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The Official Rockford "Post Mortem" Thread, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (cue music)
MikeCarruth
post Jun 22 2009, 01:05 AM
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With Rockford "ZeroĽNine" now in the history books, and the Saturday night hangovers now (mostly) faded, I wanted to start a thread to hear from people on what they liked about this year's event, what they thought could use change or improvement for 2010, and anything they felt was a total train wreck. The only way to improve is to hear the hard critique, and I can take it.

All in all, looking at the whole event with a critical eye (The "Whole event" in this case spanning from the Thursday Night Hooters Bro-Down, to the bitter end of the raffle on Saturday Night), I felt it went very well.

I'll post my list incrementally over the coming days (as I have a fairly long list of improvement tweaks, both for the public-facing side, and the behind-the-scenes).

Looking forward to seeing the feedback, and starting to work on Rockford 2010 come Tuesday morn.

Best,

M
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MikeCarruth
post Jun 22 2009, 02:59 AM
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First, and foremost, A BIG personal thanks goes out to: Lyn Carruth, Jake & Candy Karau, BA Anderson, Joey Sears, Kevin Russell, Shannon Gillette, Juan Mattos, Ed Ferri, Todd Lyons and Brett Downs, gOrk, Bill Ryan, Derek Betcher, Greg Leisure, Jason Bender, Ed Nowdomski, Bret Schroeder, Rick Kast, Cody Kenyon, John Freewalt, Tim Keys, Wyatt Keys, Jake Moeller, , Jeff & Cindee Moeller, Cash Matthews, Bill Curtin, Owen Scheppman, Ron Wilkerson, Stu Thomsen, Dwight Hopfauf and Christine Lunz at the Clocktower, George Costa at Rennen Design, Mike Peterson, Paul Smith, TONE, Darren at Sign Outlet, John Geiger, John DeBruin, , Mark Schneider at SOT Screenprinting, and everyone else who asked "Do you need any help...can I do anything?" throughout the weekend.


A few off my "Good" List

This was the first year we added the Site Supporter Breakfast, and the Friday Night "Chill" session. I was very gratified to hear the tremendous outpouring of support and props on those two events. I brought them in with no clear idea of WHAT, exactly, the structure would be...but two great guests (Owen Scheppman from Zeronine, and Ron Wilkerson) carried the event with amazing "insider" stories that ranged from "Garage Startup" accounts of hand-cutting newly printed numberplate numbers by hand as a family affair, to personal despair, then re-genesis after a life-changing injury (well, a few of them, actually).

I think that, in years to come, the "events" will become just as much a part of the Rockford experience as the show, itself. I like the fact that we can honor guests in the Freestyle, Racing and Industry sectors, so we do not have to wait til next year, for example, to hear from a freestyler at the banquet. The intimate setting of the Chill Session was a great opportunity to do just that...chill with Ron Wilkerson. And, it seems, attendees did just that...til 2AM in some cases, which is a beautiful thing!

The "Talk Show" format for the Saturday Night Banquet worked very well, I thought. Again, this was mostly owing to a great host in Cash Matthews, and a rich-in-great-stories guest in Stu. In watching the exchange from the back of the room, you really got a sense that you were watching a very frank discussion, and were hearing a horse's-mouth recounting of what actually went down way back when. That was, precisely, what I was hoping would happen, and I am proud of the job those guys did.

Though it was an expensive and labor intensive task for the organizer, the color-coded and specially-numbered (by class) hang tags for the bikes seemed to make the voting easier and more accurate, as the people voting did not have to try to discern, from the bikes alone, what class the bike should be in. We only had a handful of ballots where the member voted twice for the same bike...or voted for a bike in the wrong category. The "series numbers" (100 for best 80s, 200 for Best Freestyle, etc) made it easy to spot those errors and toss out those votes (without having to trash the whole ballot).

I liked the convenience of all events being at the Clocktower. It made it simple and safe for all. Overall, I feel the Clocktower staff did a great job of accommodating us in both the sleeping rooms, and the banquet operations (though I do have some points for improvement vis a vis the Clocktower in my other section).

For all the hoo-ha around it when we first introduced the concept, I think the assigned spaces worked well (both from an organizer's perspective, and an attendee). It provided a degree of certainty for people so they did not have to get up a 4AM to get their spot, and eliminated the member-on-member conflicts we'd seen in previous years (right?). We will look at a better method for people to secure two spaces if needed...however, we could not have accommodated that this year, as we were at capacity, with a waiting list.

I liked the addition of the "Survivor" "Custom" and "Open" classes. The "Open" class, especially, allows us to offer inroads into the community for people who's collection starts at Gary Ellis rather than Gary Littlejohn.

The weather sucked on Thurs/Friday, and provided plenty of stress for all who wondered "is this show going to happen?" It felt good to have a contingency plan for bringing the show indoors if necessary. It felt exceedingly better to wake up Saturday morning and see a crisp, clear sunny day outside my window.

I know a few of you felt the scheduling was too strict, and for that I apologize. It was not easy to "lock out" those few final ballots that came in after 2:30, and I did not do it as some kind of neo-anal exercise. I had nearly 1000 votes to key in by hand (107 ballots, each with 10-13 individual entires) and tally by 4PM. The database i developed to handle the tally worked flawlessly, with my nephew Jake calling out the numbers to me, as I keyed them in, providing an added layer of accuracy. It felt good to have a schedule to follow.

We had a great photo session on Friday, and I thank the Clocktower for letting us use the room from 12PM - 5PM free of charge. John Geiger did a great job of working with the members, and I know his product will make us all proud. I'd like to see more photos taken next year. Maybe on Sunday morning for the winning bikes???

A few off the "Room For Improvement" list.

We did what I promised we would not...take up large amounts of time with the small raffle items. I wanted to have a "YOU WON!" board for the smaller items, and only announce the larger items from the stage. We just ran out of time.

There needs to be vigorous, open and frank debate here on the board about the class requirements. What constitutes, or requires a bike to be categorized as a "custom" and so forth. There were some points brought to me throughout the weekend which had merit, though no formal protests were ultimately made. Still, my job as organizer is to ensure a structure is in place so that bikes are registered in the proper category (whatever the requirements may be) in the first place. That said, ALL bikes that won awards this year did so within the rules, and, again, free of formal protest. On that basis, their achievement should not be questioned or tainted in any way, and a hearty, congratulatory handshake should be extended to all holding the 2009 hardware.

We had some problems with our room at the Clocktower (most of which, they remedied on day two). I would love to hear from others who stayed there to know how their room was, and if it met the standard of a property of that pricepoint. We have to balance any issues against the convenience of having all facilities in one location. I'm sure, if we tried hard enough, we could find better banquet, hotel, entertainment and restaurant facilities in individual places on the map...but not all under one roof. The peace of mind of being able to have a good ol time at the banquet or bar, then walk up to the room rather than drive across town cannot be overstated.

We need to start the Saturday Night banquet later next year. I think 8PM would be a better start time. This allows people to get back from the show/race, grab a shower and a change of clothes, and allows the organizer some time to get things set up properly. This year, there was 45 mins between me getting back to the hotel and the "official" start of the banquet. The hotel staff let people in to the ballroom prematurely, thus we had to ask people to go out and come back in again to check in. An 8PM start would have cured those problems.

In starting later, we'll tighten up the program a bit, so there is not so much dead time at the end of the evening pulling the raffle (as stated above). It should be an exciting time...not a "watching paint dry" experience.

I HATE Hooters food and, basically, the place in general. I realize there is more going on than the food, but at this stage of their evolution, you can find friendlier females at the local woman's reformatory. The waitstaff spent more time chatting up their boyfriends than taking care of our table, and many of us waited far too long for drinks to be brought, sometimes having to re-order twice to make it happen. I'd love to see us move that Thursday night gather to somewhere else (not the Tiger Tail (IMG:style_emoticons/default/tongue.gif) ). They have a BDs Mongolian Barbecue on State Street now, and that place RULES!! If it is unbreakable tradition at this point, so be it, I'll deal.

We need an official photographer for the weekend. Someone who's actual job it is to get photos of all events, honorees, etc. Also, perhaps, a rotating 'blogger" of sorts, who is responsible for posting updates each day from Weds-Sun. Thanks to those of you who did post updates and photos!


Goin to bed (again) now. More later. Hope to see some of your comments when i return.

Best,

M
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BIRD6961
post Jun 22 2009, 03:53 AM
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mike thanks again 4 everything the only thing i have to bring up is how a 24 trickstar wins best cruiser shouldnt that have been custom? no real biggie to me and i no u cant look at every entry. about the hotel our hotel room was awesome besides getting lost in the hallways a few times it was great i hope we can do it again next year. mike is there any way to find out how many people actually voted for my bike. thanks again 4 everything and hey u are racing next year right (IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif)
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STRIKE
post Jun 22 2009, 05:14 AM
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The midwest loves bmx magazines and photos.

I'm from Minnesota and I think I can vouch for most of us Rockford midwesterners when I say that we all grew up getting ALL of our BMX (and freestyle) information directly from magazines. We were literally photo junkies. We would sit and not only memorize but analyze each article and picture until the next issue came out. Magazines were our only real window into the lives of our favorite BMX stars, so we LOVE pictures and we LOVE to hear the background behind famous pictures.

That being said, I was a bit disappointed when the I saw the slideshow fire up, but wasn't able to really get any context to the pictures. The last few years, I found that the slideshow, along with comments by the presenter, really made for a fun and informative Q&A session for everyone.

For instance, when Stu commented on the Porsche jumping picture (something everyone in the room had seen before), I felt the room become a bit more dynamic. It was something that brought us all back to that image, something everyone could relate to in their own way.

Now, I'm not saying that the interview wasn't a good idea, but I thought it might would been nice to integrate the slideshow a little bit more. Not only does it excite the magazine loving crowd, it helps loosen the presenter up a bit (not that Stu needed it) and in the process gives the presenter even more material to talk about.

Just my 2 cents
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Mirage1972
post Jun 22 2009, 05:34 AM
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Everything was fantastic ... I thought the Clocktower in general and the rooms were fine, very nice even. I didn't have a leaky room though, like others did. I would put in one small vote for containing the whole thing again there if it's big enough in the future.

The only minor thing I could say from my perspective -- would be nice to have more room for the show and swap meet. It's very crammed in, even moreso than last year. I realize there's a big race going on, and the track probably only allows a small amount of space, but it's very hard to see everything, and tripping over bikes and parts all the time. I'm sure I didn't even see a third of the bikes due to this.

But that's minor... if it could be fixed, that would make the event 100% IMO. Thanks again Mike!

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Paul Springer
post Jun 22 2009, 06:05 AM
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Great time and overall I had a blast...

I am with Strike on the slideshow presentation.

Thank you for everything Mike & crew!
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cheez
post Jun 22 2009, 06:53 AM
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I can't comment on much other than Saturday's show because that was all I was able to attend. Mike you and the crew pulled off a great show. I would have liked to have seen that people who entered bikes in the show were allowed to vote. I understand your reasons why you did it the way you did, but also see it as something that can be fine tuned and allowed for next year. There was just too much going on with my life this year for me to be able to commit to purchasing full event packages. Next year if it's at the clock tower I'll bring to whole family and they can do their thing at the water park, and I can do mine at the show.

Hooters, yeah the last time I was there the service wasn't so good and neither was the food. It's more of a tradition. If we need to change it, I'm good with it, maybe Famous Daves? Great food, resonable prices, and I have never had bad service there. Maybe Buffalo Wild Wings?

Thanks Mike you did a great Job, and like I heard from a former Rockford organizer. You took it to the next level. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/good2.gif)

This post has been edited by cheez: Jun 22 2009, 07:02 AM
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MikeCarruth
post Jun 22 2009, 08:40 AM
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QUOTE (BIRD6961 @ Jun 22 2009, 04:53 AM) *
mike thanks again 4 everything the only thing i have to bring up is how a 24 trickstar wins best cruiser shouldnt that have been custom?


JP-- Good seeing you again after all these years! The Hutch Trickstar 24 DID win the custom class. It was the XL24 (both owned by Hutchhound) that won best Cruiser.

QUOTE (BIRD6961 @ Jun 22 2009, 04:53 AM) *
mike is there any way to find out how many people actually voted for my bike.


In a day or two, I'll try to post ALL results on the board, so people can see how their bike fared.

Best,

M
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gts340
post Jun 22 2009, 08:48 AM
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Mike, you did a fantastic job this year. Taking on a show like this can not be easy. To bring it to the next level without trying to include "too much" is like walking a slippery fishing line, but you managed to pull it off.
I was going to send you a PM on my thoughts about the slideshow/interview because I didn't want my opinion to come off as negative but I'm with Strike too. I would have liked to have more photo involvement from the guest/host. (Strike, well put, couldn't have said it better myself).
As for Hooters, I had a good time, but when you snap spandex on a broad, it cuts off the circulation to the brain. Hooters service sucks, and RKFD Hooters service excels in crappy service. I can't tell you how I felt when I saw the staff encouraging customers to whip water balloons or something else, randomly at cars in the parking lot. I sure hope you and I didn't both pay for my meal. I'm up for something different, maybe even that Old Chicago place that is just about two blocks past Hooters, they have a nice bar and good food too. Since I'm fairly local, I'll spend a few nights trying out different places with this event in mind.
With everything said, I think it was better than ever. Please let me know how I can help with the next event.
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Greg_Hanna
post Jun 22 2009, 09:20 AM
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Mike,

Thanks for a great weekend! The structured layout of the allocated spaces was an improvement, well worth paying for the spaces.
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