rebecca Rusch
- Special brewery tour package from Dangerous Man Brewing Co.
Andy finished with a series of “Who can donate $X?” challenges to the audience. Many took him up on it, including most generous donations from QBP co-founders Mary Henrickson and Steve Flagg; Life Time Fitness National Cycle Director Patti Schmidt-Iverson; and QBP Advocacy Director Gary Sjoquist.
It’ll be awhile before MORC tallies up the numbers on the fundraiser. But it’s safe to say that members of the MORC Events Committee set the bar high and hit it out of the mountain bike park, to triple-mix my metaphors.
Utmost props to Chair Kristin Clark and her team: Brandon Barkosky, Porter Million, Brandon and Meghann Charboneau, and with ample staff support from MORC Executive Director Matt Andrews.
See my Google+ gallery of 40+ photos with a slideshow option.