Thursday, September 1, 2011

Convention(al) wisdom, or not...

Ah yes, the annual American Kitefliers Association Convention Registration/attendance conundrum. There are always some people who want to just show up and fly and not register. It has ever been thus. Whether these people are good guys or bad guys is a matter of perspective. So let’s look at some of the issues involved and cover some of the perennial questions and comments.

First, what is Convention and why have it? Convention is when and where AKA members from all over the world gather to catch up and share ideas and creations. The traditional name for Convention is the Annual Meeting, not to be confused with the Annual Business Meeting. The committee position for the AKA person who does much of the planning for Convention is called the Annual Meeting Chairperson. Convention is also called Nationals. It should be noted that the first AKA Nationals was not held until 1987 in Washington, DC as part of that Convention. ‘Nationals’ is relatively new to the Convention.

One of the best kept secrets of Convention is the Annual Business Meeting. Oh, the AKA will tell you it’s happening, but they really minimize its importance to the average AKA member. The Annual Business Meeting is held on Wednesday night and it is the primary purpose of the Convention. The Board of Directors runs the AKA between Annual Business Meetings. The Board is limited by the Bylaws in the decisions it can make. The real business of the AKA is mandated by the Bylaws to be voted on by the AKA membership. Bylaw changes can only be voted on by the people who show up to the Annual Business Meeting. The Executive Committee appointed by the President is voted up or down by the people in the Annual Business Meeting.

Said another way, less than 10% of the membership goes to Convention. About 10% of Convention attendees go to the Annual Business Meeting. So, about 1% of the AKA membership actually vote on important matters at the Annual Business Meeting. The good news is that any AKA member may attend the Annual Business Meeting whether they registered for the Convention or not. Anyone who truly wants a voice in AKA policies needs to be in the Annual Business Meeting, registered for Convention or not.

Why have Convention? Well, it’s always been done, the Annual Business Meeting has to happen, Nationals, Comprehensive Competition, Fighter Competition, and it is a great ‘meet and greet’. Oh, and, there is the little thing of having an Auction on Friday night that provides AKA with much of its funding. It is always kind of a gray area, whether non-registered people are allowed to spend money in the Auction. Oops, another gray area is the Fly Mart, sometimes called the Fly Market. One would think that more customers equal more money. But the conventional wisdom (what pun?) is that this is for attendees. Non-registrants are discouraged from spending money in the Fly Market or out-bidding Registrants in the Auction.

Now, this is just an observation, but the older Convention gets, the bigger it gets (meaning it tries more and more to be all things to all people), the more expensive it gets, and the fewer people go. In these circumstances, in the real world, a business would trim the fat and lower the price and attract more people. But Convention is run more like a Government Program. Members are expected to attend at any price, for the good of the AKA, or, perhaps more accurately, for the good of the less than 10% of the AKA that attends Convention.

      1. If some people don’t pay, the rest have to pay more.

Sounds good, seems logical. After all, there are fixed costs to having a Convention. The short version is that there are two basic camps of thought. The True Believers and Ritual Attendees want every person to pay full Registration so that everyone shares the cost of the Annual Party. But, there are a bunch of people who don’t want the Party, they just want to fly kites with their friends. Their thought is, we aren’t here for their Party, why should we have to pay for their Party?

The obvious Convention costs are the venue (rental or permits for fields, tents), function rooms (Convention Hall), banquet facilities, sound system(s) for competition and demonstrations. Some less obvious costs included in the Registration Fee are rooms for the President, Executive Director, and Kiting Editor. The biggest nut to crack with the Registration Fees is the compensation for the Convention Manager, about $22,000. The fewer people that register, the more expensive Registration becomes. The process for deciding the Fee for Registration means taking total expected expenses and dividing it by expected attendees. Guess right, and Convention breaks even or makes money. Guess wrong, Convention loses money, monies are taken from the Auction to cover it, the AKA has less money to work with for the next year. Hence, there is a little pressure from the True Believers and Ritual Attendees for people to attend and register.

Counterpoint: There are people who want to be at Convention for the people, the camaraderie, the flying, and they care less about the workshops, the banquets, and perhaps this is the worst offense, the Annual Auction. Applying the ‘why should we pay for you?’ argument, why should these people be expected to bear the costs of things they do not use? These people are called Party Crashers by some. But it begs the question: How much should the Caterer pay to work the Party? How much should the Groundskeeper pay to be on his course for the Golf Tournament? If people only want to Field Direct, or Judge, or Pit Boss, or (perish the thought) supply, put up, and take down fields, why should they pay full freight?

Picture a Masters level Nationals competitor who is a Registered Attendee. Their spouse is not competing, but is a talented Field Director and Judge. The spouse is not Registered. The AKA will force that spouse to stay in the hotel room rather than use them as very competent Staff. The ‘freeloader’ appellation does not apply to many of the non-registrants so readily spurned by the True Believers and Ritual Attendees.

Many people for many years have tried to break down the wall and convince the AKA to make Convention more accessible and family friendly. The closest the AKA has ever come to concession is this: If you want to attend only 1 of the 5 days, you can pay half price. Did you get that? If you want to attend for only 1 day, the AKA will allow you to only pay for 2-1/2 days. What a deal!

AKA Board members, True Believers and Ritual Attendees throw up their hands and say there is no way to keep track, where do you draw the line, who gets how much, everybody works hard. A 'tiered' Registration, or an a-la-carte Registration is just too hard to do, that is the conventional wisdom, the party line.

So the people who have tried and tried to work with, and within, the AKA, done considerable work for the AKA, and more often than not been chastised by the AKA for the privilege of having volunteered for AKA, will gather and fly and watch.

      2. Convention is one of the biggest kite festivals anywhere.
          Why does not the AKA use it to promote kite flying?

The short version here is that Convention is, first and foremost, a party for the faithful. Who has time to spend on a teaching field? There are fewer and fewer people willing to pay the costs of Convention and work the whole thing. That means there are no volunteers to spare for a teaching field, an outreach field, a public field. Board Members have written that Convention is for us, not them. This gets us to one of my favorite perennial responses…

      3. Other organizations don’t do that…

The first question to be asked here is, just how far should this comparison be explored? On the one hand, it is true, other organizations don’t generally include the public at their conventions. On the other hand, other organization’s conventions almost universally have a base Registration Fee and extra activities are selected, and paid for, a-la-carte. If we are going to use the analogy…

So, like the five blind men who find an elephant, and each touches a different part, so each has a completely different understanding of what an elephant is, Convention is many different things to many different people. There are AKA members who remember much smaller Conventions, no Convention Manager, and Conventions were fun and intimate. These members know it can be done that way.

Many people on both sides of the Great AKA Convention Controversy want the same thing. It is a shame that such ‘agreement in principle’ gets lost in the arguments. There are many people with legitimate concerns on both sides. It is time for more listening and understanding and less pontificating (he says after pontificating for 1,500 words… )

Please feel free to comment and criticize. It will help everyone if comments and criticism are directed at the thoughts expressed and not the person expressing the thoughts.

This is a Public Blog and anyone can view it and recommend it and comment on it. Have fun. Play nice.


gquinton said...


you raise a lot of valid points but don't offer clear solutions. One that I have spoken and written about is a non-competitor registration. One that will give all rights and access similar a paid attendee except the right to compete at any event at any level.This is simply implemented by a one line addendum to the convention registration, and perhaps a different colored name tag to keep everyone honest. There is no accounting difficulty, no opting out of banquets, and no optional up-charges. A simple 15% or 20% discount will satisfy most complainants. Of course this non-competitor will be able to participate as judge or field director, will be able to volunteer for the silent auction, will be able to lead workshops. It is a win-win in all aspects. Except of course to the bean counters who will see it only as potential lost revenue.

By the way I was not aware that the President and others were comped. In fact in conversations with the current president she spoke at length about how unfair a discount for non-competitors would be to those that pay full price, but never mentioned that not everyone pays.

Gary Engvall said...

gquinton said...

One that I have spoken and written about is a non-competitor registration. One that will give all rights and access similar a paid attendee except the right to compete at any event at any level.

With all due respect, the purpose of the post was to describe both sides of each issue, not provide answers.

At the risk of torpedoing a constructive comment, a non-competitor Registration affects about 70% of Convention attendees. It has been a long time since I ran the numbers, but if memory serves, it was about 30% of Conventioneers who competed in Nationals and/or Comprehensives.

Fields, sound system and tents are not a major part of the Convention Budget, despite the fact that they usually the first item brought up.

You may have to start at 10% and not 15 or 20, but a Volunteer Pass at a discount might be the best place to start. Again, all the aspects you described, FD, Judge, Silent Auction.

But having seen this from the inside, the mantra is, "Everybody works hard." and that is the excuse for not even beginning to start down the road of financial acknowlegdement of Volunteers.

A good place to begin is at the major cost centers that people don't use, like a non-workshop Pass, or a non-Workshop/non-Banquet Pass. The AKA is very loathe to do that for the very reason that it needs to be done. They WANT the banquets and workshops, so they want everyone to pay for them and they do not want to reward people who won't use them.

Another suggestion is to have a more reasonable "Day Rate" where it is possible to get a Day Pass for 30% or 35% instead of 50% of full registration.

David Gomberg said...

Thanks for an interesting overview, Gary. Someone pointed me to your blog and I was pleased to read it. This should be posted to the AKA site where more people can see it.

Two quick points –

1) Fifty to 75% of convention attendees regularly attend the Annual meeting.

2) Freebies are a bit more than you detailed. The President, and three contractors – XD, Editor, and Convention manager receive both free registration and transportation.. I think it is reasonable to require those contractors at the convention and therefore appropriate to reimburse the expense. As for the President, I’d argue they are also essential. (Also the only “compensation” they receive.) But the important point I wanted to make here is that the lodging is usually comped by the host hotels.

Couple of other thoughts and then some suggestions.

Ala Carte:

I see the appeal of an ala carte registration. And like most things in AKA, it isn’t as simple as it might appear..

Between sport kites, fighter kites, and kitemaking, I’d generally estimate that half the registrants are “competitors”. But beyond that, I’m not sure what extra costs a competitor generates. We still need fields to fly in and sound systems. Trophies are all sponsored and often make money for AKA. So at most, the competitors require larger fields or more sound systems. How much extra do we charge for that?

The workshop rooms easily cost as much as the flying fields. So should there be another ala carte option for people choosing to attend workshops? Do we include the galleries? Fun challenges?

I’m not trying to cloud the discussion. But workshops really do cost as much as the extra space for competitors.

And finally, if you want to know the really expensive added cost of competition, it would be the space and sound needed for the indoor fly. But should that cost be borne by the few competitors or the many registrants that attend and enjoy the event?

Final point – who is going to police who goes where? Well intentioned people will get confused, and name-tag swapping is still rampant. I don’t want my badge checked each time I make a move.

So ala carte is not impossible. But it isn’t easy either. Good people could sort it all out. And I’m sympathetic to the argument that attendees who work the entire event pay as much as those who play the entire event. (Gary – your wife and mine have run the auctions – Susan three times – and never saw the sky at a Convention until Saturday.)

How to Really Save Money?

I have a couple of suggestions that will reduce Convention costs and perhaps even make it easier for families to attend.

First, I proposed some time ago and was able to implement a discount for kids who are not competing. Seldom used. Little promoted. Needs more attention!

Second, Convention is unnecessarily long. Even more expensive than air tickets is the cost of hotels and food for an entire week. I don’t think we need that much time.

The convention schedule is dominated by competition demands. The result is a five-day event with arrival the day before and departure the day after. Seven days total!

Let’s be honest. With a bit of organization and cooperation, Sport Kite Competition could be done in two days. And Kitemaking only expanded to two days because they thought the multi-line guys and gals got too much time! With two judging panels, ground judging and flight judging could take place simultaneously and much more efficiently. And the judges would not be so tired (or hard to recruit!). Fighter kites? Two days max.

Cut one day? Easy! Cut two days. Do-able. Run convention with the reception and meeting first night, auction the second, and awards the third – you reduce the cost of meeting room rental, hotels, and meals and cut $500 out of the cost for an average attendee.

Granted, the savings will vary depending on contracts at any location. But there will be savings!

Since space for comments is limited, I’ll continue this in a second post.

David Gomberg said...

As I was saying….

Third point, why do we leave on Sunday??

Sunday is a major day for possible public attendance and we use it to travel home. Hell, Saturday is basically a make-up day so there is little to see then too! So a Thursday to Monday event makes much more sense for visibility.

Similarly, most members and all students get weekends off. Less vacation time; less time without pay; less time away from school.

Seems like a no-brainer to me!

Convention Management

Reasonable people can disagree on the question of compensation for our convention management. But as the guy that started the process, let me try and put it in perspective.

Twenty years ago, AKA asked local clubs to “host” the Convention. And long-time members will remember that some hosts did better than others. Each year, new people were in charge and learning as they went.

Susan and I were the chairs of the first Seaside convention in 1989. Five hundred members attended. We negotiated meeting rooms, banquets, permits, sound systems and lunches for all attendees. I personally registered all attendees and deposited their registration checks (over $50,000) in a special club account. I also handled the needs of three visiting overseas delegations – from Japan, China, and Europe.

It was a full-time job for four months.

I saw clubs collapse under the demands of running the convention. And when I became president, I began to consider hiring a professional to do the job.

The notion was that a pro would save us enough money in negotiated rates to cover their added expense. Our first contractor cost about $10,000 as I recall – about $20 per attendee. Over time, that cost changed as contractors asked for more, and attendance went down.

I don’t know the answer to the cost issue of a paid convention manager. But I believe strongly that AKA is better served not asking amateurs to run this complex event or handle all the money.

So there you have some comments, some clarifications, and some suggestions. I hope more people see this and add constructive ideas on how we can make the annual gathering more successful.

Thanks again, Gary.

Gary Engvall said...

Many thanks and much appreciation to David Gomberg for such a comprehensive insight in to the nuts and bolts of Convention. It is generous of him to take the time to give us an inside view.

I did not mean to express or imply that rooms provided for essential personnel were freebies, only that it is part of the overhead, the overall cost of producing Convention.

It is easy to get bogged down in the minutia. Part of the art and science of producing Convention is dealing with the host hotel, guaranteeing a block of rooms to get a rate and few comped rooms. It is just part of the process. It is important, but no matter what, we will need a host hotel for Convention.

In order for productive discussion to take place, reasonably accurate costs (or even percentages of total overhead) need to be correlated with each activity at Convention and a serious look taken at how many people use the activity and a cost benefit assessment done.

Thanks again, David. Yours is exactly the the kind of input I was hoping to see here.

J Maciel said...


Thank you for posting this link on NE Kite. I never knew you had a blog. I hope many that like to complain all the time, take the time to read through the comments.

Gary, you did a great job explain a lot of the inns and outs of the convention. Many people who do not spend hours on the AKA Forum would not know the information you explained.

David. You did a great job explaining all those people who get a free ride at the convention. I also appreciated your history lesson of why we have a convention manager. It did make sense when we had 400 members.

For this year's convention the manager earns $23,500. The break even point for attendees was 175. If we exclude the 4 free rides that is 171. Let's divide 171 into $23,500. This comes to $137.43 cents. So everyone who registered like me, my husband, Gary & Maggie, etc. are paying $230 for the convention, and $137.43 for the convention manager's salary. So for $92.57 we get to go to two banquets, and pay for the fields, indoor fly area, and the meeting & workshop rooms.

The way to lower everyone's cost to is lower the salary of the convention manager by 50%. This would lower the registration fee by over $65 for this year's registrants. I am sure there are people willing to do the job for $12,000.

Finally, David brought up a lot of good ideas on how to improve the convention. Especially running if over the weekend with either a Sunday or Monday awards dinner. Combining a meet and greet with the Auction poses the problem for kitemakers that use a kite for competition then place it into the action. Maybe the meet & greet should be after a full day on the fields and followed by the indoor competition.

Hope lots of people read your blog. It is very informative.

Jackie Maciel

John Lutter said...

What would happen if the AKA decided to cancel the convention, and just go with a one day Annual Meeting?

Don't get me wrong, I understand the desire for the 10% of the membership to have competitions, workshops, and an auction... They need all week to catch up with each other.

Let be honest, we can make it free, and you aren't going to get most "non-purists" to pay $1000+ for lodging and airfare. I really don't think its the registration fee that is keeping most people from attending.

Jon B said...

Oh dear, it seems to be the political season again and all of us, your Dear Readers, will be again dismayed at the effort required to separate fact from fiction. Our local newspaper, the Washington Post, runs a regular column entitled The Fact Checker, in which the author tries mightily to separate fact from fiction and awards "Pinocchios" on a scale of one to four based on the extent to which a claimed fact is in error or actually egregiously false. FYI, Michele Bachman, Rick Perry, and President Obama were each awarded four Pinocchios in last week alone for statements that seriously deviated from the facts.

Which brings us to Mr. Gomberg's claim that AKA's first Seaside in 1989 was attended by 500 AKA members and garnered registration income of $50,000. (1) AKA's first Annual Convention ever held in Seaside, Oregon was held October 10 through October 14, 1990. (2) AKA's registered attendance for the 1990 Seaside Convention was 427 members; if anyone else attended, they did not pay to register and would not have been counted in any official records. (3) The early registration fee for the Convention was $90.00 and the late registration fee was $120. The only way that registration proceeds could have reached $50,000 would have been for less than 40 of the 427 attendees to have paid the early registration fee. More than two-thirds of attendees at recent conventions have paid the early registration fees; if this were true in 1990 (a better assumption than less than 40 of them did), the expected total 1990 registration income would have been $42,660. (If 80 more persons attended only the Saturday night dinner priced at $20 each, that would have provided only $1,600 more, for a total of less than $45,000.)

Is this just another example of puffery, resume-polishing, and inflating the records? How many Pinnocchios does the combination of these misstatements deserve? I'll leave that up to your Dear Readers.

PS: The 1990 Seaside convention was really very nice. Besides mourning the loss of its $90 registration, we can also lament the loss of what was included: 4 lunches on the flying fields, 3 continental breakfasts, both patches and pins, and members being nice to each other. The post-convention wine country tour was $20.

David Gomberg said...

I don't know where you got your numbers from, Jon. But let's presume you are correct.

Gary said to play nice and I'm trying.

Whether $50,000 or $45,000, my point was that I don't believed AKA is well served having volunteers handle the money or organize the convention.

Gary Engvall said...

Jon got his numbers the old fashioned way - he kept track at the time and has kept a record since. He is quite fastidious with such things. That is a fact about Jon which was quite overlooked when certain accusations were orchestrated against him during his recent two terms of service to the AKA.

Just as a point of observation: When someone who is careful and forthright with numbers, is loudly and frequently accused of fudging numbers, it is probably not a good idea to fudge numbers around them. I'm just saying...

David's point is taken. The AKA is not well served having volunteers handle the money or organize the convention. Counterpoint: Is the AKA somehow better served having a Convention Manager which is nearly 60% (59.75%) of the Registration Fee?

Yes, I invited people to play nice. I was just a tad disappointed in some of the ways Jon expressed things, but not at all surprised. His wounds, inflicted by the AKA, are quite deep and still somewhat fresh. So I was really inclined to cut him some slack. I printed out Jon's comments and asked Maggie to read them. She said she admired his restraint.

I am trying to keep this about the future of Convention, but often past is prologue. Some of us know what it is like to spend Convention on the receiving end of venom and vitriol from the high-minded folks of the AKA. This next Convention, I will be hanging out with the people who threw me the party after high-minded folks were done with me. We will be easy to find. We will be on Field 1.1.

Some people might think it is Field 11, but they would be missing the point... ;)

J Maciel said...

True, the AKA is not well served having volunteers handle the money or organize the convention.
So a Convention Manager is needed.....but not at a cost of $22,500.

The fastest way to lower costs is the salary of the Convention Manager to $10,000 and if the number of attendees exceeds 200, then pay the Convention Manager a Bonus of $50 per attendee. Times are hard, and many people do not get a yearly salary equal to what the Convention Manager gets for organizing one week of activities that is filled with lots of volunteers doing the tasks.

This year's convention is working on less than $100 for fields, banquets, meeting rooms, sound systems, etc. That is quite a bargain. If we were paying only $50 for a Convention Manager's salary. Would more people be at the convention? I think so.

Things are probably set in stone for Enid, OK in 2012, so now is the time to try to do something to get the salary of the convention manager reduced a lot, so the convention is more affordable in 2013. This will be the west coast area and there should be a lot of members willing to attend at a lower registration fee.

If the Convention Managers salary can be reduced for 2012 that would be very good, because I question how many have already counted next year out, due to the location and distance from so many kiters.

Gary Engvall said...

Thanks, Jackie! That's great stuff!

You have opened up discussion about another close-hold, only the True Believer Insiders know,'fact' about Convention and the Convention Manager.

The Convention Manager is not an AKA employee. They, along with the Executive Director and the Kiting Editor, are contractors. Every contract with every contractor is up for renewal every 2 years.

In a perfect world, heck, in the 'normal' world, every time the contract came up for renewal, it would be sent out to bid. Whenever the renewal date approached, there would be an RFP (Request For Proposal) so other possible Convention MAnagers could bid on the contract.

In the AKA, unless the Board has a quibble with the Contractor, the contract is renewed, with a raise.

So, the real question is, when is the Convention Manager's contract next up for renewal and can the Board be pressured in to putting out an RFP?

Keep in mind, to the AKA Board, the Convention is the venue for the Auction and an important profit center for the AKA. In the minds of most of the Board, the Convention Manager more than pays for themselves.

So, those are great suggestions, but they involve either re-negotiating an existing contract, or written in to a new contract for a new Convention Manager.

David Gomberg said...

If I may, Gary, I’d like to respectfully fine-tune some of your details.

In the last renewal, Maggie proposed a 7.5% cut in her compensation. Phil’s remuneration as Editor was reduced 5%. I believe Mel got a raise while you were president. But he had not received one in many years prior to that or since. Plus I understand he was shifted to a one-year agreement. So it isn’t completely accurate to say that folks are getting automatic raises. In fact, the opposite seems to be true.

I don’t have a big problem with renewing contracts without bids if we are satisfied with the performance or price. To do otherwise would create a lot of effort for the current contractor and wouldn’t be entirely fair to other bidders. But reasonable people can disagree on the question of opening bids every time.

The percentage of registration fees going for management is a concern.

If Jon has data on Conventions going back 20 years, I'm genuinely impressed. Because I sure don't have those numbers. And in the context of this Convention conversation, it would sure be nice to have data on attendance and registration fees for the last "volunteer" convention (Jacksonville), the first Miller managed one (Seaside 2), the first one by Johnson and the first one by Cameo. That's if the numbers are readily available.

Gary Engvall said...

Fine-tuning is great and is welcome.

While I was President, every contract that came up for renewal was renewed with a 2% increase. I did not agree with the increases, but the President does not get a vote. That is what I saw, and I believe that what I wrote, “In the AKA, unless the Board has a quibble with the Contractor, the contract is renewed, with a raise. ” is an accurate representation of what I experienced. It is good that David has better, or at least more recent, information than I do, but perhaps “ …folks are getting automatic raises.” is a less than accurate representation of what I wrote.

I would like to see numbers for the Jim Miller managed Convention in Wildwood, NJ. Was that the one where there were 475 attendees? I get 1994 and 1997 confused… But I seem to remember a Wildwood Convention where there were very close to 500 attendees. And this year the AKA is struggling to make it to 200 people in Wildwood… The times they are a changin’.

Jon B said...


Thanks for initiating a stimulating discussion on AKA's conventions. One can only hope that these discussions will lead to greater understanding and maybe even some improvements too.

Before directly addressing questions about the numbers, I'd like to address several points about AKA's contractors. Discussions about volunteers vs. paid staff go back to AKA's very founding. The first AKA business meeting I attended was in Seattle in 1980 where there was a heated argument about volunteers vs. paid staff between Red Braswell and Bob Price; up until that point, all work had been done by volunteers. I was in charge of AKA's first competition for staff, which resulted in the selection of Brooks Leffler as Executive Director. I wrote the initial RFPs, wrote the contracts still be used by AKA, and served on a number of contractor selection committees.

That's all by way of background to say that AKA's current contractor policy of no regular competitions is seriously flawed. I work in an industry where competitions for continuing positions are a regular matter: some competitions are annual, some are less frequent, but there are no instances of the "contractor forever" situation that AKA has adopted. Regular competitions are held to get the best possible price, to keep everyone on their toes regarding their best performance, and to uncover new ideas for doing the job. Competitions (sometimes referred to as "the American way") keep everyone sharp, and this is understood by the incumbent as well as others. If they've done a decent job, the incumbent usually has an advantage in the competition because of their familiarity with the job and the people in charge. By eliminating regular competition, AKA has deprived itself of an assurance that it is receiving the best price, best performance, and best ideas. Thus, in this matter, AKA's business practices do not match those of other businesses and government agencies. And, by the way, AKA's current insistence that its contractors be kitefliers first and only secondarily experienced for the job is utterly foolish and counter-productive.

On to the numbers as requested. Yes, I have some information on all of AKA's conventions, and yes, it's been hard to get much of that information from AKA.

• The last volunteer convention: Lubbock in 1992, not Jacksonville in 1991, 400 persons attending. Attendance in Jacksonville was 570. These are both best estimates; other numbers are the official ones.
• The first Miller-managed convention: Seaside, 1993, 446.
• The 1994 Wildwood convention attracted 590 registrants, AKA's all-time high.
• The first Johnson Promotions-managed convention: Muncie, 1999, 503.
• The first Cameo-managed convention: Ocean City, 2002, 505.

Registration cost info to follow.

OK, boys & girls, your turn for prizes: Which AKA convention (location and date, please)
• Had the second highest attendance?
• Was the most profitable? This is the convention itself, not including auction.
• Had the most profitable auction? Who ran it?
• Had the first auction receipts of more than $60 per registrant? What were those auction receipts on a per person basis?
• Had the first auction receipts of more than $100 per registrant?
• Had the lowest attendance in 25 years?

You can email your answers to me at . In case of ties, the earliest email wins.


Mr. Robin Mc said...

This is VERY interesting. I followed your link, Gary, from Dave Gomberg's response to this posted in the Members section.
I can write Volumes on my ideas but I will let some of them mature as I get to know the workings of the AKA from the inside.
I can only ask for your advise and your perspective. I am open to suggestions and help from all sides of all issues. I notice the divisions amongst everyone.
To me it looks like the AKA has had struggles since Bob Ingraham stepped aside in 1977. Back then I joined AKA for the first time and ended up with a Kite Lines subscription and had to rejoin AKA separately.