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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After going back and forth through the Spectators thread I began to realize a more important issue than the spectator issue. The issue is, without organizers and volunteers there is no rally point blank. Now when we lost the SCCA (for better or worse)we in a sense (not exaclty literal because many scca people still work rallys) we lost a huge pool of talented organizers, voluteers, and regional support networks. So how are we as a rally community planning for the future of events? Buffum is Maine forest rally, how long can we count on that? Kim Demotte is 100 acre wood but is there a plan for when Kim is gone? Mike Bodnar runs snodrift but he lives in Ohio and can we really expect him to run things forever? Now let me make this 100% completely clear, I am in no way shape or form critiquing the effort of these organizers I have just named. Nor should anyone infer or suggest that these aforementioned people no longer have the desire or motivation or skill to run the events they have been involved with. I am merely asking the question "who i going to take over when they are gone?". Maybe there is a plan that I am not privy to, maybe there are young organizers waiting in the wings but I am concerned. How do we insure the survival of regional events and nationals for that matter when they operate on a barely break even financial model that depends on healthy infusions of good will, good luck, and volunteer workers? As I mentioned in the other thread I looked at organizing a turn-key event (basically none of the organizational issues of a new event but rather I would only have to act as a care-taker) and I just could not get it to make sense financially. Can we honestly expect people to continue to donate their time and money just because they love the sport? I hope so but without some serious thinking and planning I am afraid that we are painting ourselves into a corner. SO I WILL ASK THE QUESTION WHAT IS THE CONTINGENCY PLAN FOR THE INEVITABLE?
 

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There is no contingency plan....expceto go to the local dirt track if the sky falls in.

If the sport is put on by the goodwill of enthusiasts, and the excitement stays there, there will be something on-going. The sport existed before SCCA Pro Rally series: in the midwest in the form of the fast TSD's in MI (POR started back in the 60's, maybe the 50's?) and the ORC (Ohio Rally Championship) for example. Some of those dissappeared, but we have more events now than anytime I can recall.

Some event histories:

On the discouraging side:
Sunriser and Tulip (dissappeared for good probably)
Chattahoochee went away with a change in US Forest Ranger
Northern Lights dissappeared, as did Lac Vieux and Marquette
ORC is gone

ON the encouraging side:
100 AW dissappeared for over 10 years and then came back
STPR has kept on trucking with many changes in leaders over the years
Ditto for Ojibwe
POR was picked up from the Detroit region by some UP enthusiasts and continued as LSPR
Sandhills came and went and came back
Cadillac/Manistee came and went and is coming back
Maine is relatively new and has had a hiatus or 2
Black River is revived under new management
Rally New York has come out of nowhere
CT was new in 2001, and now Rally TN has come

I have made this list up off the top of my head, and after pausing and counting, the pluses outnumber the minues.

Now, IF you are making a pure business calculation, then one can't get comfort out of the situation. But, auto racing has never fallen into the catagory of a 'stable, long term' market, like utilities or beer. So, looking at this as a solid biz bet is not wise. (And if one enters the rally sales or rally car biz, one had best make it a PART of a wider operation, IMO.)

As far as making $$ on event ops, you are right: it is not money making. But then again neither is volunteering for Habitat for Humanity or ringing a Slavation Army bell at Christmas time. Yet these efforts just keep on and on. Folks do that because they believe in it, and it works long term.

I'm not any more worreid about the long term prospects for US rallying than anytime in the past 20 years.....

Regards,
Mark B.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Mark I have do not think that the events need to turn a profit merely cover the costs. Break even would be fine, I am not in a panic but since it was on the top of my mind I thought it shoudl come up for discussion.
 

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>Once I retire from competition, I'd like to organize an
>event.

Christian:

They do not have to be serial activities.

As a competitor, I learned a lot about how a rally should be organized. And vice-versa.

And you usually need to have done both to have a good perspective as a Steward.

Doug Woods
 

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>Once I retire from competition, I'd like to organize an
>event.
>
>- Christian
>
>Bjorn Christian Edstrom
>www.christianedstrom.com


You helped run Maine Winter and did an awesome job. Event ran very smoothly.
 

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>You helped run Maine Winter and did an awesome job. Event ran
>very smoothly.

The event was very good, but I deserve no credit. I was just the safety steward; the event operations were handled by Marc Goldfarb, Mark Everett, John Buffum, and their capable cast of volunteers.

- Christian

Bjorn Christian Edstrom
www.christianedstrom.com
 

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>They do not have to be serial activities.

Fair enough; I should have said, "once my competition schedule lessens somewhat." In 2006, I'll be taking 40 days off work and spending 60 days away from home, competing.

I cannot realistically take off any more time to devote to rallying in the coming year, and expect to keep my job and my happy marriage! ;)

- Christian

Bjorn Christian Edstrom
www.christianedstrom.com
 

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Hi Jeff,

Let's define something further to have useful discussion: What is 'break-even', and what costs are included in that term?

Costs that could be included in the equation:
- All travel expenses to and from the event site for all event related activites (as they are normally counted in expenses in regular business)
- All out-of-pocket expenses involved with the event including phone calls, paper, etc.
- And, how far would the above extend? To the prime organizers only? To all workers??

So does your 'break-even' include any of that (like a standard business operating under IRS rules) or do all those expenses just get contributed by organizers and workers? (I suspect that very little of this is ever counted as rally expenses; in the biz world, this would be labeled as 'investment' (informally as time capital or human capital) if it were ever counted at all. I would like to know what organizers count what as expenses against their rally income.)

My very limited knowledge and impression is that only major outlays of expenses get counted: Routebook printing, supps printing, mailing, banner tape and stakes, stage note fees and printing, some room rentals, road use fees, insurance, etc. My impression is that the rest comes from the personal largess of the organizers. (OBTW, we're helping with an event now, and don't count a nickel of our own $$ for gas, vehicle expense, time expenses, etc., to go check out roads and so forth.)

Even if this is all that is counted, some events don't meet event that 'break-even' definition. So, some generous persons see this as a worthwhile thing to do, with its rewards. That certainly opens the idea that people are going to walk away after they reach a point where the personal contributions don't seem worth it, or their personal circumstances change in some way. So, some will walk away, but remember, we don't live as one generation; the populace is an fairly even continuum of people reaching various stages of life and personal financial levels, who gain new interests, and we seem to get new folks time and time again. Maybe it is a corollary of PT Barnum's 'There's a fool born every minute.'.....we get someone new into organizing on a regular basis. (not to imply anyone is a fool for organizing!) A lot is due to personal interest and enthusiasm, and is the same thing that brings new competitors along and keeps many existing one coming back for more punishment to their wallets.

Regards, and forgive the tedious post.....
Mark B.
 

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>Even if this is all that is counted, some events don't meet
>event that 'break-even' definition. So, some generous persons
>see this as a worthwhile thing to do, with its rewards. That
>certainly opens the idea that people are going to walk away
>after they reach a point where the personal contributions
>don't seem worth it, or their personal circumstances change in
>some way. So, some will walk away, but remember, we don't live
>as one generation; the populace is an fairly even continuum of
>people reaching various stages of life and personal financial
>levels, who gain new interests, and we seem to get new folks
>time and time again.

>Regards, and forgive the tedious post.....
>Mark B.

Mark is dead on, EVERY organization/community that is based upon a personal interest/activity is promulgated upon this very natural process. Individuals and concerned entities give till it bleeds because they care about the issue, or share intrest, or seek personal gain. The latter lasts the shortest time, the other two are the life blood of any movement.

Be it the VFW, Lions Club, Vol. Fire Dept, Political party, Religious organization, school club, and I guess rally organizer, frets over the same things. Where are the people going, where are we going to get new ones, and how do we raise money to keep the great cause going.

My experiance in this regard has proved the following to me:

1. Old guard always step up for as long as they can, often beyond, and sometimes for too long causing a stale dead effort. Instead of letting the thing die and be reborn by the next generation.

2. Young people are often chased away from any cause by the old guard with the mantra of...
" We tried that before./It will not work/You can't do it because..."

Between the 2 survival and growth are found.

To survive longterm all organizations need to, provide a dynamic program and the people will come. Do not beat down the new people with prejudice but encourage them and guide them. Expunge negativity (we're declining/over) and replace it with positive but realistic efforts.

Lastly, loose this attitude:

"CONTINGENCY PLAN FOR THE INEVITABLE"

Your not as big as the sport, it will survive your discourgment and loss of interest.

Bernie
 

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Mark said:
>Costs that could be included in the equation:
>- All travel expenses to and from the event site for all event
>related activites (as they are normally counted in expenses in
>regular business)
>- All out-of-pocket expenses involved with the event including
>phone calls, paper, etc.

You could also include:
-banking fees
-annual legal incorporation/llc fees
-internet domain name fees
-web site hosting fees
-ink

>- And, how far would the above extend? To the prime organizers
>only? To all workers??

The day of the rally, everyone gets "paid" by just being there and having fun. (and for many workers, a T shirt and lunch) Divide everything else equally by effort invested. This would generally mean that the primary organizers get everything. If an organizer puts in 600 hours and someone else puts in two, that's clearly one guy doing all the work.

All this talk about how to split up the money makes it sounds like these events make money.... HA! *grin*

Anders
 

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To quote YOU from another post...

"...You have a mouse. You have a finger. Don't click on any of my posts, and you won't have to read them."


:D :D
 

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Someone mentioned the "old guard", which around our Region are affectionately referred to as the "crusty old farts club". LOL

Of course, those that say that do it with the highest respect.

There is an issue though with those that HAVE run the events for the longest time with those that are coming in wanting to help.

It's more than "we've tried that, it doesn't work". There seems to be a sense that "nobody new can POSSIBLY have anything useful to add" versus the endless concern that the long spent current organizers are burning (or burnt) out completely.

Every region has the same issues. Not just Rally either. From Solo to Club to Pro to Rally... One of the biggest issue with an all volunteer organization is the politial power struggle.

To that end a little recognition from the old guard to the young lions would go a LONG way into molding both groups into growth potential. Give a little and we'll get A LOT in return.

Also, in the issue of MONEY...

I think planning on and taking the position that BREAKING EVEN is our goal is FLAWED thinking to begin with.

We, as organizers, are asking promoters, sponsors, businesses, racers, etc... to INVEST in our Program while telling them our BEST GOAL is to break even?

Motorsports is a BUSINESS and absolutely NO business would go into an endeavor wihtout plans to make a profit. Those plans show OTHERS that would work with you that you have a GOAL. That you are motivated. That your program has LIFE.

That energy translates DIRECTLY to enthusiasm and effective promotion.

That, in tern, gets businesses and supporterd EXCITED about what you are doing and get's THEIR creative juices flowing.

This creates synergy and opportunities for the supporting partners to realize a PROFIT from doing business with the program and thus helps the program GROW by providing continual and growing financial support.

NOBODY wants to support a stangnent and dying project. Even "for the competitors" or other such noble recitals.

If we WANT support, we have to SHOW support. We have to start thinking like a BUSINESS.

I've been saying for years that the promotion and financial ability to GROW the sport is out there... there are ways to make moeny for the program even if nobody ever sees a Rally Car. Marketing is about relationships... PROFITABLE relationships.

Spectators need not be on the side of the road to be counted.

Businesses will get behind a program with life.

We need to change our fundamental attitude of negativity and mediocre performance and start practicing what we believe...

Rally is the most exciting and most extreme motorsport on the Planet and you're STUPID if you're not addicted to it!!!

There ARE ways... the first of which is to start thinking growth and profit.

It's okay to.

Scott
------
 

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-- POSTED ON BEHALF OF PETE SOPER --

Since I lost my cookies that let me log onto SS, I haven’t been posting there, (and that’s probably a good thing sometimes) but a couple of comments on the thread Jeff started I felt a need to respond to, since I have you in my address book, you guys are the lucky recipients!



This is the one that I kind of choked on;

“Mark is dead on, EVERY organization/community that is based upon a personal interest/activity is promulgated upon this very natural process. Individuals and concerned entities give till it bleeds because they care about the issue, or share intrest, or seek personal gain. The latter lasts the shortest time, the other two are the life blood of any movement.”

I would firmly disagree with that statement “Personal Gain” motives don’t last- What planet has he been living on? Tell that to Bill Gates, Bernie Ecclestone or the France Family- they had visions for a self-sustaining, growing, profitable ventures and guess what- they, and thousands of other entrepreneurs across the country and around the world are all proving every day that such visions can be brought to fruition.


”Be it the VFW, Lions Club, Vol. Fire Dept, Political party, Religious organization, school club, and I guess rally organizer, frets over the same things. Where are the people going, where are we going to get new ones, and how do we raise money to keep the great cause going.”



In this day in age he’s probably correct that volunteer based organizations are having a rough time of it- but it’s been over a year now- and in case anyone has forgotten, our cherished Non-profit all-volunteer sanctioning body- SCCA doesn’t “do” rally anymore.



And I really don’t think that the principals of RA are doing it out of their love for the sport, although that is a factor, I think they took it over with a vision of seeing the sport and their involvement in it growing into a profitable venture, much like ARSG and others did in initiating NASA Rallysport, now almost 10 years ago.



Rallyists need to recognize that- the reality we are faced with is that we no longer have a volunteer/club/hobby outlet for our driving aspirations, rather we now have a couple of competing sanctioning bodies both trying to have a go at making Rally a viable venture- above and beyond one weekend a year which was about the scope of vision most of the SCCA organizers were willing to commit to (not all- mind you, and maybe not even technical majority, but with very few exceptions one per year was all I saw any organizers taking on- not that I’m complaining about that- it is about what we should expect in a volunteer/non-profit club model of operation).



So I would suggest that comparisons to the VFW, Lions, etc. are no longer valid, we should be looking instead to NHRA, Nascar, Supercross and other groups that are building, promoting, and running successful and I might add PROFITABLE motorsports endeavors, not that we need to “be like” them, but rather because we have a lot to learn about building a successful program in the USA from what they have done on their way to becoming what they are today.



I’ll admit that there were elements in SCCA that had such a vision, but they were struggling with the volunteer/club aspects of the club and often that conflicted with what they were trying to do, just ask Jens Larson how much he supported Spitzner’s vision (OK, so don’t ask him- we already know how he feels).



The new blood is out there, not everyone in the “new guard” is under 30 but many of us “older-new guard” are relatively new to the sport and many of us have solid visions of it growing beyond the backwoods fetish that most of the US still sees as Rally- and we are out there working with other organizers, and both sanctioning bodies- (some from the “old guard”-) who also share this vision.



7 years ago I didn’t even know there was any performance rally in the US, Next year I will be Clerk of Course for the Laughlin International Rally, and I will be working with the RA folks on the Reno Rallies, so we are out there and we’re coming up through the ranks as time goes on.



Don’t get me wrong- I’m not disregarding the need for “club” level events, both sanctioning bodies are supporting events at all levels and as long as either (actually I’d prefer to see both) are successful, we should continue to have plenty of options for participants to engage in the sport at the level of their interest.



That’s my take on it anyway.



-Pete Soper



SFR Rally chief

VP TRC

Clerk of Course Laughlin International Rally 2006
 

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>...just ask Jens Larson how much he supported
>Spitzner’s vision (OK, so don’t ask him- we already know how
>he feels).


Don't bring up me if you don't want me to comment.

Spitzner's "vision" was to eliminate everyone from ProRally other than a few factory and wealthy private teams. He planned to do this by raising the licensing fees into the multiple thousands to price out all but the rich. Meanwhile using the venues, volunteers, and resources that were already in place for ALL levels of competitors. He didn't want to tell anyone, because as he told me, "The time isn't right." I didn't imagine this. He told me so directly.

You're d*mn right I didn't support his subterfuge!

Jens Larsen
Flying Kiwi Racing
 
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