Visalia Masters Classic canceled for 2006 — again

Foot-dragging is what hurdlers do. It’s not what USATF asssociation leaders should do. But that’s what the longtime director of a major California masters meet says led him to cancel the Visalia Masters Classic — a popular staple of the Golden State masters circuit — for a second time this year. Originally scheduled for May 6, this well-run meet was first spiked when a local association official failed to submit sanctioning paperwork to Indianapolis on time. So what’s the reason for the rescheduled meet (for Oct. 14) being canceled again? The same official didn’t submit paperwork on time. So says longtime Visalia meet maven Bob Higginbotham in two phone chats tonight.

Without a sanction in hand, Bob contacted a couple dozen media outlets to let them know the meet was off. He said he faxed notice of the cancellation to National Masters News on Sept. 5 — ahead of its Sept. 10 deadline for the October issue. The current September issue lists the meet as a go.
Bob says he’s refunded entry fees to a half-dozen athletes.
Bob contends that he called Dori Cirrincione, the Fresno-based sanctioning official, numerous times as well as a sanctioning honcho in Indy but couldn’t get the sanction from Indy in time to assure successful promotion of the meet.
Dori responded by email:
We did have a problem last month with the National Office processing any sanctions for me due to confusion with credit card numbers. Bob was concerned with having to cancel his meet if it wasn’t resolved by Friday of that week. I assured Don (Chapin, association president) that the issue would be resolved, as it has long since been, and that Bob’s sanction would be processed in plenty of time for his meet. Bob chose not to believe that…and did not want to wait from Wednesday to Friday of that week for it to be finalized.
I emailed Dori right back, asking why the paperwork hadn’t been submitted way back in June, when it supposedly was available.
She replied:
The paperwork was submitted in August … or possibly late July right before the JO’s, not in September. The conversations with Bob occurred quite some time ago, not this month.
So I called Bob back and read him Dori’s statements. (Bob doesn’t have Net access at home.)
He laughed and said: “I don’t know what the hell she’s saying about credit cards.”
He said he had called Dori numerous times but had only talked to her two times. Mostly, he just left messages that weren’t returned.
Has she ever picked up the phone to call him?
Bob said: “I don’t recall a single call coming from her.”
So now a meet that’s attracted as many as 140 athletes in the past is deep-sixed for the most ludicrous of reasons.
“It was a disappointment,” said Bob, who turned 80 in August and spent hundreds of dollars out of his own pocket to buy stationery and mail out entry forms and such. “Thank goodness I didn’t order T-shirts and medals,” he told me. “Everyone was looking forward to an October meet, with cooler weather (than May).”
The meet will return in 2007, Bob vows.

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September 27, 2006

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  1. matt - September 28, 2006

    I have found Dori to not respond in the past as well. This does not surprise me that Dori would try to pass blame. It is too bad that the Central California Section is so poorly run!

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Visalia Masters Classic is a go — sometime in October

Central California is a Garden of Eden for growers, where much of the nation’s produce is harvested. It’s also a paradise for masters track, where every May the Visalia Masters Classic attracts great athletes from around the West. Except not this May. Bob Higginbotham, the 79-year-old meet director, says the event is being pushed back until sometime in October. Why? Uh, lemme tell you about it.

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April 20, 2006

2 Responses

  1. Matt - April 21, 2006

    It should be the week after the Santa Barbara meet Club West. I knew you would post this Ken,
    I called Bob as well, and told him he should call you about the situation.

  2. Logan - April 21, 2006

    UC Santa Barbara Club West masters meet is 10/7, while there is also a masters meet on 10/22 @ CSULB. October sounds like an odd time to do these meets, but I attended both last year and really enjoyed them. Looking forward to seeing the Visalia meet. This October THING is turning into its own season, but it keeps us on our toes doesn’t it?

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