Donald Jackson resigns as Operations Manager of BITD

bobylax

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Found this on Facebook. Don't know if it is official, but losing a huge asset and friend to Off-road Racing!! Good luck Donald, Kristy and family. May you continue having many great adventures!!


"After 17 years of working for Best In The Desert, I handed in my resignation letter as Operations Manager on Friday August 28th,2020. For 14 years, I worked side by side with one of my very best friends, Casey. No matter the job, he jumped right in to finish whatever task was in front of us. Both of us along with Diane DeLauer, Liz Marshall, Tyler Franklin, Miguel Gonzalez, Julia Sahlstrom, my wife Kristy, our amazing staff members, Motorsport Safety Solutions and countless volunteers, worked our tails off to build the best desert racing series around. For the past 3 1/2 years with the help of loyal staff members, I have continued to carried the traditions that Casey started and helped uphold BITD to the standard its known for, simply put The BEST.
Now it’s time for a new adventure in my life but I wanted to thank all the staff members for their support and guidance throughout the years. The volunteers for the countless hours keeping racers safe and making these events possible. The racers for the friendships, memories and support they have shown especially over the last several years. And most importantly, my family who have been there through it all and have never once wavered in their support of my dreams. It truly has been an adventure of a lifetime. I love my #bestinthedesert family.
Thank you"
Donald Jackson

Here was my response on FB. Three generations of race volunteers!!!
Donald 01.JPG
Donald.JPG

"Say it ain't so Joe, say it ain't so!" Sorry to hear you're leaving, but happy that you'll get to spend some quality time with family and friends that doesn't involve driving a Ranger banging in stakes and hanging ribbon, or piloting a loader or grader. I've always said that after they made Casey Folks, they broke the mold. Well, they picked up and put together the pieces and made you. You made an effort to try and know everyone in our group, and always tried to say hello no matter how busy, which was all the time. Over the years you accommodated most every want, need or request we made, so that our family and friends could enjoy some of the most bada$$ racing on the planet, and gave us the opportunity to befriend racers, staff and volunteers. The fact that you and Casey maintained a loyal and dedicated group of staff and volunteers over these years is a testament to your leadership. Your ability to acknowledge and show appreciation to every volunteer has been what has kept us coming back for almost 15 years. (along with the fact I'm addicted to dust and the smell of race fuel!) It has been an honor and privilege to call you and Kristy friend, and know you will be missed. Hopefully we will see you out in the wilderness far away from DANGER, TURN AHEAD and WRONG WAY arrows!!
 
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bobylax

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I also admired you honoring Casey's legacy by greeting every racer at the start and finish of every race! Boooyah!! Be well my friend.
 

nohandslance

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I can not imagine keeping all of us off-roaders under control, that is a huge job that often goes unnoticed, All my best and to all the other race Org's.

Lance
 

C.J. Hutchins

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Donald and Liz were the face/engine of BitD. They always welcomed everyone, I remember my first few bitd races I had many questions for Liz and she always had the answer with a smile on her face. Donald and Liz are those irreplaceable type people, not just for their knowledge of the sport and putting these events on, but their hearts of gold are hard to come by these days. I hate to say it but BitD wont be the same without both of them.
 

pdailey

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Donald and Liz were the face/engine of BitD. They always welcomed everyone, I remember my first few bitd races I had many questions for Liz and she always had the answer with a smile on her face. Donald and Liz are those irreplaceable type people, not just for their knowledge of the sport and putting these events on, but their hearts of gold are hard to come by these days. I hate to say it but BitD wont be the same without both of them.
100%, CJ. Huge blow for BITD
 

9rocky

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All I ever remember Casey saying on the radio was "Hello, Donald" Seems like a thousand times every race.
 

MTPyle

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Yeah what a mess with those two gone. I always say everyone is replaceable but man I don’t know it that works in this case.

I get the sense that the Folks are not the easiest to work with. I have zero inside info but from the outside I see things that make me think it’s a challenge working with those guys.

I wonder if the Folks will try and sell BITD? But the problem is most likely they think it’s worth more than it is. What is BITD without the people? It’s not like they own any intellectual property. Just relationships and people, and a chunk of that just walked out the door.

Man this kind of freaks me out. I hope they have a plan how to replace those two, get them back, or sell to someone that can take on the legacy.

Donald and Liz were absolutely amazing and a pleasure to work with.

Mike
 

calstyl2

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Donald is the heart and soul of BITD in the place of Casey, he is the contacts, relationships that make the series work, BITD is nothing without the volunteer staff that come to together and make races happen, anyone who fills his shoes, will have a tough road building those relationships.
The Folks kids dont have the desire and dont want to run the series, they are the caretakers of Casey's dream/program, its probably time to sell it to someone who has that dream and desire to run the series.
And can lead a amazing group of people that make BITD what it is.

Donald at Silverstate, directing traffic, trying to move the finish line, on the phone with BLM, all at the same time, what I will remember the most. Great person.
 
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MTPyle

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If two groups were to merge it should be Mad Media and BITD.

my only complaint with MM is they Struggled with the racing aspect and they only have one race.

The only issue I have with BITD is lack of media.

If I was a betting person I would bet MM is Going to try and buy BITD.

I wonder if Donald and Liz would work well with MM without the Folks involved? Its my guess they would.

Mike
 

Chris

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Doubt he'll remember this, but I pulled a "whistle-dick" move and tried to ride my MX bike on the day one A ride during the 2015 Nevada 200. I couldn't clear a hill and got stuck at the bottom. Donald let me ride his (properly setup) Gas-Gas to clear the hill and he wrangled my bike to the top. He was extremely cool about the whole thing. I'll never forget that. Donald, if you read this bud, best of luck to you.
 

MAC56

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One day many many years ago my friend Casey called me and said “hey big boy, Best in the Desert just hired its first full time employee, he is one of the finest young men I have ever known, I know you will really like him.”
As usual he was spot on and Donald has proven Casey was correct in trusting him with his pride and joy.
My respect and trust in Donald can not be understated, I have watched him grow from a young man from great family
to a man with his own great family.
Liz was the most successful in living up to both Casey and Dianne’s expectations, she had plans with her family and was set to leave BITD when we lost Casey. She put her life on hold and did not leave because she did not want to let down all the BITD people and help keep Casey’s dream alive.
Few really understand what the dream was but the name said it all, the result was better than just racing, it was life long friendships with exceptional people that will continue and hopefully out live all of us.
Good people sometimes have to part ways but will continue to be good people.
While I am saddened by this change I remain proud of all the friends that have resulted from Casey’s dream.

Kevin McGillivray, “BITD south” a name given by my friends.
 

ndvalium

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Donald and Liz were the face/engine of BitD. They always welcomed everyone, I remember my first few bitd races I had many questions for Liz and she always had the answer with a smile on her face. Donald and Liz are those irreplaceable type people, not just for their knowledge of the sport and putting these events on, but their hearts of gold are hard to come by these days. I hate to say it but BitD wont be the same without both of them.
Completely agree that it won’t be the same. However I think we learned with the loss of Casey no one is irreplaceable in any role. Best in the Desert has selected a new Operations Manager and will continue moving forward. I’ve known him for several years and have faith in his capabilities.

Yeah what a mess with those two gone. I always say everyone is replaceable but man I don’t know it that works in this case.

I get the sense that the Folks are not the easiest to work with. I have zero inside info but from the outside I see things that make me think it’s a challenge working with those guys.

I wonder if the Folks will try and sell BITD? But the problem is most likely they think it’s worth more than it is. What is BITD without the people? It’s not like they own any intellectual property. Just relationships and people, and a chunk of that just walked out the door.

Man this kind of freaks me out. I hope they have a plan how to replace those two, get them back, or sell to someone that can take on the legacy.

Donald and Liz were absolutely amazing and a pleasure to work with.

Mike
Im 100% sure thats a terrible idea.
If two groups were to merge it should be Mad Media and BITD.

my only complaint with MM is they Struggled with the racing aspect and they only have one race.

The only issue I have with BITD is lack of media.

If I was a betting person I would bet MM is Going to try and buy BITD.

I wonder if Donald and Liz would work well with MM without the Folks involved? Its my guess they would.

Mike
Maybe once upon a time that would have been a option and thought but it is my opinion that is gone at this point. What are you buying if you buy Best in the Desert? You don’t buy permits. You don’t buy volunteers. You don’t even buy a rolladex. You are buying some vehicles, some signs and some trailers. The people are the value. The knowledge and skills are the value.

I’m in a strange world because I have the honor of working closely with several racing organizations including Mad Media and Best in the Desert. I want them all to succeed as should everyone in off road. I want SNORE, SCORE, all of them to go strong. Provide options for every racer and all locations possible. Regardless if they use my team or not!

Mad Media did have some struggles with the Mint 400 this year. But quite frankly that should be 100% expected on both the operations and racer side. They started their first race with essentially a Super Bowl and every eye possible on them and many waiting for them to fail. They had a team that was 100% new to working with each other get together and try and put all the pieces together to make a world class event. Not just a race. It didn’t deter them. In fact it gave them drive for the up coming UTV World Championship. Matt and Josh along with others are boots on the ground every week doing everything they can to make sure many of the challenges they had for the Mint are not an issue for this event. All the while already planning and meeting for Mint stuff for 2021 as well.

As far as Donald and Liz, these two are closer to me than most of my real family. When Casey passed, many of us leaned harder on each other than ever before and the bond between us was a welcome relationship. They are amazing humans that will be missed greatly From the BITD family. But at least in this loss, I still have my friends there at the other end of the phone or even in person like I get to spend this weekend with them in Arizona at the Off Road Nationals. (And just time be clear, this has nothing to do with their departure. They have been helping Jason Cobb with this series since Jason started )
 

JDDurfey

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I remember some of these same conversations when Sal Fish sold SCORE. Some people wondered if "the show would go on" Some volunteers did not return for the next race. However, if the organization is built strong, it will survive. The "show" will most definitely go on. There may be a few bumps in the road, but what would desert racing be without them?

I don't think anyone can say that they didn't wonder what would happen after Casey passed away. But because he built a machine, a well oiled, properly functioning machine, it continued to operate. I believe that will be the case here. The "machine" will continue to put on great races. And who knows, maybe some fresh eyes on the business will help it grow in ways that were not seen previously.
 

green787

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When Sal Fish sold SCORE the greatest show on earth died.... The spectacle is over.... but there is still a race.....
 
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