Discussion: Last minute A-meets
in: PG; PG > 2012-05-08;
Although I appreciate Vladimir's efforts to add more events to the Bay Area schedule, this type of last minute A-meet worries me. It didn't appear on any schedules until few weeks ago and was canceled very soon after. Not good for the sport.
From where I sit, it wasn't a last-minute A-meet. I've known about it since December or so, I've received emails about it, and it's been on Attackpoint, too. Vlad also sent fliers up to Seattle and were handed out at local events here. But maybe the only channels I'm exposed to happened to be the only channels where the event was publicized.
Get Lost!! has done two previous iterations of the sprint festival format, in November 2009 and November 2011. I attended both, and I would have already signed up and paid for the June 2012 event if it weren't for a family conflict.
Sure, a lot of people register at the last minute (I know this as well as anyone now, after organizing my first A-meet). But a good number of people register early, too. When you only have 11 people registered a month before the event, that's doesn't mean that you'll get 50-100 people register at the deadline.
And when Peter says, "If I had been going, I wouldn't have registered yet...". That's canceled out by me saying "I had had been going, I'd already be registered..."
When Rex, Vlad, and I were discussing this 2012 event last November, we basically concluded that most people don't like sprints. At all. So the plan for 2012 was to limit the "sprint tournament" portion to 30 participants (people like me who love sprints), and then everyone else could do a few middle distance races instead (everyone else, which could number in the 100's).
In 2009 and 2011, I thought the events had great maps, great courses, great competition, and were really fun. I certainly didn't feel like the organization was lacking. What I feel is missing is the acceptance of the event. I love the concept, but I'm in the minority.
I love sprints, and particularly multi-event formats such as this, though I'm unlikely to get very far in open elimination style tourneys. But having splurged on both NC & GA a-meets I knew I wasn't going to CA. And I also was aware of this event since late last year, though I don't recall the channels it was advertised in. But it certainly wasn't a last minute deal. Shame it was cancelled, hopefully it doesn't foster the idea that 'nobody' likes sprints.
I didn't know what to expect from this event. Struck me as slanted toward young fast guys. I wouldn't want to go all that way and be eliminated in the first round. Or maybe I don't understand?
Sounded similar to the Sprint Series Finals at Pawtuckaway a few years back - those were a blast. But I agree, there need to be B, C etc finals so those that don't make the cut can still run the remaining courses.
Everybody gets to run all of the courses.
After the 1st round, half advance to the winners' bracket, the other half to the losers' bracket. After the 2nd round, half of the top half advance to the win-win bracket, the bottom half to the win-lose bracket. And in the losers' bracket, the winners move to the lose-win bracket, the losers to the lose-lose bracket. And so on...
(Vlad has named all of these various brackets after animals, so you have the Antelopes, Badgers, Cheetahs, Greyhounds, etc, etc.)
It's "elimination style" in that once you fail to advance, you're "eliminated" from winning the tournament. But you still get to race in everything and you can still finish 5th, 9th, 17th, or whatever.
As a non-elite young guy, I've finished mid-pack in the 2009 and 2011 brackets. In 2009, I made the top half after the first round and then got crushed in subsequent rounds. In 2011, I botched the first round, and then did well in the bottom half.
I only have great admiration for the Get Lost events. But it could be my own health problems distracted me from seeing this event on the two schedules I regularly check, The BAOC web page and OUSA web page. If so I apologize.
Thanks for the clarification, Pink Socks. I would like to go if I could get out to CA at the right time. Perhaps next year.
Hey Peter, we would have been somewhat above break-even with the types of attendance we had at the last two Sprint events: 41 in November of 2011 (five Sprints), and 46 in March of 2012 (two Sprints). Sadly registrations weren't on pace for even this kind of turnout. Get Lost!! is unable to independently add events to BAOC's schedule, or to the schedule of Orienteering USA sanctioned events.
Organizing events in the Bay Area is expensive. The total for the permits for this year (four venues, four permits) was $1440, with additional $500 in deposits to the jurisdictions and $500 to Orienteering USA for sanctioning. Right now we simply don't have this money, and have already borrowed much more than I am comfortable with, mostly in order to make last year's two marquee events—the rogaine and the Sprints—happen. We have never paid a dime to the principals; Alexei, Rex, and me have been funding the venture out of our pockets, and putting in hundreds of hours of work. Since neither Rex nor Alexei are available as of right now, it looked like it'd be mostly me with 150+ hours of work and going deeper in the hole. I'm very sad about the inconvenience we caused to those who entered!
Apologies to George, I think I took George off our e-mail lists last November not knowing how things would turn out! I'll reverse that right now.
Oh, and thanks so much for the inspiration from way back Pawtuckaway. Rex and I have had that tournament in mind ever since! Sadly and ironically, no Sprint tournament has since attracted as great of attendance. Maybe everyone else just sucks as organizers compared to PG and willhawk or the Vancouver gang?
Pawtuckaway -- that was quite cool, but I was worried from day 1 of planning it that we wouldn't get what I call a critical mass, a sufficient number of people to make it work not just technically but in spirit too. Just cleared that threshold, but it wasn't easy.
And I know my reluctance to hold one of those early Sprint Series finals in the Bay Area was that same concern -- could we get enough people.
I don't know what the answer is. Lots of good ideas, but then they don't work, or they work for a while and then slowly fade. Good promotion started early makes a difference, but you still never know. I know that for each of the three finals I was involved with they were co-hosted by a club (UNO, DVOA, and WCOC), and there was a lot of communication to try and make sure the club was happy with what we were going to do. Took more effort, but a better result and both sides happier.
Right now we've got the 5-Day coming in a couple of weeks. Sort of crazy idea. But we are getting enough people that it is worth doing (and we will make a nice donation to the Ski-O team, a way of supporting our top athletes that I really like), even if I am going somewhat nuts right now. But my recollection is that that's been the case before every event I've ever put on.
Our permit costs by the way are between $100 and $200 total for the four venues. There was the possibility that they would charge us for staffing costs for events 1 and 2, but I've had a couple of lengthy visits with the park supervisor to review our plans, and he decided they didn't need to add any staff. It helped that there have been recent O events on the other parts of the park (Norwottuck and Mt. Tom), and the comments were that the orienteering group was a good group, probably the easiest they had to deal with. Very lucky.
And Phil managed to get permission for events 3 and 4 at no cost whatever.
T/D, could you co-organise with say a local organisation that needs to fundraise or some such?
Our event with WS, they did all the non-technical work and they advertised a lot in the local school district etc. We basically put on a local event and made almost 1000$ from ~80 participants and split it 50-50 with them. The were happy (afaik) and interested in repeating the venture.
Without their advertising, we might have had 30 participants and little or no profit.
I think it is a model that could be worth pursuing, certainly at the club level. I don't know if it would work as a business model.
Costs were - permit 0, WS land. Printing <100$. Advertising - <200$.
Food/snacks were done separately, WS sold some sandwiches and income hopefully covered their costs on that side.
We're trying to become friends with friends of parks. For a non-park organization, why would they mess with us when they can organize a 5k themselves or through a much bigger promoter (there is no shortage of these)? So, this model has relevance for our rogaines but not readily for other events.
Becoming friends with friends of parks is more work than some other promo channels, however. I'll let you know how the experience goes for our (also postponed, 2013) rogaines.
WS wanted more people around who know how to read a map. They get people (sometimes geocachers with poor battery-charging skills) wandering their property, getting lost, calling 911, police obliged to come, police don't know what to do because they can't read a map either...
You could move to northern Westchester - the market is totally untapped.
It seems like San Fran hasn't attracted huge crowds because:
a) the BAOC orienteers have good orienteering terrain nearby and a healthy schedule of events
b) San Fran is a long flight away for the orienteers keen on traveling. (Pawtuckaway worked because it's closer to more orienteers?)
I think Vancouver Sprint Camp is a success because:
a) GVOC doesn't have good orienteering terrain, so the Sprint Camp is a highlight (not a novelty) on their local schedule
b) CascadeOC is a large club within an easy drive, which also doesn't have good orienteering terrain, so the Sprint Camp is a great event for those that don't really travel for orienteering
c) COF has stressed the event as a "should attend" for the Canadian elites, so the best from throughout Canada come.
Both cities have fantastic sprint terrain, but Vancouver has a more captive audience, so more people participate.
This discussion thread is closed.