Friday, November 22, 2013

November 2013 SDADA Column

"Preconceived notions are the locks on the door to wisdom"- Merry Browne

I think that quote best describes the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's desire to eradicate the indirect lending model auto lenders use with automobile dealers. They do not care about how this change would affect consumers. The bureau simply wants a flat-fee model.

In March, the CFPB issued a bulletin that holds lenders responsible for unintentional discrimination at the partnering dealership — known as disparate impact. They offered no methodology for how they came to the determination that this was an industry-wide problem.

Interestingly, because an application for an auto loan is not legally allowed to contain information about a borrower's gender or race, regulators must use "proxies" to assume the customer's profile based on trends in surnames and census information. So how do you even determine that discrimination has taken place? It seems like a self-fulfilling prophecy!

NADA continues to fight this fight on behalf of dealers and now the American Financial Services Association (AFSA), a trade association that includes many auto lenders, is launching an independent study into the effects of the indirect lending model on consumers and the auto industry. Their study will include an analysis of the costs and benefits of the status quo vs. changes, such as flat fees, advocated by the bureau.

I think most dealers would welcome a fair, balanced study of whether there is inequity in the system. I don't know any dealers who advocate discrimination based on race, religion, sex or any other type of profiling.
The study also needs to look at whether costs to the consumer may, as many have suggested, be raised elsewhere in the business model. NADA has cautioned that the Bureau’s efforts will harm consumers by reducing the competitive benefits of dealer-assisted financing.

Consumers, lenders, dealers and regulators would all be best served by getting ALL the information before making decisions!

How's Your 401K?
I was elected to the NADART board two years ago. Last week I attended a NADART board meeting. There are a lot of great things happening with NADART.

NADART gives auto dealers access to retirement services not available to other businesses. By combining the buying power of thousands of auto dealers across the nation, NADART gives NADA members access to superior fiduciary and leading administrative support, regardless of the size of their business. This “strength-in-numbers” approach is a powerful example of the difference between NADART and other 401(k) providers.

If you are using your local broker because he buys a vehicle from you every 5 years or you are using a large brokerage house that does not afford you the personal care and tailoring of your plan that you need and deserve, you owe it to yourself — and your employees — to discover how NADART can make a difference for you. Go to for more information.

NADA Convention: 33 Hotels Sold Out; Limited Number of Rooms Available in New Orleans
I hope you are planning to attend the 2014 NADA Convention & Expo in New Orleans. If so, you should register as soon as possible and book one of the few remaining hotel rooms. Thirty-three out of 36 hotels in the NADA convention block are sold out. Only three hotels have rooms available, which are Embassy Suites, Hyatt Regency and Omni Royal Crescent. There are numerous conferences and events scheduled in New Orleans over the same dates as the NADA convention and so hotel rooms are filling up quickly and there’s limited space. The NADA convention runs Jan. 24-27. Dealers and their managers who register by Jan. 16 will receive at $75 discount from the on-site rate. For more information or to register, visit

Thursday, November 21, 2013

SDHSAA Fleeces Fans for Foundation Funds

Bob Mercer has written a story about the South Dakota Activities Association's new ticket pricing policy which steals a dollar per ticket from member school and places it under the "care" of the SDHSAA Foundation.

The net result of the new ticket pricing policy is a 40% increase in ticket prices for all sub-state tournaments. Despite this increase in prices, it is not uncommon for schools to lose money hosting these sub-state events. The SDHSAA gets their take from the gross proceeds while members schools are left to pay expenses out of what is left. In some cases, that is not enough to cover the overhead and so schools end up dipping into their own funds to make up the shortfall.

From Mercer's article:
School officials aren’t happy with the $2 increase, according to Sen. Larry Lucas, D-Mission. “So that message is being heard,” Lucas said. 
The groundswell against the $2 increase prompted a response from Carney earlier this month.
He sent a letter to school districts statewide on Nov. 8. He promised that money from the foundation will eventually flow back to schools.
The Aug. 29 vote called for a foundation committee to be established. Until those people are appointed, the association board will oversee the foundation.
The foundation committee is supposed to make recommendations to the association board and the board will make recommendations to the SDHSAA member schools for the April annual meeting, according to Carney.
Carney said in his letter that he’s working with Stephanie Judson, president of the South Dakota Community Foundation. Carney and SDCF’s then-president Bob Sutton signed the agreement in 2007 creating the activities foundation.
Records from the board’s meetings in 2012 and 2013 show Carney and his staff presented options for raising money for the foundation on several occasions.
The meeting minutes however don’t show any discussions or explanations about why the foundation needed the money or why the foundation should be used rather than the association’s treasury.
If the money from the foundation will eventually flow back to schools anyway, why does Mr. Carney feel the need to take it from the schools in the first place?

Does Mr. Carney believe the SDHSAA knows how to distribute that money better than the member schools do?

So none of the foundation funds will be used for SDHSAA “pet projects”?

Do you think fans would rather give the dollar to the SDHSAA or to their own member school?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Quest for the Wapiti

After more than fifteen years of applying for a South Dakota elk tag, on May 29, 2013, I received an email from the SD Department of Game, Fish & Parks notifying me that I had drawn a Black Hills elk tag. Wow! I was excited! I had started applying in the early 1990's and at some point, I got busy chasing kids and missed applying for a couple years and lost all my preference points. I started again in the early 2000's and had 8 or 9 preference points when I drew this tag.

I was fortunate to draw in the unit in which we had recently bought a cabin so that made it very convenient (and much cheaper). I immediately reserved the cabin for the last week of September and the entire month of October.

The Preparation

Next I busted out the resources. I read two books immediately and once September rolled around, I scoured the internet for tips and tactics.

The plan was to head out to the cabin after my daughter, Sarah's, volleyball tournament in Miller on 9/28. That would give me two full days to scout and then the season opened on Tuesday, October 1. I made a list and started packing. My list was extensive and grew with every article I read.

Then about a week before I was due to go, Sarah got news that she was in the homecoming court. That meant I had to be in Chamberlain for coronation on Monday, September 30 - the night before the season started. That would not be real convenient - a 4-hour drive after coronation to the Hills. But it's what had to be done.

The Scouting
Sunday, September 30, 2013

Two days before the season opened a friend, Scott, and his dad took me out to scout for elk. They are avid elk hunters who often scout for elk even when they don't have tags. They had several favorite places to share with me.

We started at the end of Limestone Road area. We went for a short walk where he showed me a great vantage point from which you could see a huge draw and meadow. He bugled a couple times to see if we could get a response, but no luck.

From there, we went to another area a bit further south toward the Dry Lake area. Here there were several ridges that divided and overlooked these long, wide meadows.

After that we went to the Dead Ox area where they showed me where they had killed an elk. They gave me several ideas how to work that area as well. Then we went to the Little Spearfish area. We discussed several different strategies for how to hunt this area as well. There were hunters who had moved their campers in and were setting up camp in different parts of the little Spearfish area.

Finally, we went to the Rifle Pit Road area in the far southwest corner of the unit. I was somewhat familiar with this area. This is where I had done my limited scouting on a couple of earlier trips to the cabin.

All morning, they had stories of their elk hunts and different places they've seen elk. It was fun to listen to them. It was so obvious that they had a passion for elk hunting.

Monday, September 30, 2013

The alarm went off at 5 AM.  I got dressed, grabbed my stuff and took off in the middle of the night. I got there little before 6 AM. After throwing on my coat and grabbing my binoculars, I set off for an area that I thought would be a good place to watch early in the morning.

I got about 20 steps from the truck, and I heard elk bugling. That got the adrenaline going. I was no longer sleepy! I followed my ears. I was somewhat familiar with the area from which the bugling was coming. I had walked that area evening before.

The sky behind me was starting to get light. I walked about a quarter-mile into a huge open meadow between two wooded plateaus. It sounded like I was close the bugling. Sure enough, when I looked through my binoculars, I saw a group of about a dozen elk in front of me about 200-250 yards.  I made my way to a tree stump where I could sit and watch them through the binoculars.

I watched them for 15-20 minutes as they slowly made their way toward me. Eventually they got to 150-160 yards.

I took some pictures and decided to try to shoot some video. That was a mistake. When I turned the video on, the flash came on. I did not realize the light was on, but I knew I had been busted when all of the cows and calves were looking at me. A dozen pairs of eyes were focused right on me!

Meanwhile the herd bull was preoccupied with a satellite bull. The herd bull was a 6x5. He was awesome. The satellite bull, a rag horn, was quite aggressive.

Finally, the cows and calves scampered into the woods behind them. The herd bull followed the cows into the woods and the satellite bull scampered to the edge of the woods

I let them settle down a bit and then decided to approach them directly into the wind. I had to move to the right (north) approximately 100 yards. The herd bull continue to bugle alerting me to their location.

I followed them from about 300 yards behind for a quarter mile. Eventually I wound up on top of one of the plateaus with some shorter trees and good visibility. I was able to listen to the satellite bull, the herd bull and a third bull bugle  back and forth at each other for 15-20 minutes

I took pictures, shot video (more carefully this time!) and recorded the sound of the bulls bugling back and forth. It was a majestic sight and sound - Mother Nature at her finest.

I watched this huge lone 6x6 bull walk into the same area as the herd. They were behind trees so I did not see the interaction between these two majestic bulls. I heard tree scraping and foot stomping. Eventually the lone bull walked back, crossing in front of me. (See video below - turn the volume up!)

I followed the herd for another 45-60 minutes. It was interesting just watching the interaction among the herd. I did not want to get busted again and perhaps scare them out of the area so I would not be able to see them again tomorrow.

Finally I made my way back to the vehicle and headed back to the cabin. I grabbed some lunch, organized my hunting supplies, and left for Chamberlain. Coronation was scheduled for 8 PM.

I left the cabin at 12:30 PM and arrived back at the cabin at 11:40 PM. I changed into my hunting clothes, packed my lunch, packed my supplies and took off for the hunting site. I arrived at my chosen hunting site at approximately 1 AM.

The Hunt

Day 1 - Tuesday, October 1, 2013

I parked my Tahoe and trailer alongside the road and reclined the driver seat and tried to sleep. Needless to say. that didn't work as well as I'd have liked. About the time I got to sleep, I got cold and woke up.

Finally about 4:30 AM, I bagged the idea of sleep and got ready to hunt. After I got ready, I sat in the Tahoe and listened for elk bugling. I didn't hear any so I decided to set off to the area where I had seen the herd and the bulls the day before. It was ominously quiet as I walked the mile to that area.

Once there, I decided to just walk into the wind. Shortly thereafter I came across a cow about 60 yards straight ahead. She was looking directly at me. I froze and waited her out. Finally she went ahead of me into the wind and down the trail.

I decided to follow her. Soon after that, I heard a grunt and then a partial bugle. I slowly approached the area where I had heard the bugling.

There I saw a nice bull. It appeared to be that herd and the bull that I had seen the day before in this very same area. I saw 8 to 10 cows with the bull. Over the next 10 minutes, I slowly approached the group. At times I had to stop and freeze as I had cows looking my way.

Finally the bull sensed something was up and started to move from my left to right about 115 yards out. I prepared to shoot as he would come out of a group of aspen trees to the right. Once he came out, he hesitated just long enough for me to pull the trigger.

He hunched his back and lowered his head in cowering. I knew that I had hit him. He froze. Meanwhile the cows took off away from him. I chambered another shell preparing to take a second shot. But he was facing directly away from me. I watched and waited for him to topple. But he didn't he took several steps away from me and behind a tree.

I decided not to disclose my position to him and instead moved to my left for better vantage point. He took a couple slow steps to the right behind a tree so that I could not see him. At this point I decided to move in to get a better view. I never saw him again.

I went down to the trees where he was standing when I hit him and surveyed the area. There was nothing to be found. No blood, no hair and no sign of any type. I looked everywhere. I literally spent the next two hours looking everywhere I could. I got down on my hands and knees to look for blood. I could not find any.

After searching for two hours, I decided to walk back to the truck to get something to eat. I spent about a half hour there, then returned to search some more. No luck. I was frustrated, I was angry, I was tired and I was sad. It was a beautiful bull and the thought it going somewhere, lying down and dying made me sick.

About 2 PM, I've had enough. I decided to head back to the cabin. I had walked over 8 miles and was working on less than three hours sleep. Tomorrow would be a new day.

Day 2 - Wednesday, October 2, 2013

My scouting friend, Scott, called me on Tuesday night and asked if he could hunt with me on Wednesday. I was happy to have him join me and so we set a meeting time at the "Big Draws" hunting spot.

After a short night on Monday (with my sleeping in the Tahoe at my hunting spot), Tuesday night was an early night for me. I hit the sack about 8:30 PM. I was ready to go at 4:15 when the alarm went off.

The hunt started with a bang as shortly after getting out of our trucks we heard bugling up the draw. Though we were about an hour before legal shooting hour, we decided to go ahead and start walking up the draw

After walking very slowly for about half an hour, we were starting to get very close (within 150 yards) to the bull that was bugling. We decided to sit and wait for the sun so that we could see the elk.

As we sat waiting, I thought I heard some sticks breaking in the hills next to us. Suddenly it sounded like a stampede of Buffalo coming down the hill. They came down the hill about 200 yards from us, then stopped in our draw about 150 yards from us.

It was just starting to get light enough so we could make out the silhouette of the elk we had followed earlier on one side of us and the herd that can down the hill 150 yards on the other side of us. It was pretty exciting to have so many elk around

Looking back to the east at the elk that came down the hill, we could tell that the bull in that group was very nice. So as they made their way out of the draw and up the hill behind us, we decided to pursue them. We got another look at the bull as he was silhouetted at the top of the hill against the sky. He was awesome. Scott thought he could have been at 350-class bull.

We followed them up the hill and through the forest for about 3/4 mile, we lost contact with that group. Eventually a 5 x 5 satellite bull made its way in front of us. He was very shootable and we got to within 150 yards. He was walking from left to right and I was in the open with an opportunity to shoot. Scott blew a cow call and stopped him. But he stopped behind a tree.

Scott called again and he stepped out from behind the tree and I shot. I knocked him down. I could not see him but Scott, who was flanked to my right about 20 yards, could see them go down. He said the elk laid there for about 10 to 12 seconds then got up and slowly continued to walk. He got below the horizon for me so I could not take a second shot.

I did not like the shot I took because I was standing with nothing other than a monopod to shoot from. I am much more comfortable leaning against a tree or in a kneeling or prone position. I felt like I hit him high in the shoulder.

We went to the area at which I had hit him and looked for blood. We found no sign of any blood so we waited about 30 minutes to track him. We followed his trail. He had walked through a saddle which filtered down into a very narrow trail. There was little other place for him to go. We saw tracks that would indicate that this is the path he took.

Unbelievably, Scott saw him just to the left of the trail about 30 yards. He was sitting underneath pine and spruce trees. I could not make his whole body though his butt was facing us. Scott told me to shoot him but I couldn't make out the body parts of the bull. So Scott went down the hill about 20 yards and got a much better perspective of the body. The bull was lying with his nose tipped forward in the dirt and his antlers for tilted forward. He looked like he may be dead.

Scott told me to shoot him so I took a couple steps forward and released the safety. I looked a couple times through the scope to see if he was breathing. I could not tell.  I was about 15 yards from the elk. Scott asked me if maybe he was already dead (since it had probably been almost an our since I originally shot him). I took the safe off and started to lower the gun to take another look, and the elk just jumped up – and ran away.

I couldn't believe my eyes. The second before I had the gun leveled at him with the safe off and ready to pull the trigger. In just that very instant moment in time, he broke away at the right time.

We followed his trail for as long as we could and then we could not determine where he went. We combed the woods for three hours looking back and forth. We found blood in the bed where he was laying. There was not a lot of blood but there was blood. The whole bed area smelled of bovine-elk scent.

I could not believe this happened again. I could not believe that I lost this elk when I was 15 yards away with a gun pointed at him and the finger on the trigger. I was just had to wonder why this was happening.

We walked back to the truck about 11:30 AM. He had to go back to town to go to work. I had some lunch and contemplated my options. I hunted all afternoon. I started in the spot where the elk had run away. I found more blood and more tracks but it did not help me find the elk.

I picked out a good vantage point overlooking a meadow and a wallow - the nearest water to where I shot the elk. I sat there all afternoon.

Day 3 - Thursday, October 3, 2013

I dreamed about that elk laying in the trees all night. Then I thought about it all day. I must have played that scenario over in my mind over 200 times. I cannot believe that I don't have an elk after being 15 yards from a downed elk. All I had to do was pull the trigger.

With bad weather approaching tomorrow, I felt pressured to bag an elk today. I went back to the area I decided to call "Big Draws". That is where I did most of my scouting, and where I had hunted the prior two days.

As I was getting ready, about 45 minutes before sunrise, I did hear one bugle from an elk. But that was it for the day. I covered over 10 miles there in the "Big Draws" area and on Limestone Road.

I took a couple hours off during lunch to go to Spearfish to pick up some supplies. But aside from that, I hunted hard all day with no elk in sight. But there was plenty of time to replay that scenario of the elk laying in front of me the day before many, many times in my mind.

About 3:00 PM it began to rain. Shortly thereafter, it turned to snow. By the time the sun went down, the ground was white with much more snow coming. When I got back to the cabin, I talked to my son, Alex. We decided that he should not drive out from Sioux Falls since there were winter storm and blizzard warnings for the area. He had planned to drive out and hunt with me over the weekend.

I lost electricity about 3 AM. When I woke up there were 10 inches of snow on the ground. The forecast was calling for up to 30 to 36 inches of snow.

Friday, October 4, 2013

There was no hunting on Friday, October 4, the fourth day of the elk season. There was, however, over 30 inches of snow that fell on Terry Peak. I have never seen snow like this. Especially considering that it's still early October.

The storm was called Atlas and it was far worse than anyone had forecast. In addition to 50+ inches of snow in many parts of western South Dakota, there were 70+ mph winds to go with the heavy, wet snow. The roofs on several buildings in Spearfish, Sturgis and Lead collapsed under the weight of the snow.

I shoveled snow today for about three hours. I did not make a whole lot of  progress - it filled in after I shoveled each time. My win for the day, was that I was able to pull the truck forward about 12 feet closer to the road. The ATV and trailer are buried and won't be seen until spring.

I had no television. There were technical difficulties with the DISH service. Thank goodness for ESPN's internet radio coverage of major-league baseball playoffs or I would have gone nuts. Electricity went off intermittently as trees fall on electrical wires.

I did not know it at the time, but the elk hunt was effectively over. We got 55 inches of snow on Terry Peak over a 72-hour time frame.

The snow cat came through about 8:30 on Sunday evening. He left a very crude path to follow but I got up about 7 o'clock and spent an hour and a half digging the Tahoe out. Finally, Monday afternoon, the snowcat and a couple of skid loaders cleaned out my driveway.

I decided to return home for a couple days. Since I would not be able to hunt, it did not make sense for me to just lay around the cabin. My plan was to return the next weekend. I did have time to play through the scenario of shooting that elk last Wednesday several times!!

Day 4 - Sunday, October 13, 2013

I came armed with snowshoes and winter gear. The snowshoes were needed; the winter gear wasn't. Despite hunting for 13 1/2 hours and walking over six miles in snowshoes, I saw no fresh sign of any elk.

Day 5 - Monday, October 14, 2013

As I left the cabin, mist was falling from the sky. The closer I got to my destination, the harder it came down. I decided not to wear snowshoes since I was just going to walk half-mile to the top of the hill. By the time I got there, it was hard rain.

When I got to the top of the hill, I picked out a tree stand behind. My view overlooked the area in which I saw elk tracks the day before.

It rained for about an hour and a half before turning into snow. The forecast was for 8 to 12 inches of snow on the mountains. As the snow started to accumulate, I decided that I was not going to get stuck on the mountain. So after about 2 1/2 hours of sitting in the rain/snow, I decided to go back to the cabin, pack up, and head for home.

Needless to say, I played that scenario of the elk lying 15 yards in front of me over in my mind many, many times while sitting in the rain and snow. I had plenty of time to think about it on my drive home as well.

Day 6 - Sunday, October 20, 2013

By now, over 90 inches of snow had fallen on Terry Peak. That is more than their average annual snowfall. I don't know how much had fallen where I was hunting but it was plenty. I left home at 8 AM and got to the cabin around 11 AM. I took an hour to get ready and then I left for the Tinton Road area.

Despite walking over 7 miles in snowshoes, I saw no elk sign. I went back to the Tahoe. I then decided to road hunt for a while because the snow was coming down hard. I traveled north on Tinton Road all the way to Spearfish hoping that as I got to a lower elevation, there would be more grass showing through the snow. Then I went up Higgins Gulch Road toward Crow Peak.  I saw several deer, but no elk.

I travel back south on Tinton Road. As sunset approached, I saw several sets of elk tracks along the road. When I stopped to look, I saw that they were at least a day old.

Day 7 - Monday, October 21, 2013

My morning got off to a rather poor start. I drove to the corrals on Tinton Road and was just going to pull into the approach to get my vehicle off the road. Instead, I got stuck in the appoach. It took a ton of patience and about 10 minute of gently rocking back and forth to get it out. I left the Tahoe on the road.

I loaded up, put on my snowshoes and took off up he hill above the corrals. This was the same area where I had hunted the previous Sunday. So I walked and walked and walked and walked - up and down. For seven hours and over 8 miles I trodden along in my snowshoes. I walked back into the "Big Draws" area down Timber Gulch Road. I stopped occasionally to let out a cow call or to glass the area.

I saw nothing. The very few tracks that I saw were at least 2 days old. I saw rabbit tracks, squirrel tracks, chipmunk tracks and deer tracks that were all fresh. But there had not been any elk in the area recently.

I got back to the vehicle about 2 pm and decided to return home to watch my volleyball player. I needed a new plan. I had 3-4 days let to hunt and I hadn't seen an elk since the snow storm.

Day 8 - Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The final three days of the hunt came after a football weekend in Minneapolis. Alex, Andrew and I watch the Gophers thump the Huskers on Saturday and the Packers drill the Vikings on Sunday Night Football. So I made the trip from Minneapolis to the cabin with a 90 minutes stop at the store in Oacoma. It was a 625 mile trip.

The hunt moved north looking for less snow. I learned of a SDGFP game production area just south of Spearfish. I decided to hunt there on Tuesday morning. I went up by way of Higgins gulch which meant a 400 foot climb straight up the side of the gulch. It was a killer.

Once there, I walked about 7 miles around the game production area. I met several other hunters who had not seen any elk since the storm either. They had not seen any recent signs of elk either.

I saw no recent sign of elk. I saw several deer (both mule and whitetail) and fresh turkey tracks, but not what I was looking for.

I was exhausted after the climb back down to the Tahoe. I decided to road hunt down Tinton Road. I took a 2-hour drive down the middle of the hunting unit and saw nothing. I also drove up Riflepit Road to no avail.

Day 9 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I started the day back at the game production area after finding a road to drive up there the night before. Once there, I parked the Tahoe and set off to the south.

I walked all the way down near Tinton Road (about 3.5 miles). I followed some tracks that were probably 2 days old as I walked. It was the most encouraging sign that I had seen since the storm.

I walked all afternoon. I called, walked, waited and looked for more sign. Late in the day, I found some very fresh droppings (soft and slippery) about two miles north of the "Big Hill" area.. That was very encouraging - something I could use after 3+ weeks of discouragement. I decided that I would come back there for the morning of my final day of the hunt.

I was encouraged for tomorrow's hunt. I left a few minutes before sunset so I could watch the World Series game. I packed as I watched the Red Sox clinch the World Series! That was certainly great. Now if I could just get a bull tomorrow!

Day 10 - Thursday, October 31, 2013

I woke up and prepared the cabin for my departure. I was very optimistic having seen all the fresh sign the night before. I got to my hunting spot about 45 minutes prior to sunrise. The GPS led me to the spot I had selected the night before.

It was a nice morning. The wind was blowing 15 to 20 out of the northwest. But the temperature was in the mid-30s. I used a few cow calls, and then moved 25 to 50 yards at a time. I used this strategy for a good 90 minutes.

After not getting elk calls in return, or seen any other fresh sign, I decided to pursue a different strategy. I found a trail and followed it for about three quarters of a mile.

My enthusiasm diminished after no response or fresh signs. I return to the Tahoe about noon. I traveled into Spearfish for some lunch. After lunch I made my way down spearfish Canyon to Savoy.  I continued on Roughlock Falls Road to Tinton Road

The sun was shining brightly and the snow was melting. I made my way from Tinton Road back to the area I had hunted that morning. I found a logging trail to walk. I walked about a mile down that trail. No fresh sign.

So I decided to finish the day where I had started. I went back to the same area I have been in the morning. I met a deer archer. He suggested that the elk came through that area in the morning.

I parked the Tahoe and made my way up the tallest hill/mountain that I could find. I climbed about 350 feet vertical over about 3/10 of a mile. When I got up there, unfortunately, there was heavy timber so I did not have any kind of a view. So I came partially down the hill to where I had some view. I watched several vehicles go by below me on the roads.

As I sat there, I reflected on my elk hunt. I thought about the bicycling all summer to prepare. I thought about the many magazine articles books and internet articles that I had read. But mostly I thought about that elk lying there in the trees with his nose in the dirt and how that should've been the one that ended up in my bag.

I managed to have 10 days in the Black Hills. I had forgotten the solitude and peace that comes with that. I am grateful for that and the opportunity to see Mother Nature’s majesty. The elk will have to come another time.

Scary Halloween pic. This selfie is supposed to include a big bull elk. Unfortunately the elk did not cooperate. Pretty disappointed. I worked hard getting ready and I worked hard hunting. Mother Nature had other plans. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

October 2013 SDADA Column

The can has officially been "kicked down the road". While headlines read Crisis Over Shutdown and Debt Limit Ends, if you read between those headlines, they have funding until Jan. 15, 2014. The debt ceiling has been raised until February 7, 2014. So the debt ceiling discussion will happen again next year, when 2014 primaries will be in swing.

But the deal also includes an agreement to appoint members to a bipartisan group of members of Congress to negotiate future spending levels. The hope is they will come to a consensus by early December, so theoretically they will hammer out their differences without the threat of economic disaster hanging over everyone’s head - because that’s always worked so well in the past. Call me a cynic.

Take the most recent debate and add in the stakes of a campaign and you have the formula for another fiasco. I've heard it said that our government spends money like a drunken sailor. Not true. The drunken sailor is spending his own money!!

Winter's Early Call

Earlier in October, I was stranded in my cabin in the Black Hills for four days. While the 50+ inches of snow inconvenienced me, it had a far more devastating effect on residents and businesses of the northern Black Hills and the ranchers in the northwest part of our state.

Had this type of tragedy happen in other parts of our country, the cry for federal help would have come from all corners. Instead, we have local organizations and other business groups starting relief funds to help. Businesses and ranchers got back to business within days. Though it was a terrible disaster, these people prevailed.

Forrest McConnell Elected NADA Chairman for 2014

As I sat in my cabin without television and water (I was fortunate to have electricity for most of the time), I missed my first NADA board of directors meeting. While I awaited the snowcat and skid loaders to dig me out, I thought it might be nice to be at the NADA meeting in Santa Barbara rather than up to my a** in snow the first week in October.

At the California meeting, the NADA board elected Forrest McConnell, III, chairman for 2014. Forrest is a smart guy and he will be a great chairman. I look forward to working with him. Bill Fox (New York) was elected NADA vice chairman. They take office at the 2014 NADA Convention & Expo in New Orleans.

NADA Convention Ranked as One of the Most Innovative Meetings for 2013

BizBash, an industry magazine and online resource for event planners, listed the past NADA Convention & Expo as one of the most innovative meetings for 2013—ranking 10th out of 15 conferences held by corporations and trade associations this year in North America.

BizBash says the strategy and design of conferences and conventions continues to evolve as hosts embrace new models for engagement to create an experience that provides value for attendees by addressing their needs and interests.

There’s plenty to get jazzed about with the upcoming 97th annual NADA Convention & Expo in New Orleans next January. For one thing, the city has invested billions of dollars in major restoration projects, and the convention center was updated just this year. Plus, there’s been a 55 percent increase in the number of restaurants over the past seven years, nearly $800 million in hotel upgrades and $77 million in street improvements, including a new streetcar line.

The NADA convention runs Friday, Jan. 24, to Monday, Jan. 27. This will be the 10th time the convention has been held in the Big Easy since 1973. Considered the “Automotive Industry Event of the Year,” the convention includes dealer-manufacturer franchise meetings, educational workshops, hundreds of exhibits on the expo floor and numerous networking events. Dealers and their managers who register in advance by Jan. 16 will receive a $75 discount from the on-site rate. For more information or to register, visit