President's Corner

January 15, 2008

Greetings:

As your new President, I want to start by thanking the membership for your vote. I will try my best to fill the large shoes of my predecessors, Jay and Paul.

I also want to publicly thank Paul for his leadership through a very tumultuous term as President, perhaps the most challenging time in Federation history.  I was at the Classic, representing Minnesota during those emotional meetings with ESPN/B.A.S.S. Those of you not involved with the Board of Directors during that time and the last two years, can’t imagine the time, effort, blood, sweat, and tears that Paul and the Board unselfishly volunteered and donated to our cause. I encourage each of you to take a moment and recognize Paul for the outstanding contributions he made during his Presidency. He is truly one of the reasons our organization is in existence today. Enjoy your retirement, Paul. You deserve it.

As most of you know, ESPN / B.A.S.S. is re-aligning and restructuring many programs, including the youth initiative. Due to this, we are going to face more challenges in the future. With recent ESPN/BASS funding cuts in travel and financial assistance, we will have to make some hard choices relating to the Youth programs and the Divisional Team. We will continue to objectively evaluate and respond to these challenges, and base our decisions on the impact on our membership, our Bylaws, and will of our constituents. As evidenced by being voted the Federation of the Year, the MNBFN is an organization that other states look to for guidance. We will continue to be that professional organization, and strive to be an example for other states to follow. Change is inevitable in the sport and organization that we as Federation members have chosen to affiliate with. How we respond and adapt to those changes is what will continue to set us apart.

I look forward to the next two years. I hope to be able to welcome many new members, and get to know those of you that I have not had the opportunity to develop a personal relationship with. I have developed many friendships within B.A.S.S. over the years, both at the States and National level and I look forward to the continued camaraderie I have been given the chance to have.

That being said, lets have a safe and productive season, catch lots of fish, and make a difference in our sport. I welcome the membership to contact me with any questions or ideas you may have.

Joe B. Barnett
President
Minnesota BASS Federation Nation
jbarnett@mnbfn.org


August 8, 2006
Fellow Fed Members:

All:

The purpose of this note to give you a quick update of what’s going on at the national level and how it will affect us in Minnesota. The Charlotte meetings of BASS Federation Nation presidents were generally calm and informative, with none of the nonsense that characterized the January festivities. Thirty-two (32) presidents attended. So, in the chronological order of my notes …

1. Divisional payouts for 2006 will be based on 2005 membership. In the future, payouts will be the same for every Division: approximately $30-35K in cash and product. The exact ratio is not yet decided. This is probably advantageous for the Northern Division because we have many smaller states.

2. In the upcoming Regional club competition, each state may enter up to 6 teams. Clubs with over 25 members can designate two teams. The field will consist of up to 36 teams from our region. Entry fee is $1,500 per team. If a state does not enter 6 teams, other states may enter additional teams to get to a full field. Protocol to be determined  at the regional level. The top six teams from each region move on. There are no further entry fees. Each member of the national club championship team gets a Triton boat.  In 2007, the regional championship will be held 8/1-4 on Lewis and Clark.

In Minnesota, we are holding the Club Championship concurrently with our TOC. Each club may designate one 4-person team; clubs with more than 24 members may designate two 4- person teams. Final standings in the team competition will establish rights of first refusal for the Regional. Regional competitors may add two additional members, plus one alternate.

3. Noreen Clough presented the American Conservation Team concept. New or renewing members, as well as civilians are invited to contributed $5 to fund conservation projects
not to include legal defense funds.

She also presented the details of a $500k AFWC grant program. This is largely funded by federal money and open to all, although BASS individuals, clubs, regions or consortia thereof have priority. Applicants must match the amount received with either cash or in-kind services.

There are also $2,000 and $5,000 scholarships available to individuals who enter appropriate fisheries programs at the college and graduate levels.

4. Stacy Twiggs encouraged participation in the Outstanding Achievement Awards programs. (Stacy makes a pretty good margarita.) Info is to come in the fall package. Lots of categories available where I think we’d be more than competitive at both the club and state levels.

Miscellaneous stuff:

You think we got things bad? In CT, they only have four lakes and all tourney boats have wait to launch behind the “general public” (defined as everyone else) who can always go to the front of the line.

In some states, an inflatable PDF does not count as a compliant life jacket unless it is actually worn. If it’s not worn, you must have a second life jacket on board. Folks are getting tickets. Minnesota law requires one Type I, II, or III life jacket for each person on board.  Most (but not all) inflatable PFDs are classified Type V, a special use device, and are only counted as a PFD when worn.

Plans for the TOC and Divisionals at Alexandria are well underway. Hope to see you soon at either/both events.

Respectfully,
Paul Becka
President
Minnesota B.A.S.S. Nation
pbecka.mnbf.org


March 9, 2006
Fellow Fed Members:

On March 2, the Board of Directors of the Minnesota Federation met to make a recommendation on our future affiliation. We had previously delayed this action because we felt there was insufficient information to make an informed decision, especially in light of the complexity of amending of our bylaws.

Since the January meeting, we’ve learned the following:

1. BASS/ESPN has greatly modified the standards it said it would require of individual clubs/states during Nationals. Essentially, it would be business as usual with BASS/ESPN.


2. Neither BASS/ESPN nor TBF/FLW will present a signable contract. The BASS/ESPN “agreement” basically affirms standard trademark law; TBF/FLW is not requiring any signed documents because it is the contracting party with TBF/FLW, not the individual state Federations.

After lengthy consideration of the alternatives, the Board voted to recommend retaining our Fed’s affiliation with BASS/ESPN. I presented this decision to the membership on March 4.

According to our bylaws, a decision of the Board can only be overturned by written challenge signed by a majority of the membership. I had promised at the January meeting that the membership would have the opportunity to vote on our future. The membership demonstrated zero interest in pursuing a challenge. Minnesota will remain a BASS/ESPN state.

Any paid-up member of the Minnesota Federation who wishes to drop out may receive a one-time-only, no-questions-asked refund of state dues ($50) if the request is received no later than May 1, 2006. Please forward to Jim Battin.

The process of reaching this decision has been difficult and intense. I know that feelings ran high, on the Board and elsewhere. I would hope to put any rancor behind us and move on to newer and better things.

Respectfully,
Paul Becka
President
Minnesota B.A.S.S. Federation
pbecka.mnbf.org

February 4, 2006
Fellow Fed Members:

Just a note to update you on how things are progressing in our attempts to work through the current EPSN/TBF/FLW situation. We have not yet received contracts to be signed from either entity. Both promised; neither delivered. I have also spoken with Steve Soukup regarding our Skeeter contract.

As things stand today, Minnesota has signed a contract (signed by Jay last year) with ESPN to hold Divisionals in 2006 which we intend to honor. Given all the uncertainty we all face, we felt a moral obligation to make sure that the folks who qualified last year with an eye toward fishing La Homme Dieu would not be disappointed. That said, this does not in any way imply that Minnesota will align solely with ESPN in the future. We are striving mightily to find a solution whereby MN Fed folks can fish with either circuit. This is legally possible, but the ESPN folks especially are making matters more difficult than is necessary. We still think/hope/believe that we can find an acceptable mechanism to make things happen.

The Board and I are have spent many hours on this situation and hope to have alternatives and recommendations for you at our March 4 meeting. With all the flaming, accusations and inaccuracies flying around the internet, all I can do is ask you to stay patient as we work this through.

Stay tuned
Paul Becka
President
Minnesota B.A.S.S. Federation
pbecka.mnbf.org

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