Battle For Bats

Dear Cave and Bat Enthusiast,
You may find some interest in our new film, “Battle For Bats: Surviving White Nose Syndrome,” produced in partnership by the USDA Forest Service, Ravenswood Media,  and the National WNS Communication and Outreach Working Group. This 14 minute film focuses on bats as fascinating animals that are vital to our environment, the reality that we are rapidly losing millions of our bats to WNS, how state and federal agencies and NGOs are working together to combat the disease, and how to inspire the public to become involved in bat conservation and the fight against WNS. Please feel free to link or embed the film on your site and/or spread it through your listserves and social media. Our goal is to have this video shared as much as possible in order to get the word out about this devastating disease.   We appreciate your help in getting the word out about this film and WNS.  The recently updated video can be found at

Adopt A Tree Donors

Thank you to the many generous donors who have made the Adopt a Tree program possible.  Below is a list of donors and who they are honoring with the donation.  Click read-more for a complete list:


Suggestion Box

TRA/OTR Suggestion Box

There are many ideas for how to improve our organization. These ideas come from different sources and often never make their way to the correct recipient. If you have a suggestion you would like to submit, please consider which group it affects, and also consider any kind of fund raising that would be necessary to implement this suggestion. It’s possible that funds have already been allocated, but your recommendations will help.

I will track submissions and report on their results.

Click here to submit your suggestion


OTR 2013 Bonfire Lighting

20ft tall Flaming Beer Mug Sculpture

This year the OTR Bonfire lighting consisted of a 20' tall beer stein.  The design of the bonfire was that of Darrell Spence of the Dead Puppies Grotto.  Piror to the lighting, we had the "Introduction of the OTR Virgins" to set them on their quest for the weekend.  Here are a few shots of the 2013 OTR bonfire during construction up to the lighting ceremony. Click read-more to view the slide show.




Adopt A Tree Support

Once again, another fund-raising year flourishes thanks in large part to you, the donors and grottoes who have endowed the Adopt A Tree (AaT) program from its infancy and continue into the project's 3rd successful year. Already 15 trees are donated with more expected in the coming month ahead. We all benefit, and all of TRA membership are appreciative of the support.

Download this file (AdoptATree_092013.pdf)Adopt-a-Tree-Form.pdf[Information and form for donating to the Adopt-a-Tree program]155 Kb

Common Sense

(not Tom Paine's though) is defined by Merriam-Webster as, "sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts." Following are some simple understandings necessary in large gatherings such as OTR to ensure safety, harmony and adherence to West Virginia laws, and gemütlichkeit.

NO firearms. NO underage alcohol consumption. NO fireworks or sky (Chinese) lanterns. NO glass at sauna or river. NO parking where posted. NO pets. NO trash left behind. NO cameras in sauna/hot tub area. NO ID wrist-band ... no beer! Please wear your name tag. Be considerate with respect to noise after 11 PM.

Reprinted from the 2013 OTR Guide Book


OTR 2013 Schedule of Events

Click the read more below to see a draft copy of the schedule of events for OTR 2013.  This schedule will be included in the guide book and any changes will be listed in the Coot-n-Holler as in the past.  The schedule for specific contests will be available at the Contests trailer during OTR.


The 4th Annual OTR Amateur Wine Competition

Sunday, Forks of Cheat Winery Tent

An open field competition allowing for judging based on individual merits using a point system derived from five different criteria: Appearance, Aro-ma, Body, Taste and Finish. This system allows for diverse wines to be fairly judged against each other by our three-judge panel via a double blind tasting, The wines will be divided into two fields: 1) Traditional Grape Wine— any sweetness and 2) Fruit and Specialty Wines— any sweetness, including Meads.


OTR Caving — White Nose Syndrome (WNS) Update

It started innocently, moving from seasoned veteran to the novice. While the experienced caver was typically better versed on the subject, the reaction most often was the same by all; disbelief! Most everyone remembers this as the clamoring that took place in camp at the first OTR after confirmation in 2007 that White Nose Syndrome (WNS) was found in New York. As a result of this previously undescribed fungus Pseudogymno-aces destructans, formerly know as Geomyces destructans, a moratorium was placed on caving until further information could be developed. After 6 years and generously supported research the problem remains a very fluid issue and WNS is still on course to rank among the most destructive wildlife diseases to emerge in recent history. 



Volunteers are the backbone of our organization. They work hard and play even harder to facilitate improvements, both visible and invisible, throughout the year at designated work weekends, pre-OTR and, of course, throughout the event. There’s always something to do for an event of this magnitude, so why not take a couple of hours out of your OTR weekend to lend a hand? You will certainly be welcomed and you’ll come away with even more new friends at OTR! Here are several areas where you can assist:


Doo-Dah Parade - An OTR Tradition for 28 Years

What: A spectacle, for sure. Watch your fellow cavers at their "creative?" best parading around the main loop.

When: Saturday morning at 10 AM. Parade forms at the entrance gate.

Who: Anyone! Anything!

Why: Because they can.

Discussion: The Doo Dah parade began in 1986 at the suggestion of “that nice Bob Addis”, during the chairmanship of Dale Ibberson. It was inspired by the original Doo Dah parade held in Pasadena, CA in 1978. Our version is usually, but not necessarily, cave-related and frequently showcases entire grottos and crowd involvement. A "prize" is awarded by "judges" for unstated "criteria", especially outlandishness and crowd arousal. This year, a special "prize" will be awarded to the group exhibiting the best theme-related entry.


OTR Virgin Introduction

The idea that when attending your first OTR you are an OTR Virgin has grown over the years. Cavers have always had a special place for first timers. The first time you enter a cave, you get to be the one to push the passage that leads nowhere, you get the privilege of lead-ing everyone out of the cave through maze passages, and now it’s your first time at OTR. Don’t you want a chance to get to know what OTR is all about? Some of us have taken 20 or more years to learn this. Grottos, aren’t there OTR Virgins in your midst attending this year? Bring out your OTR Virgins to the induction ceremony Thursday evening at the bonfire (before the lighting), and no, you aren’t being sacrificed to the bonfire.

TRA Award Recipients for 2013

This years TRA Fellow Award recipients are: Dave Akers, Andy Celmer, Jim  Darracott, Jan Day, Larry Harnatkiewicz, Mike Mostardi, Warren Overholt, and Darrel Worsham.  A well deserving Mike Oatney, received the Robbie award this year.  Congratulations to everyone of the recipients, they have worked hard for this honor.  Nominations for the 2014 TRA Awards are being accepted now until March 1, 2014.  For more information and photos click read-more.



Oktoberfest Dinner Entertainment

This is a video of the dinner entertainment during one of the songs performed by Karl Lukitsch & Autobahnthe during the Oktoberfest celebration at OTR 2013.  The energetic members of the Dead Puppies Grotto provided the evenings entertainment to get everyone in the mood.  Click the read-more to view the video.


Willkommen to the 64th OTR!

Here we go again … another OTR! Seems like only yesterday I was listening to "New Waver Caver" in the pavilion at Alpine Shores with my wife, Amy, and our 7-month old son, Luke, on my back. Tempus fugit. For this, our 64th year, you can expect to find all your favorite activities in their usual places and some terrific improvements: a new and spectacular pavilion with a new floor, and the all-new COOTERS. 


A Milestone is Reached

Photo of Johnny Parsons with Magic Hat

It is a given that the sound system and lighting in the pavilion are, and have been, of professional caliber for many years. For this we owe thanks to Johnny Parsons and his crew who have kept us dancing for 20+ years. Johnny (photo), along with Harney, Debbie St Pierre, Rocky Parsons, Nick (at Nite), and GROSS Grotto members have set up and run sound for every band playing in the pavilion almost since we moved to 


The Wild Side

Brian Cunningham and Kim Byers welcome you to enjoy the beautiful Wild Side and River Stage areas. The bamboo loved the rain it received this year and appears to have flourished in spite of the damage it received during Superstorm Sandy’s unexpected blizzard. The floods subsided and the Wild Side crew was hard at work cleaning up the debris and making repairs. The native plant species are thriving and the crew has worked hard to create this little piece of heaven. Come relax and soak your feet in the foot pond and watch the butterflies. 


Buzz City - Band Aide Performance

Sunday night Buzz City will hold its third annual "Band Aide" performance at the Med Tent immediately following the awards ceremony. A jar will be passed around, with collected proceeds going towards First Aid expenses to care for OTR attendees. Come on over, enjoy the sounds of Buzz City and support those who support you! This year Buzz City would like to dedicate their performance to Gary Hubberd, a veteran Buzz City supporter!


Oktoberfest: A History of Gemutlichkeit

This could be a long story about the origins of Munich’s annual celebration commemorating the marriage of Bavaria’s Prince Ludwig and Saxony’s Princess Theresa. However, doing so would take time from your total OTR experience so we’ll make it brief.


Children's Activities

We’re glad you made this OTR a family event.  Please join us for some activities geared toward the littlest cavers.


The Poster Contest pickup and drop off is located at the TAFO campsite. Craft supplies will be available for use during the children’s activities scheduled below. The posters will be judged on Sunday. Children’s Speleo- Olympics are run at the discretion of the judges. Please check the contest trailer for more information. 


Zip-line Jousting

Jousting is an ancient sport of skill and concentration requiring exact eye-hand coordination while riding upon a galloping steed. Since we don’t have an abundance of horses in our stables, Old Timers Jousting has a little more of a caver flair, using many of the same skills as you charge forward toward your goal. In lieu of an equine mount, you’ll strap yourself into a zip line harness with the able assistance of serf Terry Zorn and fly through the trees to your target. Guaranteed to be as much a spectator event as it will be for participants.



OTRberfest officially kicks off with the tapping of the Festbier immediately after the Brewers' forum at COOTERS, at ~1:30PM. Reserved seating for pavilion dining and live polka music for all begins at 4:45 PM. Fest contests begin around 2 PM in the grassy area in front of the shower house. Check the Fest Contests bulletin board at COOTERS for updates, rules, attire, etc.

1) Maßkrug Holding "Steindurance" - Hold a filled 1L stein at arm's length for time. Heats held at COOTERS Sat. afternoon and at each of the fest's sit-down dinners; finals at Sun. eve awards event. Separate men/women contests.

2) St. Pauli Girl Stein Race (Mugs & Jugs) - Carry filled steins over a short but challenging distance for time and delivery. Saturday afternoon near shower house. Open to all women and men in women's clothing.

3) Keg Bowling - Knock pins over with kegs. Ongoing. Open to all comers.


Member Access

Important Dates

For 2013

Mar 1: Deadline for Award Nominations

Mar 1: Deadline for New Grant Requests

Mar 23: Spring TRA Board Mtg

July 4: Volunteer signup for Gate & Sauna

Jul 18: OTR 2013 Information Update sent to Grottos

Jul 26: Pre-registration goes live (or earlier)

Jul 31: Last day for new TRA Memberships and Upgrades

Aug 18: Pre-registration ends

Sep 2: Fall Board Mtg