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Thread: It seems to me that...

  1. #1
    Administrator Ron Hill's Avatar
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    Default It seems to me that...

    The truth is, boat racing isn't growing. In fact the numbers are going down, down and down.

    What are the reasons that YOU see? What do you think might help?

    My wife and I have been remoldeling a 1927 house since September. The neighbors came in and on a vacant lot built a house in three months. The old house had everything wrong with it. What we should have done is "SCRAPED" the old house and built a new one, but we didn't.

    I see a parallel to the OLD HOUSE/NEW HOUSE and BOAT RACING AND CHANGE.....

    I went to a boat race and worked the flags for FLIGHT ONE...I worked from 10 to 1:30, that was 1/4 of the race...After a 7 and a half hour race day.....(My kids called me and told me to come home for Father's Day)....It wasn't hard to head for home, but not because my kids called me.


    I think STEP ONE: If you have a two day race, each day only gets HALF POINTS.

    We are going to Chowchilla.....we have a new boat, four new engines, several new props....we have had NO TEST TIME....As Chad has just finished school...and where do you test a CAPSULED BOAT??????? So, we'll go to Chowchilla and race ALL DAY with half#$sed set ups, we'll be luck if we don't wreck the boat......Only to come back on Sunday and do the same thing....

    Seems to me, I'd rather go to Chowchilla and test all day, Saturday.....at a leisure pace and be ready to race Sunday.....If the CLUB NEEDS MONEY, and I know they do....Charge a FLAT FEE for the weekend.

    Figure the cost of the race, divide by the numbers of drivers, add 20 percent for the clud and charge EVER DRIVER and EQUAL AMOUNT or EVERY FAMILY...

    Step three: (Step two was FLAT FEES)....Combine classes to have 12 boats in every start.

    Step Four: Throw the clock away! RUN MODIFIED lEmANS STARTS. SlOWER CLASSES RUN MORE LAPS ON SHORTER COURSE...

    Step Five: Pass an APBA RULE, that any race that runs longer than 5 hours, NO POINTS WILL BE AWARDED.......

  2. #2
    Team Member Master Oil Racing Team's Avatar
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    In the early 70's we alky racers were having a problem. NOA was floundering, AOF just started and APBA had some crossovers from the south, but most of their races were north, east and west. We had a meeting at Gravois Mills, MO. at an AOF race to decide on which direction to go. At that meeting Marshall Grant stated that in order to please the public, you have to get their attention, hold it and you can only hold them for three hours. When Johnny Cash and his band were on top, no band in the world could touch them. So you have to listen to what Marshall says.

    Out of that my Dad contacted Marshall for a plan to put on short exciting races to give the public their money's worth and leave them wanting more. That was how the invitational races at Diamondhead on Lake Catherine near Hot Springs came about.

    Some good ideas were hatched, but after the death of Jerry Waldman in the first event. And a serious accident in the second, the plan failed. Some of the things that you mention though Ron were implemented there.

    1. The total program was supposed to last three hours (maybe slightly longer)

    2. One heat final so the spectators knows who the winner is. Unless they were a fan of racing, they normally don't know the point system, and if there are some disqualifications, they can get confused. Not everybody reads the program.

    3. All day Saturday to test. You only have one shot so you work on your setups as much as you want.

    With a lot of lakes closed down, this testing is primary in helping the drivers work out their setups, but also get used to the course, which is a safety factor.

    Another thing we did was open the show with some of the faster classes. The classic lineup when I started, and pretty much stayed the same throughout my racing career was to start with the slowest classes and end with the fastest. The idea was to keep the public there to the end. We figured that was the wrong way for a couple of reasons. Blow them away with some really high speeds and it gets the attention of the spectators. Those classes that are really fast usually don't even have qualifying heats (this stuff applied to the old days when there were still a number of 500's and 700's running), but the ones that are there put on a good show. The slower classes have more competitors and for that reason the spectators see some really good racing. Next, the safety factor, and the will to win. For the guys that have run mulitiple classes, how many times have you been wading in water, under blazing hot sun, carrying boats in and out of the water, racing, fighting mechanical problems, butterflys,then when you are completely worn out have to crawl into the cockpit for two heats of 700cc hydro or 1100cc runabout. There were many times I couldn't even squeeze the throttle closed coming out of a turn. I had to push it with my left arm then clamp my fingers around it.

    Then publicity. In Texas we had driver profiles and photos for the media. When we went to Arkansas, we had Miss Arkansas and Miss Hot Springs out for a photo shoot. A newscamera guy rode in Jerry Waldman's 700 hydro. (unbelievable footage) The main newspaper was contacted and did stories prior to a following the event. Jerry and I did a live TV interview in Little Rock.

    It also coincided with a big sale of waterfront property on Lake Catherine. That was the same format as the 1969 Golden Shores Winternationals.

    Presentation is also important. A professional appearance and team uniforms appeal to the crowd. Drivers oftentimes pay a lot of attention to the boats motors and trailers, but it ends there. Spectators are used to stuff like NASCAR where you can tell who belongs on what team.

    Then we had the flag thing going that started at DePue. Many drivers were flying their state flags in the pits. This brought a lot of color. Some of the boat letters didn't make sense, and drivers from several states race under the same letter. Flags told which state a driver was from. Spectators may not know, but they could see that they were different.

    Debbie's calling. These are just some ideas to bang around.
    Last edited by Master Oil Racing Team; 07-02-2005 at 06:02 PM. Reason: left out a word



  3. #3
    Team Member B VALACHOVIC's Avatar
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    Default First thing

    First thing is the general public (spectators). When someone goes to a big time for example Drag Racing event, they can go into the pits and see the drivers, get their autograph, see all the equipment and be right there during the race when the crew tears down the big fuel Hemi (feel a part of it). Thats where the Interest is and the Future Drivers and Sponsors come from. APBA much in general has closed the pits to this,at least at big events. Change the pit structure and let the public in and you might get someone interested in this sport, including new Drivers and Sponsors. If it can be done at the Drags they certainly can do it at the boat races. Without the public being interested there will never be the big name sponsors on the boats of any consequence ever again. Bob Valachovic

  4. #4
    Administrator Ron Hill's Avatar
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    Default Bottomline, I think

    99 per cent of the races, NO ONE CARES unless you have family racing.....I think we kid ourselves into thinking we are a spectator sport.... We are hobbiest...and there is nothing wrong with being a hobbiest...but we must plan to pay our own way.

    When my kid ran J, that was the most important race of the day...when he ran A that was the most important race of the day....we can't expect others to pay for OUR SPORT, we must pay for our own SPORT...Family, friend, and fun....


    Jimbo, Ted May, Ernie Dawe and me, raced hundreds of time for nothing but trophies....no spectators...just family, but we loved winning in front of out families...

    I mean, we ain't the OC, or 90211...we're just boat racing...and I love it and I'm willing to pay my fair share to have boat racing...

    The lost of Jerry Waldman to kneeldown racing was bigger than the lost of Jim Hauenstein to tunnel boat racing...Both were HUGE!!!

    The Bluew Water Casino 300 Enduro is going to be an event....someone will win, but the rest will have a good time!!!

    Racing should be a good time!!!

  5. #5
    Team Member B VALACHOVIC's Avatar
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    Default Hey Ron Hill

    Friends, Family ,good time I agree with. I have raced worked sites and sponsored boats, Spectators and sponsors are there it is just how everything is marketed to bring them in and get them interested ,not shoo them away. When we were at the Allison 50th we had people come to us and ask when the race was starting and where it was going to be, quite a few.I think people actually like boat racing, it's just not around a lot and not marketed well. Bob

  6. #6
    Rocket
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    #1 I have to agree on the "Marketing"! When a Boat race is marketed right,,, there is almost always a big turn out! ( IHBA/SDBA in Marble Falls Tx had over 56,000 spectators last year).

    #2 Also, Diversity (sp) if there is other stuff going on for the kids, ladies or just the guys like,,, Bikini Contest's, RC race's, "Show & Shine's", Car or Motorcycle shows,, Free t-shirt give aways (Our anouncer will make the kids find a driver and get an autograph to win a T-shirt or something! It get's the fans involved), "Ride of your life" (this is where you raffle off a ride in a race boat!). But just something differant to break up the day!!!

    #3 Announcer's! I think it's very important that the announcer gets the fans involved! Explains over and over again what's going on (like in Brackets, when they see a boat loose,, but he really wins,,they need to explain why!).

    #4 And YES OPEN PIT"S!!!!!
    Last edited by Mark75H; 07-03-2005 at 03:57 PM.

  7. #7
    Team Member Miss BK's Avatar
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    Rocket is right on about #3. The BEST races I've seen are the races where the PA system can be heard everywhere, and the crowd can see the full course. This will only work if the announcer is animated and well informed about the action ...and builds excitment and FUN. Getting the crowd to laugh is HUGE. We have to be convinced this is something we can't live without.

    This is the area where SuperSport has a huge advantage over EVERYONE else. During the SuperSPort races, the crowd should be blasted with Rock and Roll music -- Imagine watching four boats enter the turn with ZZ Top blaring away - the crowd would not even realize they aren't listening to high horsepower engines.

    But silence is a crowd killer. You'll put the fans right to sleep.

    There were 30,000 people watching our local air show yesterday. Airplanes doing loops and not even racing. Nobody cared that the engines weren't roaring like a jet fighter -- because the fast beat Rock and Roll music kept them in-tune and excited. Over the sounds of the music, the announcer was also keeping everyone informed of WHO was in the cockpit and where he was from, where he learned to fly -etc. Doing this, he personalized the show so fans could relate to the pilots. He kept all eyes glued to the sky.

    And everything was high class. The trash can near us was emptiedTHREE TIMES while we sat there. It never even got half full before it was dumped. They know that nobody wants to sit near stinky trash in the heat. The porta potties had portable hand washers next to them - and they never ran out of soap.

    But the key to keeping powerboat racing alive, as a whole, is that it HAS to be a "Cool" thing to do. The teams have to look special and HIGH class - Top notch. No t-shirts. Keep it "cool". Prestige is COOL. Fans want to see guys in pressed uniforms and clean, sparkling pit areas. Spit-shined boats with awesome paint like they've never seen before. Anything to make them go "Ahhhhh......".

    Don't forget the kids! My kids love "Screamin' Eagle" - they relate to the Eagle painted on the nose of Wyatt Nelson's DAC. Kevin Duby once had kids put their hands in paint and place a "handprint" right on his deck..(small fee went to charity) That boat had a hundred multi-colored handprints on it by the time he raced - it was beautiful -- and everytime he went past us, my kids screamed, "I SAW MY HAND!!!!"

    Fabulous idea, Kevin! You have no idea the impact you made on those kids just by letting them "be a part" of the boat races like this.

    The sponsors must be massaged as well - they have to feel that they are a part of something classier than average. Something beyond a hobby. Something that the rest of the fans look to achieve someday. They want to feel "Special". If they go home and talk about how much fun they had at the races, then you know they'll be back next year. They can't LIVE without it.

    Even today, when I see my old friends who I raced with back in the 80s - we talk mostly about the side-line fun we had. The parties, the calcutta, the practical jokes played on each other, the "dippin" we did with rental cars, the jokes, the stories told.... We talk about all the FUN we had. And boy,was it FUN! Often, we dont even remember who won that event that year.

    But we remember those things that made racing fun and something we couldn't live without.


    I watched how the Offshore category energized the sponsors several years ago. Those sponsors were put on a pedestal --- every weekend they were treated to exclusive parties, black tie awards ceremonies etc. Even racers themselves want to be seen as somebody "special" who deserves recognition.

    The press needs to be treated this same way. I watched how Garbrecht was keen on special treatment to magazine publishers and TV producers. He went right to the top and made sure they were taken care of - mailed colorful press packets ahead of the season and greeted them as VIPs at the pit entrances -- and it paid off. He called them personally. The publishers really liked that attention. He even included the media in his year-end awards ceremony and recognized them in front of the entire audience - every year without fail. That was just one of several brilliant ideas - he knew they needed to feel special, and his reward was 8-10 articles about his sport every year in nearly all of the major publications.

    Those magazine articles were then used by the race teams to keep financial relationships with their sponsors.

    Unfortunately, in most cases, staying on top of public corporate relationships and advanced marketing seems to be the last on the list of priorities. I've seen teams that feel their needs should be taken care of above all else. Instead of cooperating, and sewing the patches on in the right places (as the title sponsors expect them to be) and being thankful they HAD a title sponsor, some pit crews and drivers (mainly in the Unlimited category) instead complained about having to adere to these sponsor patch requirements - some actually refused and called GG the "Patch Nazi". Then became even more angry when the team was issued a fine. I had to wonder, would they prefer an annoyed sponsor? What if they left and chose to sponsor some other sport --- where the patches were worn AS contracted?

    And it is that kind of resisitance that keeps boat racing from getting ahead.


    Whew! That's a lot of typing. but those are just a few of my observations...There are quite a few things I see that would spark great interest -- bringing back the Calcutta is one!
    But I better stop for now.......
    Last edited by Miss BK; 07-03-2005 at 11:03 AM.

  8. #8
    Team Member B VALACHOVIC's Avatar
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    Default Second thing

    The boats and equipment (safety) etc today are really good. Not everyone will like this. Run Spec engines (SEALED and no you cannot take them apart). And i do Not mean the props or any other equipment that your Team has including the boat, just the engines,(powerheads). And if someone wants to tear yourTeam's spec engine down, no problem. They must purchase it for as much as a new assembly would cost the Team being torn down. Also, place this on the Manufacturer of the engines,that in a event that the engines are discontinued for any reason and they wish to continue to participate in the sale of engines to the Race Teams ,the manufacturer of these engines,(powerheads) must for a nominal fee(if any) replace the engines, (powerheads) and any updated components to make a complete engine to continue to be a supplier to the race teams. Bob

  9. #9
    CANADIAN PRAIRIES REGION John (Taylor) Gabrowski's Avatar
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    Default There are so many good points here, so why are we not doing them?? Then you ask who?

    Everyone here so far is very sensitive to what works and what doesn't work. This marine motor sport is now failing at an accellerated rate due to "introversion" within the sport itself, where it is eating itself for the gain or fewer and fewer still.

    When I was a little kid, my parents like thousands of others went to the weekend boat races because it was a happening spectator sport. It sounded good, felt good, looked great and the sponsors and racers representatives made it that way, "through their spokesman" and through the execution of the events in very professional form with a big community involvment that parralleled the racers and the sponsors because they tied themselves into doing that good job because they had a honest committment to do so, all the way around! Long winded?? I had to be!

    I think we all know why outboard manufacturers AKA Merc and OMC supported racing with engines and parts, was because it gave their products and their performances name recognition that translated into the bottom line and they believed that through racing, racing was testing their products that also helped with sales and that bottom line. We all got into this because it is a affordable motorsport for many and it above all was a spectator sport that fueled our competitive nature even more. For us there was no money it, save for expenses at times and the odd trophy and we never got into it for the most part for money but the glory in putting on a good competitive show that everyone enjoyed where the spin off effects were really up to those making it all so public and all so worth while to get to the bottom line.

    Sure it can be and is to some a family thing but that is not the dominant reason most do, its all the rest that make it a SPECTATOR SPORT, FIRST & FOREMOST NO DIFFERENT THAN NASCAR IN TERMS OF ECONOMIES OF SCALE!!!!!!

    The other remarkable thing I find in racing is the un-canny ability racers have to elect and have people represent them and their sports NOT IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE SPORT BUT THEIR OWN! These self centered people that racers elect with their own private agendas that do not have the best interests in the sport in mind ceaselessly have destroyed our sport. That is our fault as racers and no one else's. You don't elect some one to enhance their status through the politics of elevated position or their connection or history with some outboard manufacturer. You elect them to do the job of furthering with out eqivocation, the betterment the sport of power boat racing. If their agenda is anything else, better have a way of getting rid of them quick because the damage these types of people will wreck the sport for decades because those bad things are way easier to remember than any good anyone else does anywhere else!

    If I sound like I have some axe to grind, score to settle, point to make for some reason, I sure do! I see my sport being wrecked by what I term as stupid, self centered idiots who have no business being elected to represent us where there is nothing running off but their big mouths and what they have to say is a fraud upon our sport for their own short term personal gain!

    I may be from Canada that has some American roots by birth and by service to both countries where our sports take place or in many ways used to take place, but I am not going to stand by and watch our sport be decimated by charlatans with big mouths with medeocrity and fraud in mind dealing my chosen motor sport into the dirt. I can sure tell people why our sport has virtually died out in the Midwestern (N.D,S.D,Minn. & Man.) USA and here in Western Canada starting at the Ontario border going immediate west and the USA immediately south from here. These so called elected officers of our motorsport were in the majority self centered frauds! They defrauded sponsors, defrauded spectators, defrauded the events, defrauded other racers, defrauded the events status amongst events, lined their pockets at the expense of their own members and the clubs involved and did other clandestine and shamefull things that took years to uncover that made us here ashamned we ever got involved with such dishonesty and such low live medeocrity! The horrendous stain they made out of something good for everyone that year poisoned in the situation of racing anywhere as being "not in the pubic interest" because the public was being taken to the cleaners by elected officer of racers! Our racing community as a whole is being blamned wholey for the acts of the few and we in the racing community keep electing these turkeys because they got big mouths but few brains behind them those blathering lips!

    I would sooner have some non-descript, grey flannel suited, mild mannered, moralistic low key slow talking bureacrat paid to represent us at the policy level to everyonse than some of the charlatans I see elected to important positions in our clubs and sanctioning bodies for all the wrong reasons, and, as a result of our clubs wanting to be properly represented at the policy levels of our sanctioning bodies with some level headness and in the best interests of furthering our sport. What we have now are hardly representative of the best interests of our sport! Our Sport Being The Kep Operative Words!

    If it sounds like "I care", you bet I do!! What is happening now, is our own collective faults and I think it is going to get worse before we bottom out and stay there a while before we are going to see it turn around, but we are not there yet.

    I have a dozen drivers in my area, with mulitples of equipment in different outboard classes that are not racing anymore because idiots and in this case none of the local drivers including me, destroyed the sport in the eyes of the sponsors, locations, the public, local governments and real good sponsors and all it took was one crowning glory incident! Seven years later we get through hard work "a second chance" and many of those same people poisoned that effort too, in order to cover their tracks with consistency the first fraudulent mess they made! "Dishonesty" and "other personal political agendas" has done more to kill our sport than you can imagine and without honesty, integrity and hard work to regain our spectator sport, we are going no where! Soon.

    So when are we going to do the right thing for the sport in the sport's best interests?? Or are we going to cannibalize our sport through our own weakness until it dies out?? This is a wakeup call! Who is listening???

  10. #10
    Tim Small
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    Default Noise

    I may be bias because I race PRO in the USTS, and we do get good crowds, but if you dont have NOISE and SPEED, you can forget about spectators or sponsorship. Take the noise and speed away from NASCAR AND INDY, and it would die an instant death.

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