September 13, 2012)
I just love these people. We deal with at least one "Awards" person a day... whether they are just shopping prices, getting ideas, or placing their yearly order, they are the bread and butter of our business and part of the daily routine around here. Many have become so familiar over the years that when we finally get to meet at the NFR or another show, there's usually a hug involved as it just seems appropriate.
And being as we do work with and get to know these people quite well, and more than a few are close personal friends, we've got a pretty good idea as to what these people go through.
I'm sure, from the outside, it must seem like a pretty sweet gig. I mean, who doesn't like to spend someone else's money, right? And on some level, that has to be a part of the initial appeal and draw that gets people who are already working full-time jobs, have families to take care of and horses to ride, and have absolutely no free time, to volunteer for a non-paid position. And for the first 30 or so hours these people put into researching and "shopping" companies, that is probably exactly what it does feel like.
But then invariably the day comes when the Association reveals that:
...the budget has to be reduced as there weren't as many nominations as they had expected...
...and we won't know how many Youth awards we'll need until the last race, which is two weeks before the banquet...
...and "so and so" didn't like the pads that were bought last year...
...and we're planning on awards to 6th...unless we don't raise enough at the fundraiser, then it will be 4th...unless this sponsor comes through, then it will be 8th...
...and do you think we should embroider the blankets again... what if they don't fit the winner's horses...
and...and... you get the idea.
You have NO IDEA how many last minute calls/emails we get from people begging to add 6 halters, and change the branding on two of the breast collars, and what can you do for $90 as we just found out we can add one more placing. These folks work tirelessly and I can only imagine the details they have to juggle to make it all come together. They use their breaks at work to call and email us and then forgo their evening ride to drive out to the shop and spend 4 hours picking out hides and conchos. Not to mention all the time communicating back and forth with the Association's Treasurer, showing up to club meetings, etc...
And they stress this. Alot.
They worry that the members won't like what they choose... that the companies they use won't ship the product in time. They worry about the 100 ways it could go wrong.
There's no getting around it that it's a personal reflection of these individuals, and you can sense the pressure they are under. Most are amazing to deal with, and the few who are less than ideal typically wind up being the most grateful and appreciative, which leads me to believe they were probably just nervous about the responsibility they were given. They don't know me from a can of paint, but they do know that if I flake on them they will look like a big jerk in front of you and all the other members that have been disappointed.
So the next time you win something fabulous at your local barrel club or a year end award for your rodeo circuit, make sure you tell the person in charge of picking out that award just how much you appreciate it. Just how much you appreciate them.
And if the award you win is the worst thing you've ever won, and you just can't believe they would give this away here's what you do: You go to the next meeting and raise your hand when they beg for volunteers. Then get back to me at the end of that year and let me know how it was.
And for all you Awards Directors out there... We appreciate you. We get it. We've got your back.
Until next time ~ Jess