September 30, 2010

EUSPBA executive moving forward with new Florida Branch; SUSPBA plans to continue

In a move comparable to the organization’s 2003 expansion into territory previously identified with other pipe band associations, the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association has annexed the large Florida geography, currently under the domain on the Southern United States Pipe Band Association. The plan has been approved by the EUSPBA’s executive committee, and, according to EUSPBA President Jimmy Bell, is “done” and does not need to be ratified by the membership at large at the organization’s annual general meeting November 13th in Baltimore.

The SUSPBA currently lists 17 bands as members, and the organization is part of the Alliance of North American Pipe Band Associations and a recognized sister association of the RSPBA.

The move, which was made public on the EUSPBA’s website, was a surprise to several people, who asked to have their name left out of any news story, as their understanding was that the two organizations were to sit down “to see if we could work something out.” The EUSPBA lists a Florida Branch on its contacts page, and Gary Hurlbut as branch president.

“The [Florida representative] simply voted for a branch for themselves,” Bell said, adding that the interested parties in Florida were “not getting what they wanted from the local association.”

According to sources, two Florida competitions – the Highland games in Jacksonville and Fort Lauderdale – have made inquiries to the EUSPBA about sanctioning with the organization, with the apparent intention of discontinuing SUSPBA sanctioning.

Two Florida competitions – Zephyrhills and Central Florida – are already sanctioned by the EUSPBA.

A source with the SUSPBA said that his organization “will continue to operate, with the membership best interests in mind,” and that “we have no intention of quitting.”

He added that the SUSPBA is planning an indoor gathering with solo and mini-band competitions and a workshop on November 6th.

Jimmy Bell, who plans to run for another two-year term as EUSPBA President at the association’s  AGM, added , “I am for expansion of the association if approached, so that would continue if I get re elected.”

Three other candidates are also running for the EUSPBA presidency.

The EUSPBA’s jurisdiction covers more than 1,200,000 square miles and represents 29 states and the District of Columbia.


  1. I look forward to seeing how this works out. This isn’t the first time the grass has seemed greener on the other side. If it last this time, only time will tell. I would like to know what benefits the Florida branch will get from this. Will they be able to gain invites to the EUSPBA championships through their own branches competitions? That would be a big benefit for any band looking to make the move. I personally like that the SUSPBA has always had a more global approach to it’s competitions as far as being on the same rule set that the RSPBA is on. That along with the winter/spring season make it very easy for bands to compete during the summer at bigger events.

  2. Well new blood at the helm would imply that there was a change in leadership of the SUSPBA, that there was not, even though it’s an open membership, and open to voting, no one has ever come in and did much other than use up all the funds or completely change things for the worse. So naturally the group that has held it together usually receives the majority vote. Would it be nice to see some new options? yes maybe it would, but this is not the first time this has happened. Let’s not forget why the SUSPBA was started in the first place.



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