Race Track at Central Pennsylvania Collector Con
Hey guys. I recently came across your site and thought I could get some advice. I will be bringing a 22ft Die cast track to Central Pennsylvania Collector Con August 2nd through 4th. I will be running tournaments during the convention and afterwards in the hotel for the after hours folks. I have never been to an event like this or seen die cast racing at an event. Do any of you have experience at an event like this and could tell me how it typically goes?
For daytime hours I am picturing just having a seclection of standard production hot wheels cars that people either pick or are randomly selected when each person signs up. I am thinking 30-50 cars in each tournament, 3 or 4 tournaments a day, with fun little prizes for the top winners. One of the tournaments would be for ages 10 and under and the rest would be for all ages.
For evening time I was thinking people could bring their own cars to race and maybe have a small buy-in tournament that pays out the top three places. For this one I figured I would follow some of the tournament entry guidlines you guys have here.
Any thoughts or advice? Any of you planning to go to this event?
My live event experience is pretty limited. I ran some races at the Nashville Convention in 2011, but I wasn't in charge of the track or dealing with live entries, etc. My brackets were pre-made and didn't offer live entry - it was all online entry prior to the event. So I just ran the cars to get results.
However, based on what I saw for races that did have in-person entry, I'd say that one big key to a good event is making the pre-race experience easy for visitors and racers. Dropping cars down a hill and recording the result is the easy part.
If you have any sort of registration happening, make that process easy, quick and obvious. Especially if you're not getting promoted prior to the event and just hope to grab people as they walk by.
The convention that I attended didn't put a lot of thought into that up front part and it showed. Entries were jotted down on scraps of paper, there was no real obvious order that made sense to any of the spectators, and after it was all done, the results were hard to parse through. He had a limited time to race and instead of planning a bit, he just crammed as much racing in as possible.
The end result was that not only did the guy running things feel rushed, the whole presentation just didn't come off that well. In my opinion, if you're going to run a race at an event, the racing itself needs to feel like an event. It needs to be perceived as being better than the racing I can do at home. That'll make the difference between someone going home and saying, "they had some downhill racing," and someone saying, "the racing was really awesome and a lot of fun."
So there's that...now when you say 30-50 cars and tournaments, are these a) pick 'em style tournaments? You provide the brackets and people pick the winners. Or is this a, b) I sign-up and I'm assigned a car and that's mine to follow throughout the tournament?
I'm not sure what type of turnout the event has over all, but 30-50 cars sounds like a lot to me...high expectations...but that's based on my experience. So while you might shoot for 50+ cars, make sure you have a plan for when only 25 actually join. I guess planning for a smaller number can always scale up.
I think a blind draw type of thing would be fun and fair. You register, pick your car from a hat, and that's that. Registration has a window of time, then you take all those entry tickets and make your bracket, race, etc.
I would also point out that running brackets can take a deceivingly long amount of time. If you do have a high turnout (and I hope you do!), then you might only get 1 or 2 tournaments in if you're doing massive brackets. If you break that down into small tournaments, that might be better to run and better for the people entered. Heck, do several 16-car brackets. More winners that way, and if you're expecting a lot of kids, then that'll keep them happy and the quicker brackets will have them engaged a bit longer, I suspect. Hell, it would keep me engaged longer too!
I think having the age separation is a good idea. 12 and under, and then 13+ or whatever...probably will feel more fair, even in a blind draw. Plus kids vs kids feels fair to kids.
For the evening races, I'd figure to follow a similar process. If you're going to be doing buy-in and modded racing, that might require some extra rules and being very careful and clear with results. I'd argue that adults can be worse than children when it comes to details of winning.
And for what it's worth, I'd also say to make sure you have a host. Someone that calls out the action, results, and directs folks to what's happening and when. Someone has to direct traffic, otherwise it'll be chaos and feel messy. And if you're just grabbing entries as they're walking by the booth or whatever, then you'll need someone to help guide them and remind them what to do and when.
So...that was a lot...sorry for the brain dump. Just some thoughts and ideas that you can pick apart as you choose.
Hope you get a good turnout at the convention. I've never heard of it but looking at their web site, it seems it's a pretty big event with a lot of people. And I encourage you to share your experience here when you're all done. A postmortem of sorts, as a I think a lot of us have thought about running some live racing events but for whatever the reasons have not (that's me!). Hearing your experience might help tip the scales.
Just thinking more about if you're going to be kind of grabbing the attention of people as they're walking by...do some sort of parent/kid quick race. Have parent pick a car, have kid pick a car, race it head-to-head and winner gets a tiny prize - or gets to keep their car.
It's something quick for your to run with immediate pay off for the parent/kid. Might be fun...
Along with what RLD said above...cap your brackets and keep them at 16 or 32 car brackets...much easier to organize and maintain race integrity that way...you can go to printmybrackets.com and have sheets of 16 or 32 car brackets ready to be filled out...then make 16 or 32 car brackets out of poster board that the masses can see and follow...and have help...it's a family affair here at the League of Speed Racing Grounds.
Good Luck with it!!!!
I live in PA... can you post the date/location if its not a private event? I might be able to go
Here's the web site: www.cpccon.com/
ah darn, i'll be on vacation that weekend. If anyone goes, get some videos and pictures and post them!
Great advice guys!
The track is getting close! Should I paint candy apple red with white pinstriping or hot wheels blue with white pinstriping??? It will be 22 feet and 4 lanes of standard orange track.
As far as the event. I think I am going to take the advice of doing smaller tournaments. I will probably mostly stick to a blind draw. I may do one or two where kids pick from a large assortment of cars.
Also, I think Will go as all out as possible to make it iteractive and interesiting. I plan to bring a projector or large screen that has live brackets from Challonge.com (another great tip from you guys). That way I can just type in entries as they come up and they can even follow the bracket on their phone if they want to. I will also have a small PA. I will also have poster or something indicating Free Tournaments! Sign up Here!. My wife will also be with me to help with sign up and hosting.
- Holy smokes, that's massive! Great design too...like the shelves and everything. Definitely a show piece! — redlinederby
- I love the track frame! I think all of us would love more pictures! — NastiNatiRacing
- Whoa!! That is cherry! — SinisterGrackle
- WOW,that is a great looking track!!! — Rusty
Awesome...looking forward to hearing about the racing.
MLD03c, that is a fantastic looking slope!!
How long will the flat run from the bottom of the slope to the finish line?
- What you see in the picture is about 12 feet long. There is another 10 feet of flat track after this. — mld03c
- Well, 12 feet horizontally. 4 feet tall. I did some runs and she is plenty fast. — mld03c
- Sounds awesome!! — Your_Nightmare
On the road to the event now. Here is the last picture I took of it. Will get one of the complete assembly once I get set up.
- Any tips on sticking down the orange track? I am thinking double sided tape or that Velcro stuff. — mld03c
- I use the velcro — LeagueofSpeed
- Ditto on the velcro. Have tape as a backup. — redlinederby
Let me give this some thought before I respond...but good on ya...and you came to the right place