September 6, 2016

Dear NOHVA Supporter and Friend of NOHVA,

With great regret, I am sorry to announce that the Nebraska Off Highway Vehicle Association/TBQ Sport Club, Inc. has been dissolved. By vote of our Board of Directors our organization no longer exists. The corporation has been registered as officially dissolved with the State of Nebraska.

We had to discontinue the organization because of liability concerns for our officers, directors, volunteers and members. Over the last year and one-half we have been faced with three lawsuits. Two law suits involved an accident at Headworks Park near Genoa on the open sand involving riders from South Dakota. Both of these suits were dismissed but could be re-filled again.

The latest law suit involves a rider from Ogallala who was riding on a practice track south of Sutherland Nebraska that was maintained by one of our former chapters, the Flat Rock Riders. This suit is active and in the courts, the insurance company that we had at the time of the accident is representing us.

All of the accidents occurred to riders who were not NOHVA members and none of the riders had insurance on the machine they were riding. In each case they blamed NOHVA (and sometimes others) for their injury even though we did not own the land, they were riding free from charge, we did not cause the accident and they knew of the rules.

Fortunately for us we did have liability insurance at the time of all three accidents. However, because of these law suits, we can no longer purchase general liability insurance to protect our officers, volunteers and members from accident lawsuits. As our attorney put it, it is very unusual to have to contented with this may law suits. He was concerned that considering that three suits have been filed against us over the last two years, another lawsuit could happen at any time. Since we no longer liability insurance, if a law suit is filed against NOHVA or any of our officers, volunteers or members, the NOHVA officers and volunteers could be personally responsible. If this were to happen, it could cost those involved tens of thousands of dollars, and could endanger their life savings, home or business.

With no insurance and the fact that a new law suit will be filed sooner or later, the only way to protect our officers, volunteers and members is to dissolve the NOHVA organization. Over the last year and a half, most of NOHVA’s energy has been used to getting together materials to defend ourselves from these suits and trying to find a solution to insurance difficulties. We would rather spend time working on trails and planning events!

Before the ending of NOHVA, we were involved with two places to ride in Nebraska. These two places are the Headworks OHV Park near Genoa and the Nebraska National Forest near Halsey. With the end of NOHVA and upon talking to the land owners and managers of these two areas, there are no plans to close trails. However both Loup Power District owners of the Headworks OHV Park near Genoa and the U.S. Forest Service who manage the land for the trails near Halsey want riders to continue to be involved in helping with both of these places to ride.

As I have told others, dissolving this organization is like having to put down your favorite dog because you had to. Many have put their hearts and souls into this organization and the places we helped to open and maintain. We did not want to do this, but it had to happen to protect everyone involved from irresponsible people.

At one time NOHVA was involved with seven riding areas.

* The TBQ Sport Club was formed in 1987 by Dan Nitzel and Gary Gibbs in Grand Island with about 30 members.
* In 1988 we started with managing and holding races at a motocross race track, the TBQ Raceway north of Gibbon Nebraska. The track closed in 1992.
* In 1990 we organized riders at Headworks to save the riding area from closure. We helped Loup Power and the Nance County Sheriff’s Department manage the riding area from 1990 to 2016.
* Also in 1990 we began meeting with the U.S. Forest Service near Halsey to plan for and eventually fund, build and help maintain the Dismal River Trail and other trails.
* In 1994 NOHVA organized the River Valley Trail Riders as a chapter that worked to find a place to ride near Omaha that eventually turned into the River Valley OHV Park in Council Bluffs in Iowa.
* In the 2001 we helped organize riders into a chapter to create the moto-cross track south of Sutherland called the Flat Rock Riders track. The chapter was removed from NOHVA in January of 2015 due to lack of communication from the chapter and member ship numbers below the agreed upon minimum.
* In 2005 we created the Alliance Motocross Association chapter in Alliance Nebraska to help keep their track open by sharing insurance with them. The chapter was removed from NOHVA in 2015.
* In 2006 while meeting with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers at the Harlan County Reservoir near Republican City, I suggested that the owners of the land the U. S. Army Corp of Engineers develop an open area into an ATV trail that is now the Cedar Run ATV trail system. A new chapter was formed to help with the riding area in 2007 and was merged with the Halsey Trails club in 2015.

For the trail system at the Nebraska National Forest near Halsey, the local management with the U.S. Forest Service does a great job of keeping trails open, managing riders, keeping alcohol use in check and coordinating maintenance. They have staff on site that is there with riders to answer questions, monitor trails, control night riding and enforce the rules. The Halsey Trails Club has helped with trails at Halsey in the past. I feel confident about the future of this riding area provided the recreational capacity of the facility is not overloaded.

For the Headworks OHV Park near Genoa, the situation is different. I am very concerned about the future of the riding area. Parking is over crowed. Headworks Park is unsupervised and there are no funds to pay for someone to be there all the time. Alcohol use is high and only occasionally monitored or controlled. Injury rates and rescue calls are increasing. Even though the riding area is closed at 11 PM, most people don’t follow the curfew rule and ride late into the evening or all night - which is causing a big problem. The trails and parking area can have a lot of trash at times. Enforcing the rules and answering emergency calls for the riding area is placing a big strain on limited resources of the Nance County Sheriff’s Department. The local Genoa Rescue Squad, who are all volunteers, are over worked with covering local rescue calls and frequent rescue calls to the riding area. This is especially a problem late at night after 11 PM and they are called to respond to rescue calls at the riding area often times at 2 or 3 in the morning.

While the law suits are the main factor forcing NOHVA to disband, rider support for what we do at Headworks was falling. The majority of those who ride at Headworks chose not to support NOHVA with a membership. Since 1990 we have asked people to support us with a voluntary membership to help pay the bills and to obtain hold harmless release signatures for liability protection. This worked for the 1990s before Internet use was wide spread. However when social media and web sites like RiderPlanet.com and Trailsource.com started to publicize the park, more and more people found the park, fewer people followed the rules and fewer riders supported NOHVA’s efforts to help with the riding area.

Since we became involved at the Headworks OHV Park in 1990, we organized riders to prevent the riding area from permanently closing two times. Up to the year 2010 we built a strong membership and most riders supported us with a membership. We built an effective communication network. We organized volunteers to help with what need to be done. Most importantly, NOHVA provided the land owners, the Loup Public Power District and the Nance County Sheriff’s Department with a dedicated group of concerned enthusiasts that they could call upon to help for funding and support.

My intent when I offered NOHVA’s help with the riding area 26 years ago was to make operating the Headworks OHV Park easier for all those involved and try to make it easier to keep the riding area open. We helped ease the load of dealing with injuries by making donations to the Genoa Rescue Squad and tried to implement a late night curfew to reduce middle of the night rescue calls. But with the falling memberships, this became more and more difficult.

Everything that NOHVA has been involved with over the 28 years will stop September 1, 2016. The only business we will be conducting is what it takes to wind up the organization. A closeout committee consisting of myself, Tim Zabka, John Brooke, Gary Gibbs and Randy Leiser has been formed to oversee the final closure of the corporation. Any claims or bills due need to made in writing to the address on our letter head no later than November 1, 2016.

There will no longer be any NOHVA jamborees. Our web site and Facebook page will close soon and emails will cease sometime this year. It will take some time to sell our property and we plan to have everything liquidated by the end of 2016. We stopped taking memberships in April and people who renewed or joined after the fall jamboree last year will receive a full refund soon. Even though our by-laws and the release that members sign upon joining state that memberships fees are not refundable, AND DEPENDING UPON THE AMOUNT OF AVAILABLE FUNDS. All unprocessed membership applications and donations, and applications and donations received after January 1, 2016 will be refunded. We hope to be able to refund membership payments to people who joined after the 2015 fall jamboree. For those that joined for more than one year during the last jamboree and before the last jamboree, we hope to give them a partial refund as funds will allow.

Any funds and assets left over after paying the final bills and membership refunds will be donated to a new separate Headworks, Halsey and Eastern Platte Valley Riders support groups, if any are formed. If no groups are formed, then the treasuries of each of our three remaining chapters will be directly donated to land managers who manage off road vehicle (ATV, UTV and dirtbike) trails in Nebraska or an OHV trails group near Nebraska.

The Halsey Trails Club (Chuck McCarty president) and the Eastern Platte Valley Riders OHV Club (Omaha area, Mike Carrick, president) will have to hold meetings and determine if they desire to stay intact as stand alone Clubs and retain their treasuries.

The future for off road trails in Nebraska is not good without some kind of support group like NOHVA. Nebraska needs new laws that help protect groups who work for the public good like NOHVA from frivolous lawsuits. Many other states (not including Nebraska) have a state government that offers registration programs and support. Over the last 28 years NOHVA members have tried to get a state registration program to fund trails and manage trail like Iowa, Missouri, Colorado, Wyoming and many other states. I am concerned that any kind of Nebraska registration program would be perceived as another government intrusion in people’s lives and would be very difficult to pass. A state agency could use all of the registration funds for other uses and little if any would trickle to benefit the riders.

We all hope that new clubs and groups can be formed to replace the void that is left by NOHVA. New groups are needed to help ensure that the places we now ride will stay open.

Lastly, I would like to THANK all of our 25,000 (past & current) member riders for their support of the TBQ Sport Club and NOHVA over the last 28 years. Also I would say that it has been GREAT to work with the following land managers over the years and providing places for people to ride in our state:

Loup Public Power District (Headworks OHV Park)
The Nance County Sheriff’s Department
The Genoa Rescue Squad
The U.S. Forest Service Nebraska National Forest (Halsey)
The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (Harlan County Reservoir)

NOHVA was indeed a very successful organization, all because the land managers we had the pleasure to work with, our fantastic volunteers and our fine supporting members. THANK YOU AGAIN!

Sincerely,

Dan Nitzel
Co-founder and Former President