The American Outboard Federation is established for the purpose of promoting the sport of outboard motor boat racing and its safety. Its goals are to increase participation and public interest in the sport, create a cohesive relationship between the membership and the national organization, in an overall program of racing to further memberships’ interests.
Let us dissect the mission of AOF
AOF was granted and awarded a non-profit status based on the mission statement. This particular type of non-profit status is most common to schools and churches. We must full-fill this mission to keep out status. This is reviewed each year. AOF’s contribution to various charities is also a vital part of our being. What does this mean to you? This means we try harder and can offer many incentives to members and clubs to promote our sport. We are very proud of this and take our job seriously.
We will do whatever it takes to help a club stage races when money would otherwise be an issue. We try to keep our costs low, because as a non-profit organization, making a large profit is against our legal non-profit status. We enjoy many other benefits because of our non-profit status such as cheaper insurance rates.
AOF is not a business and we cannot, nor do we want to be, into racing to make money. Our goals are completely spelled out in the statement.
FEDERATION vs. ASSOCIATION
AOF, the American Outboard Federation is just that, a “FEDERATION”. A FEDERATION differs greatly from an “ASSOCIATION.” A federation is a ” Union” of sovereign clubs who are allowed to run their affairs as best suits their individual needs. Some clubs run their group as a business, some will implement a completely new format for racing, for example. Some clubs in the “FEDERATION” don’t even bother to send in their high points. We encourage each club to make their group of racing friends the important focus.
AOF does have a rulebook. This rulebook is just a guideline for a club to follow. Many chapters of the rulebook can be adapted to each club as they may need and want to race in their own way. If for instance, a club wants to be considered for year end national AOF high points, then we provide the rulebook with guidelines to follow. If club points and rules are most important, then the excitement of winning a club high point can be just as rewarding.
Our rulebook is just that, a guideline. Use it to race your way.
There is one exception to the above, and that is concerning Safety. As you can see from the mission statement, Safety is one our main goals. We work hard to keep our sport one in which a drive can enjoy on the week end and go to work on Monday with fewer injuries. Our Safety Committees continually look at what can be done to maintain our national safety record.
The American Outboard Federation was established on January 15, 1971 as a nonprofit corporation whose charter was granted, that date, by the state of Oklahoma. No racing activity was conducted during AOF’s first year, as that was a time of planning and organizing by the earliest founders: Rick Morris, Dudley Malone and Clyde Bayer. The momentum grew, and the “Federation” was joined by other members and clubs. The new organization was really ready to roll by November 20, 1971, when the first formal meeting was held in North Little Rock, Arkansas. It was attended by 46 new members. Those included representatives from five district racing groups: The St Louis Outboard Drivers Association, Kansas City Speedboat Association, Oklahoma Boat Racing Association, District 9 (Louisiana and Arkansas), and North Texas.
The Federation’s first officers elected at the 1971 meeting were Arthur McMeans, Jr of Bastrop, Louisiana-President; Stan Levendusky of Kansas City, Missouri, Vice President; and Rick Morris of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Secretary/Treasurer. Dudley Malone was elected the first Executive Director. AOF was fortunate in having one of the best-known and respected men in outboard racing history, R. Allen “Poppa” Smith to serve in the dual capacity of Professional and Super stock Technical Chairman that first year. The Outboard Pleasure Boat Division’s Technical Chairman was a very enthusiastic Jim Filson. The first Racing Commission was composed of Art Kampen, Leopnard Miller, Bill Van Steenwyk, JH McAdams, Deanie Montgomery, and Joe Schultz, in addition to the officers and technical chairmen.
The AOF’s original purpose, as stated was “to provide the sport of boat racing with an organization which would work toward the goals of increasing participation in the sport, create more public interest, a more cohesive existence between racing participants and the national organization, and an overall better program of racing.” The original purpose still guides the organization in its activities today.
During the years the forms of racing conducted by AOF have also changed. Modified, “Alky” (PRO), OPB (OPC), and Drag boat racing were the first types of racing conducted in AOF. Stock was added soon after the incorporation. Of late we have included Nostalgic Flatbottoms, Nostalgic Hydros, Super Light Tunnels, PWC, and have even helped stage an offshore race or two.
Since it’s inception the AOF National Office has been located in several different cites throughout the organizations’ geographical area. Including the Executive Director, they are: 1971-74 in Oklahoma City (Dudley Malone), 1975, Hot Springs, Arkansas (Roger Purtee), 1976-77, Dallas, Texas (Jim Worthy), 1978, St Louis Missouri (Mike Homfeld, 1979-89, Wichita, Kansas (Don Minerd), 1990-1992, Iowa Park, Texas (Marilyn Perry), 1992-2002, Center Point, Iowa, (Connie Payn), 2003, Sedro Wooly, Washington, (Jodi Montoya), and then back to Center Point, Iowa (Connie Payn), until 2006, when our new Executive Director for the future is Russ Bircher of Yelm, Washington.
Over the years many great races have been conducted under the AOF banner, and many great champions have seen its checkered flags. Like any group it has experienced its ups and downs. However, due largely to its greatest asset, its wonderful people, it continues to be a viable and important part of the great sport of boat racing and continues to add members and clubs from all over the Untied States and Canada interested in preserving the grass roots family atmosphere of our boat racing sport.
(Thank you to Dudley Malone for contributing to the history).
WHAT YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW, BUT SHOULD
Many call AOF the long lost secret. Once you discover the AOF way, you wonder just why others do not choose to follow. After all, the AOF philosophy is much older than the 35 years we have been incorporated. Do you remember NOA (National Outboard Association)? This was a great national organization dating from the 1950’s run by Claude Fox. While the details are sketchy, and many said to be left alone, AOF is a direct descendant of NOA and it’s highly successful history. At one time, both APBA and NOA lived harmoniously in the great world of boat racing. Many suggest that the two organizations helped spark more interest. Each organization had to work harder to keep members. (Although most were members of both). The yearly North-South Challenge race between APBA and NOA members crowned a true national champion. This race was the highlight of racing each year.
AOF has evolved to realize now that number two is not all that bad. We can provide racing in certain instances that APBA cannot. Because AOF can offer such inexpensive racing, (through our Mission Statement and non-profit status), it has become our goal to find races and clubs who would otherwise not exist or shut down, and keep them alive due to money issues. AOF can provide a week end of racing for less than $500. There is absolutely no reason to scrap a good site. Once a site is gone, it is gone. Our sport is dwindling, and our goal is to maintain as many racers and sites that we can. We will never get new racers in our sport if we do not have races, and we cannot get new sites without new racers. Once a site becomes successful, AOF has no qualms at a site then moving over to stage an APBA race. Some clubs realize the benefits, and will remain AOF only. Some move over. And some race both. This cohesiveness between the two organizations continues to grow and manifest itself in a great way and benefit to the sport of boat racing. Evidence is the co-hosting of many races in the last two years.
History seems to be repeating itself with this co-operation, just like in the boat racing hey-day of NOA and APBA. Continue to watch as bigger and better things come to boat racing and to our sport through the many efforts of the American Outboard Federation.