Goodbye to All That

A (mostly) fond farewell to the ‘old’ IHRA

Packed away in a closet full of old stuff are a couple of ugly yellow "IHRA Drag Review" shirts with my name on them. Also packed away, in plastic crates, are a lot of IHRA Drag Review magazines with my name in them. I worked for IHRA, I've written extensively about IHRA and I have a lot of fond memories of IHRA and the people I met there. Alas, the IHRA I knew took its last breath this past weekend. While that's a shame, it's not a shock. It was, as we say in Virginia, "time." 

Some anonymous person in the office misspelled my name on my 1997 ID card. The facial hair was my mistake.

As the "old" IHRA fades away, it's only natural to rage against the dying of the light. The interwebs are currently abuzz with people doing exactly that. But for all the wailing and moaning about the "death" of the organization we once knew, it's worth noting that the patient wasn't doing terribly well. It's kind of a wonder the poor thing lasted this long.

In the beginning, IHRA scared NHRA -- it was that good. But over the last couple of decades, it's gone from serious competitor to minor annoyance. The organization has changed hands more times than an antique vase and moved around like an office temp with an attitude problem. Stupid decisions were made -- some by people who meant well and others by people who were genuinely stupid. Finding sponsors was hard and, in a couple of cases, getting them to pay up was harder still. IHRA sometimes ran national events at sub-standard facilities -- including at least one that had little in the way of indoor plumbing. Frankly, IHRA sometimes looked like, to quote one former co-worker, "a monkey f*cking a football." But that was part of its goofy charm.