The 20th Anniversary MORC Gala: speakers and auctions and beer, oh my!

20th Anniversary MORC Gala at the Varsity TheaterThe 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.

Kristin Clark, MORC Board member, meteorologist, and 2WheelWeather bloggerThe 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, QBP's Director of AdvocacyGary 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.

Meteorologist Paul DouglasKristin 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 QBPSteve 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.

full-suspension carbon Salsa Bucksaw fat bikeSalsa Cycles' Mike Riemer and son JordonI 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, Minnesota High School Cycling League 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 RuschRebecca 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.

Penn Cycle CEO Pat Sorenson, Kristin Clark; photo by Penn CycleMORC's Matt Andrews with Penn Cycle CEO Pat Sorenson & Gala checkAfter 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 & FitnessPenn 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 BarQBP; and Surly Brewing.

Angry Catfish Bicycle Shop and Coffee Bar QBP - Every Butt on a Bike Surly Brewing

Andy Imholte, Black Diamond Auctions, then took over for the live auction of these 7 items:

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.

QBP co-founders Mary Henrickson and Steve Flagg Life Time Fitness National Cycle Director Patti Schmidt-Iverson 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.

Kristin Clark and Brandon Barkosky Meghann and Brandon Charboneau; photo by Katy Egle Porter and Allison Million; photo by ?

See my Google+ gallery of 40+ photos with a slideshow option.