“Yes I’d like one Fat Bastard and one Little Sluice please.” After handing my money to the cashier, I shuffled on down the line to each station as my food order was lavishly fulfilled. My mouth watering as my nose is summoned by the smell of seasoned beef and freshly chopped cilantro. Balancing my chair legs over the rocky floor, I perched myself beneath the white tent. I hear the sound of family, vendor gossip, and best of all, the conversation of motors mumbling and echoing between the granite walls of the Loon Lake Spillway. Oh yeah, it’s that time again... Labor Day weekend on the 'Con!
Struggling with the thought that clean-ups and volunteer work just weren’t enough, a few of the original members from This Dysfunctional Organization (TDO) agreed they wanted to do more to protect the trail. The trail we know today as the famous “Rubicon,” located in the chiseled mountainside of Crystal Basin Recreational Area in Northern California, is a sanctuary for the off-road/outdoor avengers of all ages and levels of expertise.
In 2005, the TDO Club pulled off their first taco feed calling it "Cantina for the 'Con." The feed included hand-prepared tacos, vendors, a raffle, and an evening movie featuring Gription. Bringing in a total of $5,233.57, 100% of the proceeds and operating costs were handed over to the Rubicon Trail Foundation (RTF).
In 2007, after TDO raised over $22k, they decided that the Cantina event was getting too big to handle on their own. Over the next three years, RTF and TDO took the necessary steps to transfer “ownership” of the event from TDO to RTF, due to RTF's 501C3 status. By 2011 RTF was in full swing with the fundraiser, now known as their very own, Rubicon Trail Foundation's Cantina for the 'Con.
“What started out as a grass roots effort to raise money for RTF, has snowballed into a yearly event that has strongly become second to none,” stated Mark Langford, one of TDO's founding members. Winning its own popularity contest, RTF celebrated Cantina for the Con's 10 year anniversary on August 30, 2014. Since day one, proceeds have now granted the organization with a little more than $300,000!
Ken Hower, one of RTF's Board of Director's, is the fourth generation in his family to travel the Rubicon. “We knew as early as the October 2013 meeting, that we wanted to make the 10th year memorable and that we wanted to do something for TDO."
Presented to the club late that afternoon in the Spillway, over snacks and refreshments, was “The Rock Award." Only the 8th award of its kind, the RTF logo standing atop a precision cut piece of granite provided by the Rubicon itself.
Not to mention, TDO was also awarded a plaque permanently mounted to the outside wall of the Kiosk that sits within the Spillway. “We the Director's of Rubicon Trail Foundation wanted everyone who stops at the Kiosk to know who TDO is and what they have done for the Rubicon Trail, and also to set an example,” declared Rust Folena, president of RTF. “We wanted to thank TDO in a way that meant something; it was an easy decision to honor TDO.”
Needless to say, the unexpected presentation had an effect on the entire TDO club. As the plaque was unveiled by a wooden cover and four screws, even TDO member Brian Whitford was caught up in the moment. “He (Brian Whitford) went from badass to butter in 3.2 seconds.” Commented RTF's Ken Hower. “We really, really, really do appreciate what ya'all started.”
Being a TDO member myself, the club's contribution and value of investing in something as amazing as the Rubicon Trail was all put into perspective. What a rarity it is to have a place on the map, you can pretty much call your own. You see... you and I, “the people”, will always own property on the Rubicon Trail thanks to This Dysfunctional Organization and Rubicon Trail Foundation. The gates will always be open, come out to enjoy and protect your land!