By Bonnie Bagley, National Board Representative

The first D17 board meeting of the year was held in January at the Las Vegas Regional, and since I do not want to steal D17's President Darwin Afdahl’s thunder (he will report on the board meeting in his April column), I will only say that the officers remain the same (for a complete listing of D17 Representatives and elected officers please see the back page of this issue of ScoreCard), and that we welcomed three new board members: Rod Bias, Phoenix; Robb Gordon, Arizona at Large; and John Scibelli, Las Vegas.

Our membership is growing, and this caused me to think: “How many players wonder what a district is?”

The ACBL consists of 25 geographical districts. We are District 17, and encompass the states of Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico, along with El Paso, Texas; Las Vegas, Nevada; Cheyenne & Laramie, Wyoming; and a tiny part of Eastern Utah. Our membership at the end of January, 2014 was 9257, which makes us ACBL’s third largest District; D9 (Florida) is number one, with 20,565 members, and D7 (North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Eastern Tennessee) is second, with 13,979 members.

The Western Conference

District 17 is fortunate to be a member of the Western Conference (WC), a coalition of D17, D21, & D22 which coordinates regional scheduling to avoid conflicts among the three districts and hosts the largest sectionals in ACBL, the hugely popular WC STACs, which provide funding for the monthly Contract Bridge Forum. The Forum is a valuable source of advertising for WC tournaments, and provides a venue for tournament results and pictures of winners, which puts faces to the names.

The WC’s roots predate ACBL. It all started with Tom Stoddard of Laguna Hills, California, known as the “Father of Bridge on the West Coast.” In 1933, he founded the Pacific Bridge League (PBL), which included the 11 far western states plus the territories (at that time) of Hawaii and Alaska and the Canadian Provinces of British Columbia and Alberta. Collaboration between ACBL and PBL started in 1940. The PBL became the Western Division in 1948, and Tom was named president emeritus of the ACBL Western Division. The Western Division became the Western Conference on January 1, 1956, when it merged with the ACBL. Quite a history!

District 17 Board

The D17 Board of Directors consists of 15 members representing the district’s 23 units: two members from Phoenix, one from Mesa, one from Tucson, one Arizona at Large, two from Denver, two Colorado at Large, one from Albuquerque, one New Mexico at Large, one from El Paso, one from Las Vegas, one Wyoming at Large, and the District Director (me), who is a voting ex-officio member. There are three D17 board meetings a year, the first is at the January regional (usually Albuquerque), the second alternates between the Denver Regional in May and the Las Vegas Regional in June, and the third is at the October regional (usually Phoenix). Schedules get shuffled when a North American Bridge Championship (NABC) is held in D17. Last year Tucson hosted the October regional due to the Fall Phoenix NABC, and this year the usual June Las Vegas Regional was held in January and the Albuquerque Regional moved to the end of February because of the July Summer Las Vegas NABC.

While the major function of the D17 Board is overseeing the district’s six (soon to be seven!) regionals, a mission statement was adopted June 23, 2012 stating that the board is to serve the diverse membership of our units under the authority of the ACBL. Our service includes, but is not limited to:

    • Partnering with our units to provide our members an excellent bridge experience through regional tournaments, special games, and grass roots events.
    • Coordinating regional and sectional tournaments to maximize game attendance.
    • Supporting active recruitment, mentoring, educational programs, and games for new players.
    • Exercising the fiduciary responsibility our members entrust to us with integrity in all financial transactions.
    • Supporting local charities as a respected member of the communities in our district.
    • Providing easily accessible, up-to-date information and communication through the Western Conference newspaper and district website,
    • Promoting a commitment to goodwill throughout our district.

(Many thanks to David Zapatka, former D17 representative from Mesa, Arizona, who spearheaded a campaign to adopt a mission statement.

Want to know more?

Please do not hesitate to contact me at 719 593-0205 or

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