UPDATE: 2020 HBMO Date Change

2020 HBMO Date Change Announcement
(IMPORTANT UPDATE 6/17/20)

2020 has been a year for the history books. As an organization, the Hunter Burton Memorial (HBM) was poised to bring together the largest gathering of our family and community yet. To roll out our new “Kindness in the Community” initiative for game stores across the country and hold for the first time in our seven years a second HBM Open event in a single year. Just like many, we looked forward to 2020 being a year that we could have the largest positive impact yet.

Instead, as everyone knows, this year had its own ideas about what would take place. It has caused change across the world and ended businesses, jobs, and precious lives. It has added to the mental health crisis we fight so hard against. It has left people across the world struggling. It has caused an insurmountable and unforgettable loss.

In addition, in a recent fire, both of the HBM motorcycles (painted to depict Hunter, his sister, and Hunter’s favorite Magic the Gathering art) were lost. Thankfully, nobody was injured, but while these were just “physical belongings,” they were very sentimental to the Burton family and our organization. Losing them is “icing on the cake” so to speak for HBM in 2020.

As painful as this year has been so far however, there has been greatness. While a pandemic slowed us all to a halt, a fight against hundreds of years of systemic racism emerged and took center stage. A new movement for equality that will forever be remembered and make a positive impact. A fight we truly believe in and stand beside. As an organization that prides itself in being open and safe for everyone, we are proud to say enough is enough, it’s time for a change. We stand with you in the fight against injustice.

… And that brings me to the main reason for this announcement, our 2020 HBMO. At this time, please understand we want to be very transparent and honest.

Back in March, like everyone, we were riding the waves of learning what COVID-19 was. We had no more knowledge than anyone else and were forced to make decisions based on what our gut said was best for the community and the safety of everyone involved. Based on pressure from the facility to not cancel completely, we made the decision to move to August. This was not our first choice, but with limited options available in scheduling at that time, it was the only choice we had.

Now, being just over six weeks away from our rescheduled event we are at yet another crossroads. We have spoken to our team, had discussions with our volunteers, and spoken to our judge staff. We have opened discussions with sponsors and partners over the last week and taken all the feedback to heart about what they truly feel is best for safety.

With that said, we are sad to announce that we are cancelling the 2020 HBMO. This has been one of the most painful decisions we have ever had to make, but comes solely from a place of love and desire to protect our community and the HBM family.

We essentially had three options… 1.) Run the event in August. 2.) Move to end of September. 3.) Cancel and move on to our 2021 event. Here is why we made this choice:

  • Run the event on August 7-9:
    Until yesterday, we still planned to move forward with this option but while there are many unknowns about what the scope of the pandemic will look like come August, one thing is certain… it won’t be any safer. While businesses reopen and the state of Texas moves forward to being fully open, we must still understand that playing interactive games in a massive crowd (even with PPE and extreme sanitary measures) is just not safe at this time. While many of our volunteers said they would still help out, we must make sure that what we ask isn’t putting anyone’s life in jeopardy. Our mission after all is to save lives. While our cause of suicide prevention and awareness is needed today more than ever, putting people at risk is not the way to go about it.
  • Move to the end of September
    This was strongly considered however in addition to the unknown safety concerns, and being on the cusp of flu season, there were additional concerns. As an organization we are 100% funded through donations. Small businesses and gaming giants alike help make our event something attendees will enjoy. The donations from our attendees help us work towards our goals of community impact programs. Companies in the gaming industry are dealing with intense financial hardships and the short of it is, having our event in September would mean many of our sponsors and major contributors would not be able to be involved in our 2021 event (with only 5 months to prepare and already facing hardships.) If circumstances at that time were still not safe and another cancelation was necessary, it could cause even more financial issues and safety concerns for HBM and the organizations that so graciously make our event happen each year.
  • Cancel 2020 and move forward to 2021
    Ultimately this decision made the most sense for both the health and safety of the HBM family and the continued health of the organization and its contributors. We can use donations from our 2020 event towards next year, making sure it’s still an amazing event. We can also rest easy at night knowing that we feel good about putting our HBM family’s safety above all else.

We are now shifting focus to 2021 and locking in our date. The plan is March like always but with so many events being shuffled around, facility scheduling is even more difficult than normal. We hope and expect to have a new date announcement by the July 4th holiday.

In addition, we have some truly awesome, special things coming for you soon. Including ways of getting your hands on one of those amazing Limited 2020 HBMO sequentially numbered Retro 51 pens and/or one of those highly coveted HBMO dice for 2020 (yes, those both exist!)

Now, I know you have questions and while I can’t answer everything just yet I do want to address the elephants in the room:

1 – REFUNDS (Attendees)
If you would like a refund please email your refund request to HunterBurtonMO@Gmail.com no later than end of business (5:00pm CST) on July 3rd, 2020. PLEASE NOTE THIS IS THE ONLY WAY A REFUND WILL BE PROCESSED (no Facebook messages or posts will work.) All refunds will be processed no later than July 12th, 2020.
If you choose not to refund, your entry will automatically rollover to cover your full 2021 entrance.

2 – SPONSORS
All sponsors will have their 2020 contributions rolled over to the 2021 event. We thank each of the amazing companies and businesses that have supported us and been patient with us through this process.

Statements from our team:

“This has been one of the most difficult decisions we have ever made in the history of this organization. On one hand our passion compels us to hold this event, bring our HBM family together, and show support and unity at a time the world needs it more than ever. On the other hand, it’s our responsibility to look out for that community and simply do the right thing. Protecting the safety and wellbeing of our community, our HBM family is always the most important thing. As sad as we are to cancel, know it comes from a place of love and dedication to our cause, our community and everyone that believes in this organization.” – Erin Giddings – Director of Event Operations

“The HBMO is my favorite event each year and it’s gut-wrenching to make this decision. I can’t wait to return to Texas and run a safe, amazing event and see the faces of everyone I enjoy once again. I know in 2021 we can make that happen for all involved.”
Joe Klopchic – Tournament Coordinator & Event Manager

“We didn’t want to cancel, but the safety of our players, volunteers and staff is the most important thing to us. It’s not going to put a damper on our mission to save lives and create change. We are more committed now than ever to making a positive impact and bringing awareness to suicide!”
– Dona Burton – Founder & Treasurer

We have many details to work out and we’ll be making major announcements in the coming days about both what will happen over the next 8 months and what will be happening with our 2021 event. In the meantime, we appreciate your support and patience. We can’t wait to see you in 2021!!

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