Author: Cornish, Rick

A Little Boost
Being a CBA board member is a lot of work; burn out is an occupational hazard. But it seems that each year, just about the time I start running out of steam, something will happen to provide a boost. Last year it was running into an old friend at the Fathers Day Festival. My friend hadn’t been to the event in seven years and as we talked, it became clear to me that he was “back”, fully engaged in the CBA. The chance meeting spoke volumes about our hard work in bringing people back into the fold.

Let me tell you about this past year’s boost. It came just in the nick of time from an unexpected source. And it would become one of my most cherished bluegrass memories.

I was in Louisville for the 2002 IBMA Trade Show and Fan Fest. It was late in the the afternoon on Thursday and the late nights had begun to seriously take their toll—I gone up to my room I the Galt Hotel for a little cat nap. My head had just hit the pillow when the phone rang. Carl Pagter, co-founder of the California Bluegrass Association and long-time leader whose board chairmanship I’d just assumed, was on the other end. “Meet me outside the main lobby, on the sidewalk, at six. Wear a heavy coat.” Before I could even ask why, Carl had hung up. I didn’t know what to expect, but I arrived exactly at six, bundled up as directed, and Carl greeted me with a hand shake. “There are a few people I’d like to introduce you to,” he said with just a tinge of a smile. Almost before he got these words out, a couple, he in tux, she in evening gown, came out of the Galt lobby headed for the annual awards show up the street. Carl motioned them over—they were obviously old friends of his. “Hello, good to see you. Let me introduce Rick Cornish, my successor as CBA board chairman.”

And so it went for an hour and a half. Carl had strategically placed us at the spot by which EVERYONE staying at the Galt and headed to the awards show would have to pass. Fellow bluegrass organization leaders from around the country, record company owners, IBMA officials, festival promoters, dj’s asnd some of the most famous and influential bluegrass performers in the world. Meeting me. Gradually it became clear why Carl had called me that afternoon. He’d decided I was okay and he was passing the torch. That night, as I lay in bed replaying the chilly night in front of the Galt Hotel, burn out and early retirement were the furthest thing from my mind.
Posted:  1/17/2007

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