Today we are chatting with a man who has left an indelible mark on the sport of trials. Wiltz Wagner has been involved in the sport of trials since the 60's. Even before there were dedicated trials bikes.
First Wiltz was a fierce competitor, which despite starting rather late in life at age 28, through focus and determination he became the over 35's US National Champion. That alone is fairly impressive, but we are just getting started.
Upon realising the absurdity of having limited alignment in rules and class structures in the Colorado area, Wiltz went on to foster the formation of the Rocky Mountain Trials Association which aligned a number of key clubs and individuals to help form a body that would provide standards and consistency for riders in the area. The unique structure of the RMTA meant that there were no votes and it was not your typic club structure...members were left to find unanimous agreement, otherwise motions would not get past. No bullying, no politics...just good 'ol fashioned negotiation.
That may not sound that remarkable but when you consider it was the model from which the North American Trials Council was formed and both entities have stood the test of time you start to appreciate the wisdom and subtlety in the approach.
Wiltz then played a pivotal role in the formation of the NATC to create a national series which addressed a number of key issues for the AMA in ensuring America could identify it's top riders, it created a national series when it became obvious people were beginning to travel for the sport, and it help salvage the AMAs very broken relationship with the FIM which we discuss at length. There was also deft management needed to tame expectations of local clubs and regional associations who may have had ambitions of defining and running a national series.
The relationship the NATC has with the AMA is unlike any structure elsewhere in the world. There are not many governing bodies happy to defer so much responsibility to a 3rd party. Then again, there are not too many Wiltz Wagners in the world!
And if that wasn't enough, Wiltz was there at the start of the Ute Cup...one of the countries premier events and that too has stood the test of time recently celebrating it's 50th anniversary.
Wiltz is not afraid to talk straight, but remains exceptionally humble, almost to a fault and has knocked back awards and many interview requests earlier in his career so I feel exceptionally grateful to have had the opportunity to interview him.
Ladies and Gentleman, i give to you Part 1 of my 2 part conversation with Wiltz Wagner.
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