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I guess its just a lesson we all learn in life, playin' the game, or the loophole. I think its wrong to buy a state championship by buying memberships for people out of a phone book or off a mailing list, it becomes about who can spend the most money. If you run the state race a few years in a row you can parlay quite a few dollars by rolling over your earnings from said mentioned state race to ensure your tracks future state race acquirement. Our track will never have that kind of capital and I guess I am jealous, we can't, no matter how hard we try, ever win this race. So hard should we try to promote BMX...well thats the funny thing about our track, we see the big picture and realize that we will still do the same things to promote BMX with clinics, new rider bbqs, rider skills clinics thru the parks and rec district, etc, etc. But enough dwelling on the past, hopefully the race in Kearny will be such a success this year as people who have boycotted show up to support the change, that we can affect more change in 08.
Or I could pack up the family to
Carp Dawg

the only frustration for the other tracks in the hunt for the State race was finding out at the last minute a track that was 40 riders to 50 rider memberships (400-500 points) behind them faxed in those memberships on the very last day to take the race.

That is the very same thing that happened in Idaho. Ended up losing it by 5 memberships. We were so far ahead there was only one way to lose it. They saved all the non-rider memberships till the last minute. The non-riders could care less about the bmxer, aba website etc. The non-riders are fictional characters helping a track obtain the SCF. The ABA will never do anything about it, it is money in the bank race or not.
ANT DOG 3:16
Personally I am to the point I don't really care about points anymore,,,,,,but I suggested an idea similar to what someone else said. the track with the highest number of new riders at the end of august gets to host the race. I was told this could not work.
so, why don't these tracks that buy the race take the 2k-3k and actually have a membership drive? I'd have no problem at all if the track was actually using the money to encourage new members to come out and race, but I'm on the fence about just randomly signing people up from a phone book. Why not go to schools or boyscouts or grocery stores and give out free memberships. At least there would be a return on your investment (although it might be small) because you'd probably get a few to show up, but just random signings is just stupid.

The thing that puts me on the fence about the random signups is this. I like the fact that we all discuss how a BMX track is a business, but when it comes to the facts of the business, people start to complain. In business, there is always someone bigger, with more capital, and gets more percs. Well, instead of complaining about it, you have to find a nich of your own, whether it be in your service, your product, or whatever...find a nich and exploit it to it's fullest. Work torwards growing your business until you can compete with the bigger ones, and then beat them. Don't whine about "ohhh, they can get more percs then my small self..waaaa", and "why cant someone regulate them so its fair, waaaa". What you are saying is that you aren't going to try to grow your business to their level, but you want someone to bring them down to yours. It's just like taxing the rich......well I still plan on being rich someday, so keep their taxes as low as possible please. Your track should be saying, "How can we get to that level?", not "how can we bring them down to ours?"

One more point.....spend 2k-3k to get a return of 15k-17k?????sounds like allot of tracks are missing the boat. If I was a smaller track and knew this, I'd find a way to get 5k-6k and make sure I was getting that 15k-17k.

I hope this doesnt offend.
Taking a big bulldozer and making tracks flat with no berms is just good tractor management.
I'm just wondering if a track that buys a State race ever see a profit/benefit from doing so.The work involved to put on a State race does not make you a million dollars?????Time spent setting up for a race and hours of paperwork to finalizes everything is time not money.
I understand the pain of everyone that cries fool.But think about location,location and the cost of doing bussiness....
Have a track in the middle of nowhere low rent all year low also low turn out.
Have a track with 850,000 homes next door not only problems but HIGH RENT all year low not just for a STATE race.
I think you should try and build your program all year long if the STATE final happens at your track be happy if it doesn't try harder again you have to be enjoying the track all year long to continue running it right.
Nice figures greg but deduct cost incurred to run the race 5/6 in awards alone that chips away at the big total quick.

Remember this is the only real competetion that tracks have does the ABA have to also hold the bottle for the losers.The rules are set a the beginning and anyone found cheating should lose it but give credit to a track that wins it they are winning for a reason.
Quick note; if you let your moto's drop below 10 moto's you get a national that something to shot for.......
They buy memberships for real people who don't ever ride thus boosting their memberships, which add into points that the ABA uses to calculate who gets the state race.
Please let me know the name and contact info of any track that is willing to pay membership fees!

I find it hard to believe that there is any track operator who would open his wallet and pull out $45 to pay for a membership for a stranger just to try to get his numbers up and possibly get a state race, but if it's true, I'd like to get a few free memberships! Thanks.
I find it hard to believe that there is any track operator who would open his wallet and pull out $45 to pay for a membership for a stranger just to try to get his numbers up and possibly get a state race
It's true, it happens; some states more, some less, but it does happen.
Well, any track who wants to pay for some free memberships for me, I'm down for the cause!

Just let me know where to send the applications, I'll send them without any payment, that'd be sweet.
It's really pretty simple. Spend $2000 on 'fake' memberships to make $15,000 from hosting the state championship. Good investment.
First off let me ask the riders and parents from North Idaho to step back and take a few deep breaths, I know that this is a frustrating experience for you because I share that frustration.

Second let me say that this is not a sour grapes post, I hold no grudge with Snake River BMX, their TO, or the way that they conducted their business.
They saw what they needed to do to make sure that their customers didn’t have to make the 8 hour trip up here to race the final, and they got the job done, within the rules.
It's not against the rules for _anybody_ to buy memberships and give those memberships away.

So in effect what we have is a system where everyone knows how many membership points the others have accumulated over the year, then 1 month before the deadline, the points are hidden and it becomes a blind auction.
Although, not quite.
The loser doesn’t get to keep his money.

The system is only partially based on a tracks recruiting performance. 11 months out of the year tracks recruit riders. That establishes where they stand going into the blackout. Then 1 month out of the year tracks scramble to catch and pass their opponent(s), or maintain their lead, by collecting donations or using track funds to purchase memberships. This determines which track will host the final.

We lost this year because we have always been one of those tracks that struggled, never enough money in the budget to "play the game", Too much risk involved in spending money with no guarantee of payback.
Last year we hosted the state finals purely on our recruiting performance.
This year we were 40 new full members ahead going into the month long blackout. We added several more new members during that month, and several more on the last day. We hoped that we would once again host the finals based solely on our performance.
We didn’t make it.

We didn’t win the race to host the state final, but we did win the race to be the most successful track in the state, our rider counts are beyond expectations, and our recruiting program is running strong, our organization and loyal volunteer base is unmatched.
We no longer are the struggling group running race’s week to week hoping to break even.
We now set the standard that all of the tracks in the state must try to compete with.

Do I like the rules as they are written?
Not particularly, but I’m not a rules writer so that’s not my call.

Do I have a better idea?
No, as a matter of fact for every idea I have to improve the system, I can think of a way to circumvent the spirit of that rule.

Is Cherry Hill BMX going to be a “player” in the future?
Well if any of our state comp is reading this, NO! We don’t intend to deviate from our regular recruiting program to try and “buy” a state final.
Don’t worry about little old us sitting up north, were just going to continue to recruit racers.
You got 50 members, we’ll get 60 racers.
And I wouldn’t think of asking Grandpa Schnabel to buy a hundred or so memberships for his VFW buddies next June. Uh uh! Nope, wouldn’t consider it.
What states are netting $15K on the championship?

The other thing is, people keep acting like a non-racer with a membership is a fake. I don't see it.
Wanna' hear a story?

I just recalled it, after reading RCain's post.

This guy, he's a friend of mine, and he lives in a state not known as a BMX hotbed.

But this state, it's got BMX, so, sure, it's got politics and drama (because, hey: BMX) which result in another track being opened pretty close to my friend's home track.

This new track, and it's new staff and operator, they got what they fell is a pretty smooth biz plan which will, among other things, assure them of getting that state champ for, well, pretty much forever.

They've got contributors, see, and these contributors will buy memberships for deserving humans. So all they got to do is find kids who want to BMX, and the rest just happens. It's like you cut out the hardest part of the sell.

My friend's track, they see this going on and decide they were just going to keep doing business like they'd always been. It wasn't like they had much of a choice, really, money being tight and all. But they took recruiting seriously and, somehow, got the state race again.

And again.

It's like the tortoise and the hare: You just keep plodding along and things happen.
Oh, you mean grossing $15K. I'm sure a big chunk of that disappears in expenses -- the state race down there is a small national.
Awards alone will take a pretty good chunk out of the profits...

Elvis, my bad. That is a gross number and that number was for a State qualifer and RLC qualifier over two days. 75 motos for the State Qualifier. Can't remember the moto count for the RLC, but it was quite a bit smaller. For many tracks, hosting these events assures another year above water.
The moto count for the Texas State Championship will approach the 70-80 mark and I'm sure there will be a pre-race. Still not a bad investment.
Still not a bad investment.
Agreed. At the same time a good investment in BMX is a bad investment in pretty much any other venture.
The best investment is to not worry about chasing a state plate. I know we are over it, and wont do it again. At least the way the rules are now. And with the expenses of going to a race now a days, it as almost fare to have a way of knowing what track will have the state championship for that year.

For next year, we are not chasing anything but a GOOD TIME .
Agreed. At the same time a good investment in BMX is a bad investment in pretty much any other venture.
The best investment is to not worry about chasing a state plate.
Guys, the BEST investment is to stay out of BMX altogether. No future in it, Holmes! Except, of course, that whole fun thing!
A few details on our specific situation from page 4:

1) I/ we hate the way the SCF is awarded. As mentioned, there should be a rotating schedule for interested tracks.

2) In our situation, we, along with other tracks, got tired of traveling to the West side of the State every year.

3) When we did it, we did not go through the phone book, some were scholarships to deserving/ underpriveleged kids, some were additional bikes (cruiser, girls cruiser, etc.).

4) Our track, specifically, did not have a weak recruiting program. We did bike fairs, registration at Wal-/K-Mart, did assemblies at school, etc.
At the time, the track was averaging 20-25 motos for single point races.

5) We took a huge risk because after it was all said and done, we won/ earned/ bought the SCF by 35 points (7 renewals/ 3 new + 1 renewal). Slim margin, we gambled and could have lost it all.

6) We never intended to do it "every year", we were going to rotate between the tracks on the East side of the State trading off every other year and let the other side of the State get/ earn/ buy it on the off years.

7) Our biggest obstacle to earning it "legitimately", was population base, 50K in 1 county, 130K combined in 2 counties compared to 2 Million in a reasonably tight geographic area on the other side of the State.
Even so, we were still running good moto counts but couldn't get "over the hump". That is why we worked together with another track and shared the labor, expense, revenue, and profit.

And, it was not just to earn big money.
To anyone who was there, we prided ourselves on putting on a phenomenal KICK *** event, and we pulled it off.
I don't remember exactly what the moto count was but, I think, it was in the 80's, with a 5-6 rider per moto average.

Would I do it again?
If my track was doing everything it could to earn it "legit". I would do it.
But, after exhausting all avenues and we could not "earn" it, and our track was in a financial position to take the gamble, I probably would.

Although, I do wish the membership drive earned the tracks, maybe another double, or a triple that is not tied to a specific event.
If a track could have a double RFL, a double SCR, and a earned Triple due to memberships, that could be a big money maker for a track.

The SCF should be rotated. Not every track wants the headache or has the facility to handle an SCF. But, for those that want it, they should have the opportunity to host it, without it being snaked away from them.
When recruiting racers/members/riders is the main point of bmx -we are in a sad state. Recruiting should be a non-issue. I guess we have progressed bmx into a sad state, in 2007. I remember when kids wanted to race bmx and did seek it out on their own, and we had zero recruiting and way more racers. We did have word of mouth and such, but it wasn't like it was a full on recruiting plan.
Pat, all sports recruit. Whether it is as little as hanging "Registration starts June XX for Fall Soccer" all over town, to doing car washes and handing out Junior Hockey flyers, to Little League having sign-ups at Wal-Mart.
I don't know of one kids sport that just sits back and let's the kids/ parents seek it out.
Jason Chang
How about the tracks that fight to win the finals so they can sell it to the highest bidder. I heard that in states that have a big turnout for the finals, a track would pay more than $5000 cash to buy it from the track that earned it.. So I've heard.
I don't know of one kids sport that just sits back and let's the kids/ parents seek it out
I know a sport like that... it WAS called bmx. Circa 1979-80. We did not recruit and we got more riders. I don't care that all sports do it now. Maybe all people jump off bridges now in 2007, you wanna do it too? { ha ha I sound like my grandpa, he used to say we should "go play in traffic" when we were kids....}

In all seriousness, I do agree a good marketing plan is helpful without a doubt, but I do not wish to see all other aspects overlooked, just to do marketing alone.
J Chang, I have not heard of tracks "buying" an SCF that way. I guess anything is possible.

With the way things are written (rules), if a track "earned" it by legit means but didn't want the headache, and another track was willing to shell out the $$$ if they felt it was worth the return, so be it. The track that "earned" it didn't want it.
Actually, that happens here in Wisconsin. The winter indoor track in Elkhorn wins it every year, but is not in operation during the summer. The race is bought by the highest bidder among the outdoor tracks.
Can a track outside of Wisconsin buy that race? That would be cool, BMX would be like Football. The Jets and the Giants, don't both of those teams realy play in New Jersey?
Now I also agree with having the state race at different locations as long as the track is of a caliber to hold such an event
exactly my concern with a simple rotation plan carson. some tracks don't win the final for a reason.

what stats can you judge a track by? number of members? ok. that's the current system. profit? lol. length? oh wait, never mind. what about retention as some have mentioned - the track with the most riders who signed up last year and raced at least xx number of races AT THAT TRACK?

yeah, with that there is the ghost rider thing. the fact is that people who want to will find their way around the spirit of any system while still complying with the letter of it. what are you gonna do?

one thing about the current system is that it almost seems to penalize a track with good retention. a track that has a large rider base but poor retention can just keep signing up new riders they don't keep year after year but a track with a small rider base that keeps their riders with modest growth can't touch the other track in terms of winning the final.

as a person who has been a volunteer for a whole bunch of years, a board member for a few and a t.o. for a few, i have thought about this many times and usually my head just starts to hurt and i figure the current system is good enough.
I think I saw a State Championship on ebay.
Dani, you make some good points.
Again, the SCF should be rotated, put the tracks in order of longevity running, that would put Emerald Valley in Oregon at the top of the list with Cottage Grove and Roseburg, right behind.
Any track that wants it, gets in line, if a new track starts up, they join at the back of the line. If an existing track dissolves, then each remaining track on the list moves up a spot.
In Oregon, a new track would get it in about 10 years.
For the Northwest States, I think that is a workable solution.
As far as recruiting? Give the track with the best program an Earned Triple. If a track got picked to get an RCQ, you could combine that with a RFL (double), SCR, RCQ, and an Earned Triple for a 1000 pt. weekend at one track. That would be a nice money maker for any program.
The benefit with rotating and SCF is every track that wants to do it, will eventually have the opportunity.
The reality of the current situation is some smaller communities will NEVER get the chance to host the event without manipulating the results, if they choose.
i am not saying this is true of any specific track anywhere but under that system, any sanctioned goat trail track would get a turn to host the final. that does not seem fair to the riders or to tracks working hard to provide a good product to their customers. there would be no motivation (for tracks small or large) to meet any minimum standards much less strive for excellence.

it would be really spiffy to have a system that would allow for tracks with strong programs in less populated areas to compete on equal footing with tracks in more populous areas. what this system would possibly look like, i have no clue. but that would be great because you know there are folks out there busting their butts putting on quality programs with slim resources and giving kids with very few options the opportunity to participate in something really cool. my hat's off to those folks.
Brett Middaugh
I don't know of one kids sport that just sits back and let's the kids/ parents seek it out

I know a sport like that... it WAS called bmx. Circa 1979-80.

Yes it was, word of mouth amongst us rebellious tweens and teens...
BMX is still like that, JUST NOT RACING.
Ask yourselves why?
Because racing does not appeal to your target demographic, 12-17 year old rebellious creative kids.
If you are convincing parents to bring their kids to the races, you are pulling in the people who don't want to be there as it is.
The rules are set they work ,yes the losers always cry foul.The track with the best rider count or cash flow will always win live with it.
Rotate the tracks I know a few tracks are not big enough or fair enough to hold a big race.

Stop the whinnnnning and bake cookies the rules are set.........
convincing and pulling people towards bmx in 2007= does not compute with me
Is our target demographic really 12-17 year olds? If so, I'm sucking at that age range because not one of the riders I've signed up this summer is over 12 years old!

I looked through my one-day trial memberships as well and out of the 42 I've done this summer there's only 2 in there over 12. I've converted about 50% of my one day trials into full memberships (22 so far this summer) but the two over 12 didn't.

Maybe I'm doing something wrong at my track and it's not appealing to the older age group... or maybe they just can't put down their cell phones and stop text messaging long enough to take a few laps on a bike!

Today's kid's don't have to go out looking for friends to hang out with... they can sit in their homes on their computers or cell phones and interact all they want. When we were young (I'm 42) the only way you could hang with your friends was to get off the couch, go outside, knock on your friends door and go find something to do, which I'm sure lead quite a few of those to the local BMX track on their bikes. For my husband (he started racing at 12 - which now is almost too late in our sport if you want to compete nationally) the BMX track was his home away from home and he'd ride his bike 15 miles to get there if he had too. It was very rare for his mom to even come to the races. How many kids nowadays do you think would do that or even their parents allow them to do so?

How many times do you think a track could ghost ride a rider before it was obvious what they were doing? If a rider had to have at least 3 races in to count towards the total for the SCF that would at least stop the tracks from submitting 30 and sometimes more new memberships on the very last day they are eligible and get them to focus more on getting those memberships early and getting those riders to the track. It's the final day submission of tons of new members that really irks me in this whole thing... that's a blatant "steal" of the race and isn't in the true spirit of the contest.
who told you a target market was 12-17? I always have heard lately it is 8-14.
I was responding to Brett's post above...

"Because racing does not appeal to your target demographic, 12-17 year old rebellious creative kids."

BMXStir - The track with the best rider counts in most cases isn't the track that wins. That's the whole point of the frustration with the current system. Maybe the track with the most money can but doesn't always either.

Tell me if you were a Track Operator and you and your volunteer group worked your butts of to recruit new members and you were say 30 memberships ahead of the rest of the tracks in your State and someone swoops in on the very last day and submits 45 new memberships (which probably many of them will never even visit the track) and takes the SCF race away, you wouldn't have a problem with that... come on.

Just to make it clear, this isn't what happened in my State this year, but it has affected many tracks across the country and it a system that should be looked at.
I am hoping brett was talking about that demographic being the one that everybody thinks is the good one but really it poses a few problems when recruiting. Especially in the 16-17 yr olds who want to be dirt jumpers or car drivers and not bmx racers. I hope that's what he was saying. Now, 12 yr old, that's pretty good age for bmx.

I agree the state finals system stinks CV. I do not have a better suggestion right now, unless we did figure in total of actual racers somehow- and not just new memebrs or members in general. Or, have a state vote or something, ballots. That would be a pain.
I agree in the five years I've done this I've never really been able to think of a way either that someone, somehow couldn't manipulate getting the SCF. I'm sure that's the reason why the same system is still in place after all these years. The only one thing I think would help is to NOT post any tracks points earned towards the SCF... that way you'd really have to push to get your best number and still have no idea where you stood come June 20th when the announcement was made. A few years of "overbuying" the State race might convince a few tracks to not do it anymore.

From my experience my target age was 12 & under. It's sad though because at those ages if the parents aren't into it then the kids can't be. I've alway said...hook the parent and you get the kid and many of my recruiting ideas were based around getting the parents interest and seems to work better and increases the longevity of the rider.
seems like parents of kids that age have no problem driving the kids to soccer and baseball. when I was 12, and first started racing, I rode my bike on over- across town, to the track. small town, 1979, no problems. now, the kids don't usually just ride the bikes to the track, most of the time. I used to ride home with a trophy , too. fun stuff. sometimes we got car rides to the track, sometimes.
I think the reason to post Track Points toward the SCF is for "full disclosure" so there would be no appearance of favortism toward a facility.

Imagine any one track being awarded the SCF year after year without the general public being able to watch any tracks progression toward membership points. Every other track would scream favortism.

The current system isn't great. I have ideas but I don't know of a perfect solution.

Regarding Dani's comment about a weak track getting the SCF without really doing anything, in today's BMX environment, I don't think a track would last long enough without putting forth some effort.
In my example with 10 tracks in the State, a poor program would have to wait roughly a decade, and if there program was that poor, they wouldn't get the regular turnout to last that long, let alone get a decent turnout at the SCF, except for the riders that are truly chasing the plate.
Brett Middaugh
Just to sorta clarify what I was saying about target demographic.
Well...actually you guys just pointed it out, under 12 and you are recruiting a parent not a rider.
16-17 is pushing it for a new BMX ~racer~, I was as is so often done mistakingly, making a broad generalization.
Realistically the target demographic to bring in NEW racers is 12-15.
When did most of us start to get into BMX?
Some things do not change...
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