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Poker Run Orgs/ Boat Builders need YOUR input.

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Old 10-17-2011, 12:13 PM
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Default Poker Run Orgs/ Boat Builders need YOUR input.

In Sarasota over the weekend I was informed of a "focus group" of Poker Run organizers and other marine industry icons that was for the purpose of helping the events and industry rebound.
Present at the meeting were several builders, dealers, service providers and the assorted poker run organizers. The forum was to be an open discussion.
Upon learning of this I self-invited(crashed) the event and took LOTS of notes, even took the floor a few times.
Many, many valid ideas and points were discussed. The results may, or may not, trickle down to the boating world.
I will post a FEW of the many ideas and would appreciate any expansion on them. Please feel free to add any of your own and discuss.
I assure you I WILL pass along what is brought to light here.

The possible ideas:
1) Possible a-la-carte pricing for events. Such as locals that just want to participate in a large event having the option to pay just for run entry seperate from any fun-runs or event activities designed to provide a full weekend for out of town attendees.
2) Possible "one price" models for events so that entry includes the boat whether is has 2 or 10 occupants. No more $100++ for each additional rider etc. The thought is to encourage attendees to bring non owners into the lifestyle without sticker shock.
3) Outside entertainment or options that can include the local population to enhance participation of non-performance boaters. Concerts, street parties, parades, etc.
4) LOWER overall costs are an obvious help. It's certainly an issue and the ideas vary on how to make it work while keeping the event solvent.

5) The most important in my estimation:
Possible seperate card stops for different levels of performance, or non-performance, boats. This would be done as possible shorter courses for slower groups on one part of the waterway and longer legs for FAST boats on another part. That would be arranged for a likely completion at similar times for a lunch, or ending spot, that would allow everyone to be together again. This would hopefully stop the "intimidation" participants mention when the fastest boats traverse throught the same waters as other entrants.
6) The main thing everyone agreed on is the events need to be FUN. If the solution is a beach party, a concert, or anything else, the result needs to be the return of FUN.

The builders and service people all made the point that the poker run events will only grow as the industry recovers. The builders can't help the events much as they all have their own problems. This means each side is working to help the other but it will take a TEAM effort to help in any tangible way. All sides agreed that the ENTRY level boater needs to be courted, encouraged and catered to as much as the guys on their 5th $1M boat.

Please feel free to add anything you feel is relevant. Any ideas will be forwarded to the attendees. That's a promise.

Also, I attended this on my own, unofficially obviously, to get an outside perspective as I don't build, service or make my living in any way from the industry. Please go easy on my posts and opinions as my goal was to report all and help in anyway I can.

Thanks
Greg
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Old 10-17-2011, 12:18 PM
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good post Gregg

Lots to add just do not have time right now

I Hope the sport grows back
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Old 10-17-2011, 02:56 PM
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All ideas will be considered. Thinking outside the normal channels may save the sport we love.
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Old 10-17-2011, 03:20 PM
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7) free booze and hookers would get peoples attention...
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Old 10-17-2011, 03:37 PM
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I love this idea Gregg and I am glad you sat in on the meeting!

I love the idea of either different stops, shorter courses, and or different brackets in a poker run. It has worked very well for our club (NJPPC) to have a 60mph group that caters to the CC's, cruisers and smaller boats. I ran that all the time in my 29' Kryptonite to not be left behind and not beat the heck out of my equipment and crew. Also, NJPPC has a Blackjack run specifically for all boats under 30' and an "el cheapo" for $199 that is a bay run around with a bbq at night.

My biggest gripe isn't so much about the cost, it is what you get for your money. I have no problem paying $1000 or more if it includes a nice hotel, docking for the weekend, entry fee, lunch and dinner. I do have a problem with extra lunch/dinner tickets costing $50-70 and only getting a stale sandwich or fast food quality buffets.

I love the hoopla around 1000 Islands with all spectators and party feel to the whole town. I have missed the run for three years now but I am itching to go back because of the atmosphere.

I like the idea of ala cart as well, but it is hard to keep track of who gets what and where. As long as it is done simple it could work, maybe something like this:

Entry Fee: Includes Lunch and Awards.
Hotel: Choose from these 3 or 4 (Varying prices) or none (live local)
Slip: Yes/No (again live local)
Extras: more hands, more people, discounts from local restraunts and bars, etc.

The last thing that wasn't mentioned is the over saturation of events. Every weekend in the summer has an event or 10. I am many times forced to give up one run to run another. I don't want to do a run the week before another run I already pre-paid a good amount of money for. Also, it is hard to take enough time off to trailer to and from so many events. I have what is considered a high end boat but I am running it on a Budweiser budget. I can't afford to have it shipped all over the place and I can't afford to take that much time off every other weekend to tow it around.
It is hard to figure out which ones I should try to go out of my way to do.
The last part about the over saturation concerns the organizations themselves. I am specifically referring to two in particular (I have run with both, think highly of both Presidents, and will continue to run with both). Stepping on each other, adding runs that conflict, etc. will NOT help this sport of ours. I would think in this economy it would make more sense for all to work together, consolidate the runs each club does, and enhance them to bring up the boat count. Less events with better boat count should equal more profit then the other way around.

I love this sport and lifestyle, will never leave it, and know there are enough people who feel the same way. Things may change and evolve but just like offshore racing, it will still be here. Even if the clubs we know change or disappear, there are enough of us who want to keep doing this and will make things happen one way or another.

I am sure that if God allows, I will eventually be living a life like Bob the Builder!

Last edited by Tom A.; 10-17-2011 at 03:41 PM.
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Old 10-17-2011, 03:41 PM
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All ideas will be considered. Thinking outside the normal channels may save the sport we love.
Good post and thread buddy. I will comment after dinner.
(PS; You need to get a boat).
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Old 10-17-2011, 07:10 PM
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7) free booze and hookers would get peoples attention...
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Old 10-17-2011, 08:06 PM
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Jacksonville PR is one of the best events I have attended. It has quite a few highlights:
1. Central location to multiple states
2. Excellent dockage/truck + trailer storage (ramp isn't real convienent though)
3. Friday night party/food + beer included/ Saturday breakfast also included in addition to Saturday dinner (buffet but remember it is there to serve a lot of people)
4. Reasonable PR fee and Jacksonville Landing is right in the center of everything/offers plenty for all. Hotels are $200 a night or less
5. T-shirts/goody-sponsors bag/video/dockage/parking all included

If the Pyburn family can get a run like this organized as a annual charity run, there is no reason a poker run company couldn't do the same.

PR companies have lost a lot of advertisers (boat dealers, manufacturers, parts dealers etc) so unfortunately the events got real expensive and didn't seem to be as much fun anymore. PR's are a major source of sales for all boat companies so it would be in their best interest to make them popular again. Manufacturers like Nortech had seen their sales explode in the last decade coincidentally with the popularity of poker runs. Dealers like Fastboats used to be huge at every FPC event, seems like 1/2 the trucks/trailers had fastboats.com stickers on them.
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Old 10-17-2011, 08:53 PM
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Gregg, great thread and I will chime in later. I am curious who was in attendance and what were everyones thoughts after the meeting? Who was the organizer? Thanks
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Old 10-17-2011, 09:32 PM
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Gregg, great thread and I will chime in later. I am curious who was in attendance and what were everyones thoughts after the meeting? Who was the organizer? Thanks
Great Chuck, I will watch for your post.

I am not sure I should mention WHO was necessarily there, but since it was a PRA event in the same area, on the same weekend, one ORG may be obvious.

There were at least 4 current builders present, one former CEO of multiple companies, 3-4 service and/or PR concierge companies, 2-3 PR orgs and one PR rep from Bermuda. Various assistants and one film crew. All told about 20 people present and at least one uninvited guest.
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