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
). 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.