June 30, 2015
To: BWFA Members Only Interactive News Feed Section of the website
From: Link Casey, BWFA President
Re: This is the first Members Only Announcement
Our website is going through a change into a new program and format. Our past history will eventually be included in the new design.
Our BWFA Facebook page is public and therefore open to anyone and everyone who wants to connect with the BWFA but has gone far past just farrier assistance and meeting members to of course a social network….which is what is it.
By updating our website we are able to offer members more exclusive content intended for those who are active in the association and who desire the space to learn from one another as a part of our "brotherhood" as opposed to Facebook groups and online forums were negative comments and criticism are common. These are not the things that raise the standards of our industry and promote our trade. We are here to raise each other up and share ideas and information. Our "Members Only" interactive news feed is here for this purpose.
The Members Only Section is just that….members only news, comments, articles, questions, answers that members only would like to submit. We will start this off by saying thank you for continuing your membership with the BWFA.
Our history shows that it was a hard struggle at first in 1989 to get the BWFA off the ground. Then again it wasn’t. Not hundreds but thousands of farriers joined a new type of association and were eager to lend a helping hand. This of course was before the fax machine was available in homes. I remember those days as a young person travelling around from state to state with my parents promoting it at fun events. I have grown up with other farriers who's parents were a big part of this volunteer farrier association.
As the men and woman, school owners, TESTERS and Board Members have grown older, many have retired, several have passed on and as life changes, so does this association. I was encouraged to put my name in as BWFA President from the suggestion of the many farriers before me, the board and from the farriers that I have met by teaching in the last eight years. Many are around my age, certainly those who want to be successful as farriers. Members who joined back in the 80’s and 90’s are now the “seasoned farriers”, the masters if you may, who can offer their experience to the newer farriers. I personally want to hear from them more often; after all, they have made this their profession.
I have had the fortunate opportunity to recently work with a lot of Military Veterans as they are searching for new careers. I have visited several states on my own time to talk with (and many times hunt with) various members about how the younger generation would like to pursue their future. To know our future, you should know our past.
A little history...
Our first convention in 1992 as the BWFA was in Ashville, North Carolina organized by what later became the S.H.O.E. Chapter headed by Marcus Pierce and his Carolina group. That “other” organization had farriers out in the parking lot telling people to go away and not attend this new groups meeting. That backfired on them, because this encouraged more to attend.
Then in 1993 in Texarkana, the word was out and everyone wanted to come out and be part of the only Master Educator School Student Contest. 15 schools participated. They had a golf tournament, an ole West shoot out at the OK Corral, plenty of good food and friendships were made. The office received a call from Burney Chapman of Texas that he was coming over and what time would we like him to give his lecture. (He was not a member…yet.) The office told him we didn’t pay the speakers. That was fine with him because he wanted to get in on this new group. (He was later inducted into the BWFA Hall of Fame) for his generosity at every event.
Then the Convention came to Georgia, hosted by the Farrier’s National Research Center at the BWFA Headquarters. By a show of hands of participants year after year, the convention remained here for several years. Master Educator School Owners would bring their students. The vendors filled the walls of the building and tents outside. Good food and good fellowship was found by all. The last good convention was in 2010, since then many of our Educators and Hall of Fame guests have become ill or passed on. Farriers were hit with high diesel fuel and travel expenses and the economy was slow. We then packed up and traveled to the Kentucky Horse Park for a one day convention.
We need to get the excitement back.
It is election time for Board Members and time to form Committees by the end of 2015 to have a successful 2016 and end it with a Convention.
As the bylaws state, we are announcing this at least 60 days in advance and will accept volunteers to submit their own names with an introduction paragraph on “How I can help promote the BWFA Membership to others and contribute to my official position.” by any means that you may have experienced it. Whether it be online, clinics in your home state, at shows, by calling your farrier friends, being a planner with the convention, help with advertising, etc. All of these duties are never hired out to other companies; it comes from within the membership on a Volunteer basis. No one is paid, not even the speakers.
Our current Board of Directors has a history behind them which makes their advice important. For many years, 12-15 people have carried this load. It is time to develop more working committees, to get more everyday “members” involved. This is carrying on the tradition to include the “every day working farrier” and not just the most popular.