One of the best things about US randonneuring is that it is generally non-competitive. The rides are difficult and completing one brings a lot of personal pride, but if you finish the brevet you earn a medal the same as everyone else. Randonneurs USA emphasizes egalitarianism for our hard-riding members rather than setting up competitions among them because the long rides go by better with friends than with adversaries. For example, we don't acknowledge who rode the most brevet kilometers, nor climbed the most meters of elevation during a season. Ride results are listed alphabetically, not by arrival time. Any number of randon- neurs can earn the prestigious Super Randonneur Award each season; the same goes for the R-5000. So long as you finish the ride(s) in the time allotment, you are considered "a winner" in our sport. Witnessing the friendly camaraderie among the vast majority of brevet participants, we believe it is a successful formula.

However, The American Randonneur Award is given each year by the RUSA Board of Directors to acknowledge a special person who has made an outstanding contribution to our sport. It is not earned by riding a bike long distances, but rather, working selflessly to help others who do. Nominations come from among the RUSA members and then are voted upon by the Board of Directors. Let me tell you, it is no easy task when we have so many deserving people nominated each year. Many of us on the board feel it one of the most difficult things we are asked to do for RUSA. This year was particularly hard since we had so many eloquent nominations and equally deserving candidates from around the nation. But, after much discussion and contemplation, we are very pleased to announce that the winner of the 2002 American Randonneur Award is David Buzzee of Ohio.

Dave has a long history of helping riders by putting on good brevets. He was the RBA in Alabama in the early 1990s, and after a move to Ohio, he was soon doing the same there. Participants in his brevet series have told us how he is unfailingly helpful to riders of all abilities, but particularly the new ones. He will share his extensive randonneuring knowledge with rookies in order to make their learning experience easier. That he does this with a good sense of humor helps even more. The brevets Dave puts on are often more challenging than others, but for a reason. He knows many of his riders aspire to do harder randonnées such as PBP or BMB and as result they go to the 1200k events fully confident from having finished a tough brevet series. A real "route scout", the Ohio brevets are also very scenic since Dave spends a lot of time beforehand researching the best way to go so that his riders will maximize their enjoyment. Whether they traverse such exotic locales as Chicken Hollow or Skunk Run, the Ohio randonneurs benefit from knowing they will have a great day on the bike. In addition Dave frequently rides his routes a week or two before the actual event so that he can be available to work the day of brevet. These lonely solo rides take a special courage and determination. How many of us enjoy doing a long brevet alone? In addition to organizing his local series, Dave frequently travels to BMB each August and works at the controls in order to assist the randonneurs there. He has also been a stalwart member of the RUSA leadership team since our inception in August of 1998.

In addition to working at brevets and for RUSA, Dave Buzzee is a good rider too. In particular, he is a finisher of the 1999 Paris-Brest-Paris event. But again, his participation there was characteristic of his unfailingly helpful demeanor. Early in the event, when he saw some of his Ohio guys having a particularly rough time, he purposely slowed down and encouraged them along for most of the event. They all came dangerously close to elimination, but Dave kept them going at a personal cost of an overall time many hours slower than what he had been training for. Even on the last day of the event, when too much sleepless cycling creates a profound fatigue that dulls the senses, Dave was out there taking long pulls at the front, giving useful advice, and cracking jokes to get other riders' morale up and keep them moving. It is this selfless attitude of helping other randonneurs achieve their goals that earns David Buzzee the 2002 American Randonneur Award.

Bill Bryant
RUSA Awards Committee