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Untitled Document

THE  US  TRIATHLON   SERIES  (USTS) 
HISTORY:  1982 - 1993
By Jim Curl1

Overview
USTS and CAT Sports was no more my achievement than it was that of my partner, Carl Thomas, over those 11 years.  No Carl A. Thomas, no CAT Sports and no USTS.  CAT Sports was also blessed with an amazing staff that allowed us to dream big dreams because we knew we could produce them. 

As I review these years (and primarily these events as my life was very much directed and controlled by the inevitable progression of planning and producing events), certain moments stand out:

  • USTS San Diego 1982 – Our first event – Scott, Molina, Tinley & Allen, McCartney & Moss, in that order.  This crazy idea works. 
  • USTS Seattle 1982 – We actually did this series thing without killing ourselves or anybody else!
  • USTS Chicago 1983 – No permits three weeks out – three weeks later, the world’s almost biggest and definitely most spectacular triathlon makes its debut – also where & when I met my wife.
  • USTS Bass Lake 1983 – A perfect little National Championship in the California Sierras
  • USTS Tampa Bay 1984 – We introduce both 1.5/40/10 and wave starts at the 1984 season opener.  First computer timed event as well (sort of).
  • USTS Chicago 1984 – Now it really is the biggest race in the world and the day of my wedding.
  • USTS Atlanta 1984 – The 500 meter swim and the CAT staff suicidal in a Chinese restaurant – had we killed triathlon!!??  Haha.
  • USTS National Championships 1985 – Hilton Head – Also Tri-Fed/USA National Championship and a wonderful week.
  • USTS National Championships 1993 – Maui – The dream is officially over.  The body took a nearly year to die after this, but this was it.

Here are some of the details.

Pre-Fall 1981
From my perspective, I can clearly trace my involvement in triathlon, and thus USTS to my hobbies and interests of the 1970’s as well as to the people I met through my brief legal career.

Santa Cruz & UCSC, CA (1970-1975)
I lived in Capitola CA after moving north from LA in 1970.  I graduated Summa with an AB in Political Theory from UC Santa Cruz in 1975.  I had begun to ride a bike and run for fitness and weight control during this period, although I had not entered any events.

Law School & The Bar (1975-1978)
I had continued running and biking while at Law School in Berkeley 1975-1978.  I don’t remember being aware of triathlon at that point.  My 3rd year job as a cite checker put me in contact with Curt Sproul (see below).

Davis, CA (1978-1979)
After graduation from UCSC, my wife Nicole Ballenger and I moved to Davis CA where she had enrolled in the doctorate program in economics.  I had not received my law license yet (a very interesting story for another time), so my first job out of law school was picking up garbage in the parking lot at the Sacramento airport.  My second job was as a research assistant for the honorable and amazing Judge Harry A. Ackley in Woodland at the Yolo County Courthouse (another story).  It was during this period that I first became aware of triathlon and of Dave Scott who lived in Davis, coached Masters swimming and had won several triathlons.

Curt Sproul & Law Practice (1979-1981)
My first ‘real’ (paying) job was with the Weintraub, Genshlea, Giannoni and Sproul firm in Sacto.  Curl Sproul was a friend from my law school days. I had cite-checked his practice manuals, and he convinced the firm to hire me on a one-year contract.  Curt was also the president of the Western States(WS) 100 Mile Endurance Run, which later proved to be how I started in triathlon business.  Trail running became my sport of choice and in many ways still is.  My goal became to run in and complete the WS100 in under 16 hours to get a silver buckle; it was and is the only athletic event whose completion meant anything personal to me.

Endurance Sports Productions (1980-1983)
My first event as a volunteer was Sally Edwards’ “Magical Musical Marathon: in Sacramento in summer 1980.  Also In the summer of 1980, I formed a business (Endurance Sports Productions) with Curt and another lawyer from WGGS to produce 50-mile trail footraces – our joint passion.  Our first event was the “Nugget 50” – a 50 mile trail run through the Malakoff Diggins’ in the Sierra foorhills.

It was during this period that I began to swim at Davis Masters and bike and run seriously.  I also invested in “Wheelworks” a local bicycle shop.  I completed my first triathlon (my first registered event ever!) as a relay member (bike) in summer of 1981 in Eppie’s Great Race (bike-kayak-run in that order – whew!) and in 1981 I completed my first individual triathlon - Sierra Nevada Triathlon – Scott Molina won.

                                                Fall 1981 – USTS Begins
I switched law firms in 1980 and began to fall in love with endurance events and the idea of putting them on.  My passion for sports started to outweigh my passion for the law and by Fall
of 1981 I had to leave the new firm.  It was at this time that I chose not to continue with the law, but to give sports event production and promotion a chance.  My preference was to produce ultra-marathon trail runs, but was woefully lacking in any business sense that should have informed me otherwise.

Carl A. Thomas – September 1981
Through Curt Sproul (Penny Little, co-founder of Triathlon Magazine with Harald Johnson and Mike Gilmore, was friends with both Carl Thomas and a co-worker of Curt Sproul’s) I had heard that Carl was looking for someone to put on triathlons.  I met Carl A. Thomas, VP Marketing Speedo USA at sports conference in Anaheim in September 1981 where I had gone not just to meet him, but to get sponsors for trail runs; I even pitched him for sponsorship for 50 mile trail runs (dumb)!  He had attended the Spring 1981 Kona Ironman and had an idea that he could sell a bunch more swim gear if there was a lot more people doing triathlons and thus swimming.  He had an ides for a West Coast Triathlon Series in Summer 1982 and was looking for a producer.    

I convinced him that I had the experience in sports event management and triathlon to handle it.  At the SPEEDO offices in Burlingame a couple of weeks later, we agreed to have Endurance Sports Productions produce 5 triathlons on west coast from June 1982-August 1982 – SD, LA, SF, Portland & Seattle.  SPEEDO would own it, but unfortunately, SPEEDO would not be putting any money in directly (they did marketing & PR out of their budget) but we did get to use the entry fees to run it, pay ourselves, etc.

Carl suggested that I meet with Scott Tinley in San Diego re: triathlon and proper distances.  He suggests 2K/35K/15K as proper and balanced.  It took three years to get the distances right after that.

Winter 1981-1982
As winter came on, Carl and I set the five sites and dates for 1982 season:

  • San Diego, CA (Torrey Pines State Beach) - June
  • Los Angeles, CA (Long Beach Marine Stadium) - June
  • San Francisco, CA – (Livermore) July
  • Portland, OR (Hagg Lake) – July
  • Seattle, WA (Mercer Island) - August

I soon started traveling to all of the cities to find sites and file permits on park and lake sites, roadways, etc. Most cities/parks/police had no idea what I was talking about and it was difficult to explain as I had very little practical knowledge about what I was doing, having never put on one triathlon let alone 5, so I used my hands a lot.  Looking back, it was amazing how little anyone, especially me, knew about triathlon in 1981-1982, but I was about to learn a whole lot, the hard way. 

I also began to contact persons from the SPEEDO sponsorship list to find local swim groups and swim meet or running event directors in those cities who could help produce as well as help me identify possible sites for events. Especially lacking on my part was the knowledge of how to build and manage an event staff and a volunteer base once I got a commitment, so I just didn’t do much of that.  Of course, we had no budget for paying Race Directors or staff – had to give them SPEEDO sweatsuits and swim gear if they would take it.

Spring 1982
In many people’s life there is a time that, because of internal or external factors, you have to innovate as the only way forward.  Necessity being a mother, etc..  Spring 1982 was one of those times for me.  With a June San Diego event rushing at me, I HAD to figure out ways of managing this 5-headed hydra called USTS.  There was a plethora of issues to be solved, but as an example:

  • Transitions were unsecured and filled with helpers – this was dangerous and theft-prone as there were no clear passages in/out and no way to tell who was supposed to be there.
  • Bikes were generally left on the ground with clothes and helpers taking up space
  • Every event I knew of was a one-off – all equipment could be borrowed or made for one use a year and stored in a garage – I had 5 to do in three months 2000 miles apart and it all had to fit in a truck.
  • Prize money was non-existent, and we needed ‘pros’.

So under the pressure of time and massive public failure, we came up with new ideas:

  • All transitions would be closed to anyone but the athletes – this took a couple of years to design and enforce as people were used to helpers and someone to watch their stuff.  Eventually we adopted the dismount zone as well to enforce safety.
  • We (Jim Watson & myself) invented the brake-lever/saddle bike rack.  Our original was a wooden frame with steel bar.  Bolt together; break down for transport. 
  • Every USTS race would have prize money and it would be equal between men and women.
  • We would design and purchase everything with an idea of it fitting into a truck and being used at the next event.

As soon as USTS hit the market in Spring 1982, it was a success.  From a trickle of entries (which I tried to handle myself, often calling the athletes when the check came in) we eventually had a field twice what was anticipated (600).  We started the USTS operations/registration office in spring of 1984 at my home (507 “F” St. – still a recognizable address to older triathletes) in Davis, CA.  Our first hire was Laurie Hammersly who would bring in people from her church to help as needed.  She was a wonderful co-worker and another in the line (the first!) of wonderful USTS/CAT Sports co-workers. I completed the American River 50 mile run and got my start number for Western States 100. 

June came.  I rented 1 large van to contain racks, banners, directional signs, awards, t-shirts, etc.  The idea was that the equipment would loaded into the truck and be trucked to San Diego.  Then immediately after the SD, loaded back up, driven to LA, unloaded into storage, truck turned in, fly back to office in Davis, fly back to race city, re-loaded onto new rental truck on race weekend, brought to race site, set-up, produce the race, then equipment re-loaded after event, driven to next city, unloaded into storage, fly home, fly back, load truck, empty, produce race, etc.  It was very taxing as I did it all myself b/c I did not yet understand the meaning of production staff.  Luckily I was somewhat younger and stupider.

Injury – several weeks or so before the SD event, I awoke in Davis with a very sharp pain in my right elbow – the top elbow bone was swollen 3x and it was very painful to make a fist or squeeze or hold anything in my right hand.  My opinion now is that the stress of the project as well as trying to keep up 100+ miles a week running for WS100 had caused some reaction; whatever it was, I would have to do all my jobs most of that summer basically one-handed with my off-hand.  I cancelled my WS100 entry.

Spring/Summer                        1982 – First Season June 1982
USTS – San Diego - Produced first USTS at Torrey Pines. 

  • 600 – 700 entries!  Only Ironman was bigger.
  • Murphy Reinschreiber was first local USTS-SD RD and Horney Toads and Coronado Swim Club were first volunteer group (sort of). 600-700 athletes (approx.). 
  • Prize money – equal men and women.  $2500
  • Mass swim start – 62 degree water; no one in wetsuits.  First swimmer out of the water – Harald Johnson; Dave Scott second.  Men’s Finish order:  (1) D. Scott, (2) S. Molina, (3) S. Tinley, (4) M. Allen, (5) D. Basescue.  Women’s Finish:  (1) Kathleen McCartney, (2) Julie Moss.
  • The brand-new USTS finish banner (hand sown - $900!) stolen off finish line during break-down.
  • First USTS TV show – Carl was color announcer
  • Timing done by stop watches and finish board with popsicle sticks.

USTS – Los Angeles - Produced 2nd USTS at Marine Stadium in Long Beach two weeks later.

  • 1000+ swimmers entered water (mass start) – largest mass start swim ever (according to Swim-Swim Magazine).
  • Bike course held on flood channel of LA river – out and back on a bike trail – very spectacular and dangerous!.  I do not believe that we closed many intersections….
  • Attended founding Tri-Fed/USA meeting at restaurant in Pacific Palisades.  Carl Thomas, Scott Molina, Sally Edwards, John Disterdick, Hans Albrecht.
  • Joined new organization (Tri-Fed/USA) as 1st VP Events

July 1982
USTS – San Francisco – Produced 3rd USTS at State Park in Livermore. 
      *   Scott Molina won men and got DQ’ed for cutting buoy – he really needed that $$!
     USTS – Portland – Produced 4th USTS at Hagg Lake
      *   Julie Leach won – went on to win Ironman that year. 
      *   CAT’s first triathlon.
      *   First serious (hospitalized for a day) accident - bike crash on downhill.                 
August 1982
USTS – Seattle – Produced 5th USTS on Mercer Island in Lake Washington.

  • First US win by Puntous sisters.
  • Lawyer guy & Kathleen McCartney win USTS Series Championships on points.

                                                            Fall 1982
Carl convinced me that it was more important to write an operations manual for the local RD’s than it was to take an all-expenses paid trip with my ex to Machu Pichu!  Borrowed someone’s cabin in the California Sierras and:
      *   Wrote the USTS Event Director’s manual with hand-drawn pictures, etc., and
    *  Co-wrote first Triathlon Race Directors  manual with Sally Edwards: How To Organize      A Triathlon.  Published in in 1983.

Carl wanted to expand to 10 cities in 1983.  We changed distances to 2K/40K/15K and I went to my first Kona Ironman to recruit event directors.  Hired Steve Hegge from Denver, Dennis White from Mahopac NY (later Exec Director & founder of Ironkids).

                                                Winter / Spring 1982-1983
Hired Lloyd Peters as first Asst. Series Director and Virginia Tinley & Kef Kamai (KK) as regional RDs for West Coast. Jim and I invented the 5-piece all-steel bike racks that are still in use.

We committed to 10 US cities:

    •  SD (Virginia Tinley), LA (LB) (Mike Braunstein), SF (Kef Kamai), Portland (KK), Sea. (KK)        Sea.  (KK), Chicago (Jan Caille), New York (Dennis White - Lake Mahopac), Denver (Steve  Hegge), Austin (Jim Woodman) & Bass Lake (1st USTS National Championship).

           *  MIZUNO comes in as shoe sponsor (cartridge system – worst idea ever in running
                 shoes)

Spring / Summer/Fall                     1983 Season
We produced 10 triathlons nationally.  Most events were now near or over 1000 participants.  Between all the cities it seemed as if I spent my life in a hotel room or an airplane.  Produced first USTS National Championship at Bass Lake and Budweiser Light (BL) comes in as a sponsor for Championship and talks about multi-year.  We shipped our equipment around commercially.

BLUSTS – San Diego (Torrey Pines State Park)

  • Virginia Tinley RD, First pro association meeting

BLUSTS – Los Angeles (Belmont Shores)

  • Showdown between the unbeaten Puntous sisters and unbeaten Girard sisters – unexpected winner was Linda Buchanan!  Start of her short but glorious career.
  • Ron Smith (The King) is DQ’ed by me for the second time b/c no 50+ year-old man can go that fast – his time wins 40-44, 44-49, and 50-54 (also places in 35-39!).  Tinley convinces me – he does go that fast.
  • Sally Edwards complaint about mugging at the turn buoy and starts process of wave starts in 1984

BLUSTS – Chicago (Solidarity Dr. – Lakeshore Dr.)

  • USTS – Chicago produced in only 3 weeks after “The Red-headed guy” gets us permits to do anything we want in Chicago.  Many stories. 
    • Meet my wife on a blind date set up by Jan Caille – whom I later sue.
    • Car pushed into swim course 2am before race – pulled out just before.
    • Molina & Puntous win
    • Awards ceremony on a boat moored next to event.

BLUSTS – Bass Lake California

  • A perfect little event – invitation only and sells out.  Molina and MI gal win.

                                               
                                                            Fall / Winter 1983-1984
Three major changes to USTS and the sport of Triathlon occur in Fall/Winter 1983.

  • September - We change USTS distances to 1.5/40/10  - Carl’s idea; pick the best-known distances within the range.  We called them USTS distances; they become the International Distance overseas, then become Olympic distances. 
  • October - We invent first wave start system for all swim starts – colored hats, start corrals, etc. - based on Bolder/Boulder 10K run start and as a response to Sally Edwards’ demand after LA event.
  • December - SPEEDO wanted out of USTS and sells it to Carl as part of his severance.  Carl and I formed CAT Sports while walking down Wilshire Blvd in Santa Monica.  I know he doesn’t quite trust me, but I make him an offer he can’t resist: 51/49 and we call it CAT Sports.  But the catch is; if anyone asks him, he can say it is Carl A. Thomas Sports.  If they ask me, I can say it is Curl & Thomas Sports.  Done.  Fact is, we never called it anything but CAT Sports.

US Olympic Committee forces us to change our logo to what became standard USTS, and we committed to 12 cities in 1984:

    • Tampa Bay (Fort DeSoto - Al James), SD (Downtown - Rick Kozlowski), LA (Dana Point - Mike Braunstein), SF, Port., Sea. (KK), Chicago (Jan Caille & Tom Cooney), New York (Rye - Steve Tarpinian), Denver (Chatfield Res. & Steve Hegge,)  Baltimore (Inner Harbor - Lyn Brooks), Atlanta (Stone Mtn.) & Bass Lake.  

We hired first national timing team to support waves, etc.  I recall working with Verne Scott and Lloyd Peters to write Tri-Fed/USA competition rules. Bud Light comes in as title sponsor – Bud Light U.S. Triathlon Series (BLUSTS).  We go to individualized art for all t-shirts (cartoons/pictures of each city) and city-specific race packets for all events.

We work with CAT on ITU founding – could be a year later.  I individually produced the notorious “Bahamas Diamond Triathlon of the Stars” and was thrown in jail after the event! 

Spring / Summer / Fall       1984 Season Highlights
This is the year we exploded and seemed to be everywhere, or at least, I was.  Molina starts to win every USTS he enters and does it for three-four years.

BLUSTS-Tampa Bay (Fort DeSoto)

  • First Triathlon to use USTS/Olympic distances.
  • First Triathlon to use wave starts
  • First computerized results
  • Al James RD

BLUSTS – San Diego
      *   Police force RD to shut SD airport for two hours – ouch!

BLUSTS – LA/Orange County – Dana Point
      *   County supervisors pulled bike permit two weeks out – our first Duathlon (Swim/Run).                  
      *   Molina wins anyway.  My brother Nick starts his race directing career here – just finished 20 years as RD for LA Marathon.

BLUSTS-Chicago

  • Largest Triathlon ever held up to that time – 2000+ athletes.
  • Got married that same night – not sure which was harder to pull off.
  • Rob DeCastella’s wife wins women’s event – maybe fastest runner ever in sport.

BLUSTS - Atlanta

  • Infamous 500 meter swim – Swim Coordinator thinks a meter is more like a foot than a yard.  Tinley & Molina “tie” and split purse.

BLUSTS-Bass Lake California

  • 2nd USTS National Championship & 1st Tri-Fed National Championships
  • Bass Lake Winners?  I was on my honeymoon so I don’t remember.  Molina and a Puntous, probably.  We knew that Bass Lake was already too small for the demand and so we started looking for new championship site in 1985 as soon as it was over.

                                                            Fall / Winter 1984-1985
We were very lucky and hired Flo Bryan as Asst. Series Admin.  One of the better organizers and negotiators I have worked with.  Used to kick me under the table to shut up when we had got what we wanted in a negotiation.  Consolidated USTS offices in San Diego (Encinitas).  Wonderful staff:

    • Kathy Hoy (Plant), Flo Bryan, Joe Glynn, Lloyd Peters, Mike Plant, MJ Schovaers, Ellen Duval, Carl & I.

Carl talks me into committed to 13 US Cities in 1985.  We decide to purchase an 8-wheel trailer (CAT Box), hire & train employees to drive tractor and begin the CAT Box mobile event system.  Flo has old tennis connections in Hilton Head and they come in as the first paying host site for the BLUSTS National Championships for the 1985-88 seasons.  Hilton Head also to be site of Tri-Fed/USA Nationals.  Anheuser-Busch commits to multi-year title.  AT&T comes in.  Coca-Cola comes in. 

MONEY comes in!  Hard not be successful when you have buckets of cash!  But we spent it all on getting bigger and better.

Spring / Summer/Fall                                 1985 Season

  • Produced 12 events - all a blur.
    • Tampa Bay (1000+)
    • North County San Diego –Solana Beach (1000+)
    • LA/Orange Co – Dana Point (1500+)
    • SF – Burlingame
    • Portland (Hagg Lake)
    • Seattle – Puget Sound
    • Denver (Steve Hegge -1000)
    • Chicago  (Jan Caille and Tom Cooney - 2500+)
    • Boston  - Cape Cod (Dave McGillivray)
    • Baltimore (Lyn Brooks - 2000)
    • Atlanta – Stone Mtn. (1000)
    • Hilton Head
  • Molina wins everything in sight
  • 15,000 plus triathletes

BLUSTS – Solana Beach
      *   Quintessential SD triathlon – awards on beach with Tinley surfing

BLUSTS – Chicago
      *   2500+ - still world’s biggest – outgrowing Solidarity site
      *   Major disagreements with Jan Caille – result in his defection and lawsuit in 1986.

BLUSTS – Boston
      *   Dave McGillivray – Cape Cod Course – Bud Light Robot – BIG squall hits the swim        start – interesting.

BLUSTS-Hilton Head –
     *   Molina chases down Djan Madruga (Brasil Olympian) in last mile.  Colleen Cannon?       
     *   Colleen Cannon or One of the Twins wins(?)
     *   98 degrees and humid championship in Hilton Head – parking lot filled with ice bags          
          and bodies

                                          1986 and Beyond
Flo Bryan and staff started to co-run the Series in 1986.  We started the Coke Grand Prix at around this time. My primary job was to find the new sites, get them started and hand them to staff, although I had responsibility for 4-5 races as Administrator.
Some of the new USTS sites in 1986-89:

  • Fort Lauderdale for Tampa Bay which then became Miami
  • Minneapolis
  • Lake Lanier – GA for Stone Mtn., which went back to Stone Mtn.
  • San Jose (for SF)
  • Navy Pier in Chicago (after we split the events between Jan and us).
  • Boston – Charles River split transition – 100 shoes were stolen from the hotel the night before – made a famous t-shirt and part of Dave McGillivray’s legend.
  • Vermont
  • New Orleans
  • Virginia Tidewater

The direct USTS responsibilities become less for me every year after 1986.

                              Tri-Fed/USA and ITU (1982-1992)
CAT Sports was very active in Tri-Fed/USA and ITU politics domestically from the founding of both organizations and especially in the campaign to establish triathlon for the Olympics during this period – but that is more a Carl Thomas story.  I did what was asked to do on that front, but was too busy starting and managing events to provide any real organizational leadership.  Our strongest ally was Les McDonald (with whom I climbed Mt. Fuji in a snowstorm in 1988).

                              Japan Triathlon Series (1986-1989)
By 1986 we had an agreement with a group in Tokyo to license the USTS system and marks.  By 1986 I had 5 races in Japan that I was involved with setting up for the Japan Triathlon Series each year.  I worked on many of these events in the 1986-1989 period, although not in an operations role – more as an advisor.

                  America’s Paradise Triathlon – St. Croix U.S.V.I.
In 1988, we founded the America’s Paradise Triathlon in St. Croix (with Renny Roker).  We originally sub-titled it Beauty and the Beast because it was schedule to be done on St. John – a ‘beast’ of a place to try to do a tri!  Ultimately, when we moved it to St. Croix, we wanted to keep the nice printed collateral, so I found a steep hill on the north-western coast and called it: “The Beast”. 

This event was a big winner from the beginning; Diane Warwick sang the Star Spangled banner live and acapella, the field included Mark Allen, Mike Pigg, Paula Newby-Fraser, Molina, and most of the top racers, and we had $100,000+ in prizes. But it was as well a source of huge contention – we had to sue Roker to get our share and later broke with him.

By 1987-88 I was primarily doing other events for CAT Sports – Michelob Night Riders, NFL (and Golden) Quarterback Challenge (1988-1990), ABC Wide World of Sports Summer Skate, and Japan Triathlon Series.  CAT produced the 1991 ITU World Championships in DisneyWorld, Orlando in conjunction with Dave McGillivray.

                  The End of USTS and CAT Sports - 1993
USTS started in San Diego in June of 1982.  11 years and 3 mos. later, USTS ended in Maui in September of 1993. 

In those 11 years, USTS:

  • Held over 120 events around the US.
  • Hosted over 100,000 people in USTS events.
  • Gave away almost $1,000,000 in prize money.
  • Was held in 65 different sites in over 30 different cities.
  • Co-hosted three Tri-Fed/USA US National Championships
  • Distances are now the Olympic distances
  • Wave starts are required in most events
  • Style bike racks are in every event

                                          Conclusion
We were really very lucky and grateful to be able to do what we did for 11 years.  We caught the wave of Triathlon at a perfect time, got the support of big sponsors, had a great plan for the sport, business and political sides of the sport and built a staff with the abilities to pull it off.  And we were daring – we rolled the dice all the time and won most of those bets.

We were honored all those years to be goals for so many motivated people.  We were the first triathlon experience for thousands and a benchmark and racecourse for thousands more.

We helped build and publicize a professional group of triathletes whose exploits still resonate throughout the sport.

We were the first to bring downtown racing to US cities – we looked for the most central site, not the easiest to permit.  We helped many cities bring attention and tourist business to their areas. 

If you ask our staff, most of them will say it was the best working environment they ever had.  They knew their jobs, were trusted and supported by management, were well-paid and they liked working with each other (more or less, most of the time).  The event business is very hard at event time.  All-nighters, travel, big stress, physically demanding – all that.  But our attitude was: do the job and no one bothers you about the small stuff; to a certain type of person, that is priceless. No co-worker ever punched in or was asked why they weren’t at work on Monday – we really did trust them to do a very difficult job in the best way they could.  I am still in awe of all of them.  We had the best staff in the business:
Cathy Hoy Plant, Laurie Hammersly, Tawney Soski Grossman, Flo Bryan, Mary Jane Schovaers, Ellen Duval Hawthorne, Marsha Smelkinson, William (Buff) DeBellis, Susan Sullivan, Mike Plant, Ki Palchikoff and many others I forget here.

We had wonderful event directors who helped us figure out this complex sport:  Virginia Tinley, Kef Kamai, Michael Braunstein, Rick Kozlowski, Steve Hegge, Jim Woodman, Jan Caille, Tom Cooney, Lyn Brooks, Al James, Dave McGillivray, Rob Wallach, Steve Tarpinian and Bill Burke, to name a few.   Many others we never got to work with looked at USTS as a standard of what they wanted to do in event production. I apologize if I have forgotten anyone; it is the approval of my fellow event directors I have always most valued because it is only you that know what this job entails.

As for me; I get way too much credit and not enough blame. Without this staff and the support of my partner Carl Thomas who began, managed and funded our dreams all those years, and of my wife Karen who put up with more than I can thank her for, I would never have done a hundredth, or maybe any of this.  For a creative kid-at-heart that loves sports and travel, to have the opportunity to help think up a sport, or even four sports; to travel around the world fitting courses to dreams and to even get recognition in Halls of Fame; that’s like getting paid to play when you would do it for free. 


1
Jim Curl and Carl Thomas formed a partnership in 1981 to create the US Triathlon Series and to produce and manager triathlons as a series.  The Series started with the original five cities and grew to 120 events at 65 sites and hosted over 100,000 participants.   The partnership of Thomas and Curl became CAT Sports in 1983.  Curl has produced over 150 triathlons internationally and helped create the Reebok Woman’s Triathlon and other events with 1,000 participants or more.

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