- Oregon Bicycle Racing Association
The mission of OBRA is to promote and develop the sport of bicycle racing in Oregon by providing the tools and resources necessary for competition. OBRA values safety, participation, sportsmanship, teamwork, camaraderie and fun.
The Oregon Bicycle Racing Association (OBRA) was originally started in the late 70s. Called Oregon Cycling Association (OCA), it was then the district association of USCF clubs. The name was changed to the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association several years later to avoid confusion with the political group, the Oregon Citizens Alliance which was getting much negative media attention at the time. There was not much activity for the first few years after OCA was formed. When Steve Scarich became the District Representative he pushed to increase the strength of the organization. Organization was improved and a system of collecting fees from races was established. A few years later Mike Murray was elected to the board. Murray wanted more racing in Oregon than was currently being done so he turned the focus of the group toward making it easier and easier to produce quality events. He bought traffic signs, photo finish equipment, PA systems, CB radios and much more.
Separation from USCF
Dissatisfaction with the United States Cycling Federation came on slowly and climaxed in December 1998 when they fired all the Regional Representatives in favor of a plan to only utilize 10 people nationwide to service the membership. At this same time alternatives to the insurance provided by the national governing body became more readily available and the question was asked, 'What are we getting back for the dollars that are sent to Colorado Springs?' An annual membership ranged from $35 to $50 and then the charge for insurance was about twice what was available commercially. OBRA figured that Oregon alone was sending about $200,000 annually to USAC in USCF and NORBA membership fees and race permits and surcharges. In exchange we received little in the way of services and now we were not even getting a local representative. The straw that broke the back was when USAC doubled the permit fees for the weekend day series races. To send a message to Colorado Springs the series promoters choose to insure with an insurance plan purchased by OBRA and to forgo USCF sanctioning. We sent letters to every USAC board, director and staff member explaining why we were doing this and further explaining that it was likely that all Oregon events would do this unless USAC made changes to address our concerns over the diminishing level of service. We only received one response. It became apparent that local racing was not what the governing body was about. It is what OBRA is about, to promote and increase the number of events and racers within the state. In the fall of 1998 there was a vote of member clubs that was unanimous that we would offer the OBRA insurance plan to all events. This meant that virtually all Oregon events were no longer associated with USAC. We have met with the principle of USAC to see if we could work out our difference but to no avail.
OBRA has been successful beyond imagination. Their membership swelled to the highest levels ever when David Beede contacted OBRA about branching out into mountain bike racing. The dissatisfaction among NORBA members was even greater than that from the road/track side. Last year they were able to organize a race series amongst the mountain bike races and added them to OBRA's already existing email network. This has given them a voice that they have not experienced before.
Now other states have followed their lead. American Bicycle Racing (ABR) in the Midwest, Bicycle Racing Association of Colorado (BRAC - which has now changed its name to American Cycling Association) represent Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and parts of Texas and North California/Nevada Cycling Association (NCNCA) have all formed a coalition of association- Federation of Independent Cycling Associations (FIAC). OBRA has started incorporation proceedings and are working toward a shared rulebook and rider reciprocity. No matter what happens, the OBRA membership has chosen to concentrate on cycling within the state. Their 2000 calendar has over 200 days of racing, They offer discounted membership to juniors and strongly suggest that the race organizers reduce entry fees for those under 18. Their Best All round Competition has expanded to recognize the outstanding performances in each discipline and new for 2000 They are hosting an Oregon Cup of specific races. One thing to remember is that while OBRA tries to give the impression of an organized workforce, volunteers do all of the functions of OBRA; there are no paid positions (Ed. Note- this has changed since this narrative was originally written in 2000). What makes it work is that riders know that to get they must give back also.
According to OBRA statistics, membership has grown dramatically since 2000.
- 2000- 1738 members
- 2001- 1741 members
- 2002- 1978 members
- 2003- 2335 members
- 2004- 2760 members
- 2005- 2828 members
- 2006- 3296 members, 1014 1-day memberships
According to Velonews (2006)
- Oregon was ranked #2 in the number of cycling events, only 8 races behind California.
- Oregon was ranked #3 in the number of amateur racers, behind only California and Colorado.
- Oregon was ranked #1 in terms of the percentage of riders vs. state population with Colorado coming in over 50% lower in 2nd place.
Notable current and former members
The Oregon Bicycle Racing Association is an Oregon Non Profit Corporation that has its Constitution and Bylaws on file with the State of Oregon. The business and affairs of OBRA are managed by its Board of Directors. There are six members of the Board of Directors. Each director is elected to a 3 year term by a majority of club representatives at an annual meeting. Two directors are elected each year.
There are four paid positions:
- Executive Director
- Membership Coordinator
- Equipment Manager
Types of racing
OBRA currently maintains a reciprocity agreement with Federation of Independent Associations of Cycling (FIAC), United States Cycling Association (USAC) and other organizations. These agreements currently include honoring of memberships and/or suspensions, cooperation and production of programs.
- ^ a b c d "OBRA Administrative Rules"
- ^ Murray, Candi: "Re: OBRA's History", originally written 2000, OBRA list-serv, March 1, 2007 
- ^ Murray, Candi, "2006 end of year statistics.xls"
- ^ Murray, Candi: "Some statistics from Velo news", OBRA list-serv, September 9, 2006.
- ^ "OBRA Administrative Rules"
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