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  • A few words about the recent conflicts and issues within the three-wheeling community...

    Against my better judgement as I write this I'm fixing to got put on about a half a pot of coffee, which means I'll probably be up till 1:00AM but I feel like I've got something important worth taking the time and writing here, and its something that has been kind of weighing on me recently.

    We're less than 2 weeks away from what is going to be one of the biggest three-wheeler races in probably the last 20+ years. Bigger than any year Trikefest, bigger than the OTC races. This event is going to be the ATVA Extreme Dirt Track Racing national at Ashtabula, OH on the weekend of the 20th of July. Its important to note that this is not an "official" ATVA event and per an email I got from Mr. Fisher (The track owner) no three-wheeler riders will be required to pony up for an AMA membership (whew). There has been a lot of work put into this event by TimSr of the Ohio Trike Crew, Bill Casey of TPC trikes in getting some oldschool pro riders from back in the day interested. Jackie Meadows, and at least a few others will be there riding. Plus, a bunch of amateurs like myself. From all the scuttlebutt, this is going to be quite an event and we might out number more than a handful of quad classes(!)

    As awesome as that is, Theres been a lot of drama and conflict surrounding it. Probably the most I've ever seen in our group. Ever. And thats saying something because we've seen some conflicts. And, I must admit I've participated in some of those in the past. There have been other (unrelated, but within the community) issues at the forefront of personal discussions amongst people as well, its like a perfect storm brewing of every conceivable thing to go wrong and polarize everyone thats ever been involved with the three-wheeling community ("Internet site" and otherwise) in one form or another. I've seen people that were long time friends turn on one another, I'm seeing the whole group splinter into sub factions. There isn't anything wrong with having a more localized group of friends, and in general "cliques" cannot be avoided as that is just simply human nature to gravitate more towards the people you feel most comfortable with and can identify with the most. But I'm seeing groups (from all sides of these issues) basically start competing amongst themselves for "who is right". We have people who were seriously looking forward to participating in this event that are disappointed and fed up with a lot of the drama surrounding it. Some of you reading this have a personal stake in this or a bone to pick. I'm asking you to just put aside the details of the conflict long enough to finish reading this post, and then you can continue to think the way you want, but give me just a few minutes of an open mind.

    What we (The three-wheeling community as a whole "internet sites" and everyone else that rides and loves trikes) have here is pretty close to a golden opportunity to have a high visibility in a public venue that will get multitudes of magazine exposure. Multitudes of spectator exposure. Multitudes of kudos from a ton of fellow atv enthusiasts. A lot of those guys that race the nationals, they do every race in the series, all over the country. They have friends in the industry and all over everywhere that could bring an endless list of possibilities for this community to continue to thrive and build on some of the traction we've gained over the years. And yet, it also threatens to completely rip us apart it seems. This site will be a medium for communication and camaraderie as long as I'm physically able to keep it that way, but the drama and internal struggle ruins it, and it ruins us. There isn't a single person that visits this site, or goes to races, or spends ungodly amounts of money on parts and restorations that doesn't just love it as a passion. We are ALL very passionate people. And naturally, being the defiant types still riding the demon death trap illegal three-wheeled things, have strong convictions about what we believe in. I've spent many long nights on the phone with friends and some people that I didn't even really know that well trying to mediate and keep people on agreeable terms with one another at different times. Some recently, some in the past. And its hard to focus on the big picture and look beyond those differences and problems. I GET IT, I really do! But if that drama and conflict ruins your appetite for what you love, is it really worth it?

    If your in personal turmoil over these issues, or any other, its easy to think and say to yourself "This is BS and I'm sticking to my guns and I don't give a what anyone else thinks!", "So and so is a jack ass and not worth my time." I've said these same (and worse, I'm afraid) things many times before in the past with my own personal conflicts INSIDE this community I've had. To be honest, I just about had a break down a few days ago and was ready to throw the whole towel in on "all of this", because it was stressing me out big time on top of already pre-existing personal and professional responsibilities. I was ready to pull the plug on everything because it didn't seem worth it. And then, I had a bit of a realization...We get so caught up in sticking to our guns, and we are ALL naturally on the defensive more than about 99% of the population because of the stigma associated with our sport, that it sometimes makes us miserable defending what we think and feel so staunchly. The reason we defend our convictions (whether a sub-matter of this community as a whole, or something more at the forefront) is because we are PASSIONATE! We care about this hobby and sport. We miss family functions, we use our precious work vacation days to go riding, we spend more money than we probably ought to on bikes and parts, it becomes a life-style. We might have different ideas and plans on how to get to somewhere, but I feel like I can say all of us have the same general desire, and passion...we just apply it via different methods, and have different ideas on what specific goals should be, and this is where 99% of the conflict originates.

    The question I'm asking everyone to take a few moments and ask yourself is; Is giving these conflicts and bouts of friction merit, and thought, and further stoking the flames of the fire worth destroying your passion and love for the sport? Is acknowledging and participating in these drama situations worth making you grouchy around loved ones? Is it worth you getting so frustrated one night you go to the garage and throw tools and parts around, is it worth fully washing your hands of your desire to participate in this sport simply out of disgust at something, is it worth allowing the drama and battles to kill your fun? When you perpetuate these types of conflicts and don't work to defuse them, it sours the passion and desire you have to continue participating. Who wants to get stressed the hell out over something that we all do for fun and enjoyment? NO ONE! I've realized that over the years this has affected me as well...I've gradually lost some of the "spark" I had and interest in the sport because of the continued conflict that I deal with (and perpetuated, I realize that now). I don't care how strong you you think you are, if you feed it, at some point it will wear you out and break you down, I was right on that edge recently, trust me.

    ALL of these issues are PETTY in the big scheme of the combined passion we all have. Is that passion and desire that we all have worth getting snuffed out by these battles that keep coming up? Is letting this stuff get to you worth waking up one morning and having the feeling of selling all your bikes and taking up water coloring because its less stressful? Make that mathematical calculation....is allowing this CRAP get to you worth murdering your affinity for the sport? Do you want to come home from work and see the bikes and be relieved, and smile at them, or do you want to walk by them in a total indifference because you've allowed the conflicts to disgust you?

    I'm not asking everyone to make friends with one another and sit by a campfire holding hands singing kume-bye-ya. This is the real world. People have differing personalities, and not everyone will always get along. And while some people might be good at not verbalizing their "real" thoughts and feelings and keeping things sounding amicable in public, if you personally analyze this stuff and keep thinking about it, IT WILL GET YOU! Even if its all entirely interalized, it isn't worth it. Putting on a good show for the public and having to grit your teeth the entire time because you don't believe a word your saying is about as useless as just coming right out and perpetuating things externally.

    Try and look at the situation from the other persons side, and make a genuine effort to work it out. I'm challenging everyone to make an effort to reach out and try and resolve an outstanding issue you might be involved with. I'm going to as well. And if we can't, then we have to just let it roll off our backs. Don't feed the drama, or waste valuable brain power on it. Ignore it. Pay it no mind. Try and not worry about who is right, or telling someone why they are wrong. If you dont, one day you'll wake up and you wont want much of anything to do with the sport anymore...and you wont even care enough to want to change that.

    We all just want to ride and have fun...lets keep that our forethought when troubling things and situations arise.

    Thanks for your time,
    Comments 10 Comments
    1. yaegerb's Avatar
      yaegerb -
      Very good article, and I have a couple thoughts for you. Sending you a PM.
    1. Swinger's Avatar
      Swinger -
      Well put Billy
    1. Tri-Z 250's Avatar
      Tri-Z 250 -
      Billy I'm in total agreement with ya. This is a HUGE spotlight on us(3wheeler crowd) and outsiders to the boards have no clue of any conflicts. The old saying of the bad apple spoiling the pie holds true here. 3wheeler racers can't afford to take a step back due to some bad press or slighted judgment from the general public. I'm sitting this one out, some for the reasons mentioned. Mostly I got nothing to prove to some old Pro coming back for just one more. I fear getting bumpped off the sweeper by a 1st timer who didn't hold their line as well. I live in the Hotbed for 3wheeled racing...I can catch the next one. I will be apart of this Event but I'm doing it as a specatator...sad but I made my decisison a month ago. Oh sure I'll be there grillin-and chillin lakeside, you guys swing by for a burger and soda(payback from the harescramble). I just wonder how many will showup unequipped and non preped, half in the bag, loose lipped, ripping the pits with an unpacked silencer trying to get their bike running at the event. I hope for the Best but don't want to be apart of any misshaps, or bad imagery. This is going to be Superfun and were all gonna get along just fine...The big thing to remember(this goes for everyone) is getting invited back for 2013 with open arms.
    1. kawasaki666's Avatar
      kawasaki666 -
      It's sad when something is thrown together for the benifit of the sport, and some yah-hoos have to question the size of every ones to prove something! FUN is what it is ALL about!!! Very good article!
    1. JohnR.'s Avatar
      JohnR. -
      Bravo to you Bill! Excellent article. I can relate on getting burned out on something you once loved more than nothing else. I hope you all put on a great show and all stay safe.

      Tri-Z - I couldn't agree with you more. Nothing worse than having a pilot with little or no experience taking you out and possibly injuring you because of a rookie mistake. Also, all too often people who should have been preparing their machines months before show up only to spend hours trying to get it started or to tune it in the pits. It just makes all of us look "ghetto" and unprofessional.

    1. brapp's Avatar
      brapp -
      i completly agree billy, were suposed to be entusiast, and it seems liek soem people spend more time riding thier mouse and computor screen than riding thier trikes!!
    1. Matrix's Avatar
      Matrix -
      Wow I didn't think there were issues among members on here. I thought some just didn't take crap from anybody which is fine but I came out of this article completely different from when I came in..
    1. TimSr's Avatar
      TimSr -
      Well said Billy. I know the feeling well because everyone knows I DID walk away from it all to start fresh. Nothing is more discouraging than spending thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours to offer something to the public for which you get no compensation whatsoever, and then getting constantly bashed, criticized and beat up for what you "didn't offer", or what mistakes you may have made as though you owe them something by virtue of having offered it in the first place. Billy, I've seen you experience the same. Each year when I'm spent and about ready to pull the plug, tired of being the community punching bag, its a handful of supportors who say "Thanks for all you do. I really enjoyed this opportunity.", that encourages me to put together another year's program targeted towards them. At this point, I am SO regretting news of this event ever going pubic, but the bullet has left the gun. Not that I don't want the huge turnout and the public exposure, but I am so weary of wearing the bullseye and have so much concern for what kind of exposure it will be. My phone number and email are published on the OTC site. That is how grownups resolve issues, and I thank those who chose to do that, and encourage those who have not, to do the same. I've managed to re-build bridges with some of the bitterest of enemies because of a mutual passion for the sport, and have no doubts that a "cease-fire" can be negotiated with anyone who is willing and sincere. As for my thoughts on noobies, I have no problem with them whatsover, and would encourage them to particiapte in any OTC event. They are rarely the problem. They are usually there for fun and the experience, and not intent on winning, and are willing to brake or steer to avoid an accident. Most of the OTC guys have greater concern over outside, experienced racers, not familiar with our "this is a show for fun" mentaity who take it far too seriously, and want to win so much that safety and courtesy towards other riders is ignored, and they become a safety concern for anyone around them. It's just an exhibition race people! Lighten up! There are NO national titles here, unless you're on a quad. In an exhibition class, the promoters and spectators want to see a bunch of regular people who look like they are having fun, in a way that looks inviting to other regular people, not a bunch of serious factory sponsored professionals racing to put food on the table! We are the "rodeo clowns" of this event, and nobody likes an angry, miserable, or serious rodeo clown! Anybody who has seen a rodeo respects clowns as the most talented people out there, so its in no way meant to be demeaning. I encourage anybody to slap your shortest baldest tires on your trike and come on out and participate, and have some fun entertaining spectators. If you find it scary, or doubt your ability to hold your line, just hold back on the start and follow behind the pack. Even a 200S would be suitable for this event! Yes, you won't "win", but bobody cares! If you come out, with a light heart, intent on having fun, while being respectful of others, you WILL have fun and lifetime memories! If you come out feeling the need to prove something, or are obscessed with winning, you are far more likely to leave disappointed. Racing is not about race experience, expensive equipment, and professional racing skills. It's simply about an attitude of FUN and respect for the other riders.It's every individual, racer or spectator who represents triking that will determine whether this event is a one shot deal, or an annual event. Whether you like it or not, every other triker there is representing YOU, so there is nothing but destruction in fueding with anyone.
    1. bkm's Avatar
      bkm -
      I guess being somewhat new and outside of the racing scene is a good thing. I never knew there was so much going on behind the scenes. Its a shame though because the internet can be a god send, but its also the downfall of civilization in some respects. I truly hope that all differences can be set aside and this upcoming race can be a landmark step in the right direction.
    1. tri again's Avatar
      tri again -
      so well presented. I thought I was back in philosophy class. Human psychosocial group dynamics and then realized we're back in the land of tripod stability. so simple, really, but the 'devil is in the details' also comes to mind. I retired from running 3 day events and no one can come close to comprehending what it takes to make it work. ..unless they've actually been through it. Great job Billy and a most eloquent execution of concept. Thanks for sharing. We all needed to hear it.
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