On a cool, crisp, bright and sunny November morning with clear blue skies during Thanksgiving 2000, I was standing on the vendor pad on Gecko road talking to Doug, who was Sweet Marie’s husband, while he fixed a buggy tire for me. Yes, boys and girls, there really was a “Sweet Marie”, and she was one of the nicest ladies you’ll ever have the pleasure of meeting. She was a Glamis fixture for many years before I started going. Always with a smile, helpful and pleasant. For those of us camped on Gecko road, she was the first place to go for spare parts, fixed flats, a weld, flags, and snacks. If she didn’t have it, and you were willing to wait a day, she’d bring it out tomorrow. She would have fresh baked pies brought in daily from Julian, California; apple, peach and others. If you were lucky enough to show up around 4 pm you might get one for your Thanksgiving Day dinner. If you were a ‘regular’, as my wife was, you could pre-order and she’d hold one for you.
The closure stakes had just been put up, by fellow duners no less, unfairly taking away 49,000 acres of riding area that had been promised to remain open to the OHV community. There was no ASA, and had there been, I wouldn’t have known about it. I had not heard of the CBD, and wouldn’t know what Peirson’s Milkvetch was if I was standing in a field of it. But Doug, he was angry. His business was threatened, his income, his lifelong dedication to providing services to the people who recreate ‘out there’. “We’re already organizing. We’re gonna sue. We’re gonna get all that’s closed opened back up and we’ll get it done by President’s day next year, you watch, those…..(can’t say here)….. we’ll show em’.
Sadly, Doug passed away a few years later, and he was so mistaken on what it was going to take to ‘get our dunes back”. He didn’t live to see any of our eventual victories. Sweet Marie sold the business, and I’ve never seen her again. I eventually found the ASA BBS, mostly by accident, looking for new people to camp with. (BBS….yeah…that’s old school for what is now called ‘chat’) It was there that I learned where the fight was to reopen our dunes and the need for money, lawyers, biologists and volunteers. We were in a big fight, and we might not win it; worse, we could lose it all. I went to my first Sand Sports Super Show (SSSS) in 2003. It was…..well, actually, it was FUN! Spent some time selling T-shirts, memberships, talking to fellow off road enthusiasts (Flo was amazing….really miss her) and helped pack the booth up. I’ve been going back ever since. I took over the Chairmanship for the event in 2011. Wow. It’s been 10 yrs.!
So, why is the ASA at the SSSS? It is the ASA’s largest yearly fundraiser. More than half our operating budget is raised at this event. We have a 20 x 30 covered booth outside near the center of the show. Our primary goal is fundraising, through the sale of raffle tickets, memberships, T-shirts, season ISDRA (Glamis) passes, and business sponsorships. Our secondary goal is interacting with and informing the duning community of the current issues facing our sport; threatening our riding areas, educating OHV enthusiasts about safety and safe recreation and explaining what the ASA is and has been doing. Our booth is staffed entirely by volunteers and we need help. We need 6-8 people in the booth at all times to properly service our customers. It’s not hard work, it is a lot of fun. We have a great, though dwindling, group of veteran volunteers who are happy to show new people how things work. We ask for at least 2 hours of your time. By giving us 2 hours of your time, it allows a much-needed break to someone else. Anyone working a 2 hour shift can take advantage of our hospitality area. If you want to ‘work the show’, then for anyone who works a minimum of 4 hours a day, all 3 days, the ASA will get you in the show and if needed, will provide either a camping spot or local hotel room; also, we have a ‘hospitality’ area in the camp ground where you can get breakfast, lunch and dinner for FREE. We’re not asking for your money. Your TIME is the most valuable thing you can give us.
The ASA is currently:
The above has consumed our entire budget, but…WAIT…there’s MORE……the ASA, (with other OHV groups) is deeply involved in the fight to keep Oceano Dunes (Pismo) open. We are estimating that fight will cost the community on the order of $250,000.
How much money do you have invested in your toys? In your RVs, trailers, quads, side x sides and sand cars? How much fun do you have with your family and friends each year recreating off road? How important is it to you to have a legal place to go riding?
All we are asking for is a few hours of your time or maybe a couple of days; doing something that can be fun!
Thanks for reading and I hope to see all of you at the 2021 Sand Sports Super Show.
Misner’s wife Lisa introduced him to off-roading and Glamis in 1999 and he has been hooked ever since. Her family has been duning since the early 1970’s and Lisa is one of the few people that he knows who has duned in what is now the Wilderness Area north of Hwy 78. The Misner’s run around in old style Corvair powered sand rails.
Misner has been involved with the ASA in some capacity since 2002 including two terms on the Board of Directors ending in 2006 and 2014. He decided to return once again, because he feels he is now in a position to contribute once again to the success of the organization.
Misner is also a past president of the Orange County ATV Association and current Chair of the ASA Poker Run. He has spent most of his working life as an engineer in the aerospace field.