Mike Minium named 2010 Silva Award Winner

July 11, 2010

Many orienteering clubs owe their birth to an individual. Orienteering Cincinnati (OCIN) is no exception. The club was founded by a transplanted New Englander in 1984. While the founders tend to get all the credit, it is the individuals who work hard and believe in an idea who are most responsible for the continued success of a club. Were it not for one later recruit to the fledgling club, OCIN would not have lasted through the 90’s.
Mike Minium holding the 2010 Silva Award (photo by Mary Jo Childs) Who in Orienteering USA and the greater orienteering community has not heard of OCIN? Who has not been to or at least heard of The Flying Pig? Of the few who have not, they may still know the name: Mike Minium. For he is the single individual who is predominantly responsible for the continued existence of OCIN, and for the high level of quality of The Flying Pig.

If you know Mike, nothing else need be said. His record and his life speak volumes. A history of his contributions to orienteering, at all levels, is like a set of guidelines to what others may aspire. The only reason he has not received this award prior to now is that he served 16 years on the executive committee of USOF’s board of directors, and members of the executive committee are officially not eligible.

Mike started orienteering in 1985. He heard about the sport from Björn Kjellström’s book Be Expert with Map and Compass. He read about a meet a few hours away and after a drive was soon talking his way into a Chicago A-meet. He finished the Orange course, his first ever, and was hooked. Later that year he tried his hand at a second meet. The 1985 USOF Championships in Michigan hosted by SMOC had a young Mike Minium competing for the gold on a Blue course.

Unbeknownst to Mike, a new club was forming in his home town of Cincinnati, just two hours from his residence in Indianapolis. In the Spring of 1986, OCIN hosted its first A-meet. Mike Minium was there, both to compete, and to offer his labors if needed.

One OCIN club member remembers his first encounter with Mike. They were both competing at Miami-Whitewater. It was the Green course, in the badlands. The club member saw Mike parallel to him running lickety split. The club member thought he could not let Mike beat him. And it soon became apparent Mike was not going to let the club member best him.

Outcome of that race aside, the club member later found himself sitting side by side with this stranger, hand-calculating the official results. The club member wondered “Who is this Mike Minium guy?”

Mike has seldom missed an event, meeting, or work session since. Over that next year, through 1987, if Mike was absent, the club member’s thoughts changed to “Where is that Mike Minium guy?”

In the last 20 years, Mike has been the primary originator and instigator of most every idea and aspect of orienteering in the Greater Cincinnati area, and beyond. To detail his involvement in orienteering could easily fill dozens of pages. Each bullet item and concept below could easily have countless sub-bullets and detailed paragraphs.

Below is a partial list of Mike Minium’s history and contribution to Orienteering —

  • 1985:  Started to orienteer
  • 1985:  Joined USOF
  • 1986:  Joined OCIN
  • 1987 – 2010: Served as event director and course setter for hundreds of local OCIN events.
  • 1988 – 2010: Mike acts as one of the primary coordinators of all OCIN road trips to A-meets and other worthy events.
  • 1990 – 2010: Served as OCIN Mapping Coordinator. Arranged for professional mappers to work in the Midwest. Selected mapping projects and coordinated budget for these maps. He houses, feeds, and provides transportation for out of town mappers. He also is an active mapper himself and produces and updates almost all of the OCIN maps.
  • 1990 – 2010: Mike has recruited, trained, and supported many junior orienteers over the past 20 years. He continues this activity without a hint of burn out.
  • 1991 – 2010: Served as OCIN’s newsletter editor. Initiated the emailed version in 2002.
  • 1992 – 2009: Served 17 years on USOF BOD; 16 as Vice President of Program Development.
  • 1992 – 2010: Cofounder of the OCIN annual A-meet plan, resulting in 19 continuous years of nationally sanctioned events hosted by OCIN.
  • 1993 – 2010: Served as OCIN’s Quartermaster. He personally houses, cleans, inventories, and maintains almost every physical piece of equipment OCIN owns or otherwise harbors.
  • 1993 – 2009: Served 16 of those years as VP Program Development, where he did New Club Development work, including the new club starter kits. He organized the distribution of USOF books, especially Orienteering and Map Games for Teachers. He arranged the development and distribution of the USOF brochure. He was responsible for the USOF traveling display, which is available for clubs to use for the promotion of orienteering. He organized the updating and reprinting of the Coaching Manual and Map Games book. He worked with the O in Schools program, recruiting volunteers to write and organize teacher aids.
  • 1994 – 1995: Acting above and beyond the call of duty, he personally formed two Orienteering Clubs in Indianapolis, IN, (ICO) and Columbus, OH (COO). He organized formation meetings, training, map creation, meet direction, and seeded the budgets. Without his direct hands-on involvement those clubs would not be what they are today.
  • 1997 – 2010: Meet director of every Flying Pig A-meet. Many of these, through his efforts, became US Championships, Team Trials and World Ranking Events -- including the very first WRE held in the USA. Developed and popularized the American version of the individual relay or Farsta. He even got permission from nationally syndicated cartoonist, Jim Borgman, to use his image of a blissful winged porker as the event's iconic logo.
  • 2000 – 2010: Mike was selected by the IOF to become the first North American IOF event advisor. He is very active in this role, and has advised IOF-sanctioned WRE events in both the U.S. and Canada.
  • 2002 – 2010: Serves as OCIN’s primary webmaster. He maintains all results, schedules, photos, and news.
  • 2003 – 2010: Created the Joel Rauschenbach Memorial Junior Fund which has supported U.S. Junior Team and other junior development by providing travel grants to local junior orienteers. He is a trustee of that fund managing both the assets and distributions.
  • 2009 – 2010: Co-founder of the Tristate Regional Orienteering League (TROL), an interscholastic league in the Cincinnati area.

The selection of the Silva Award winner is made by the Orienteering USA's Executive Committee, which is comprised of the President, five Vice Presidents, and Secretary. The selection is made from among the nominations received by Orienteering USA's Awards Committee, which administers this awards program for Orienteering USA.