The Old Timers Reunion (OTR) is the largest annual gathering of cavers (people who share a common interest in caves, caving and underground exploration) in the United States. This annual event occurs once a year at the TRA campground in West Virginia. The first reunion was held in 1950, at the Worden Hotel in Davis, West Virginia, making this event over 60 years old. Besides providing the opportunity for caving in the area, the organization strives to educate attendees about proper safety techniques, geology of the area, conservation and speleology. The event held in Davis, WV was first organized to honor Felix Robinson, one of the Old Time NSS Cavers. During this event Forty-five cavers attended, but over the years, this number quickly grew due to the event’s popularity. During our 50th reunion in 1999 our attendance reached 2,400 cavers.
Prior to 1978, the organization and operation of the OTR was handled by disassociated crews. Every couple years the operation passed to a new chairperson(s) who managed all aspects of the reunion. As caving became more popular the attendance at OTR increased and it became necessary to institute some formal structure. A non-profit organization named The Robertson Association (TRA) was formed, named after Robbie Robertson who initiated and ran the original reunions. This organization is governed by a group of members consisting of prior OTR Chairs. The group of life-time trustees now handle the financial problems, legal matters, organization and various other invisible but necessary jobs so that the old and disassociated may still enjoy the event.
Each time a new OTR Chair is seated, the Board grows by one new member. Likewise, as the group ages and changes, some Trustees drop out. In addition to the life-term Trustees, the Board now also recognizes four Trustees who are elected by TRA members. They serve two years each, with two of the positions being elected every year. The combination of Trustees provides for history and continuity, as well as for change.