Sunday, July 20, 2014

Listen To Your Market

I Have a Lot to Say

As a student of Henry Ford, I know well that Ford’s first business, the Detroit Auto Company, went out of business in 1901 amid customers' complaints and low satisfaction. 

His quote, “Failure is the opportunity to more intelligently begin again,” is ingrained in my life. I also believe that I must find the answers to questions sometimes in unconventional ways. 

While many will focus on the cancellation of the HellsGate GrandPrix as a potential failure, I choose instead to look at the success of the rest of our Silver State Jamboree, share my thanks with those that made it happen and gave me the support and took a chance.

What many do not know is that on Monday, July 14th, 2014, thirty-two people from across the country met in a closed-door meeting to work on a collaborative effort to change the way we maintain public access to open space for motorized recreation. This meeting was over 4 years in the making, and was something very important to Fred Wiley and myself. For the first time, we had three of the best environmental attorneys in a room together with leadership from most national OHV associations all working toward a common goal, exploring the creation of a National OHV office in Washington DC. While this is only the first step in the process, I have never attended a more productive OHV advocacy meeting. If all else had fallen apart, this meeting would have marked a high point in my career in off-roading.

On Tuesday, July 15th, 2014, both the Blue Ribbon Coalition and Off Road Business Association met for lengthy BOD Meetings. I can’t speak to the details of the BRC meeting, but my understanding is that it was an exceptional meeting. Our ORBA BOD meeting was extremely productive. In addition, there were a number of smaller OHV advocacy meetings held on Tuesday, including a meeting concerning the rights of snowmobiles. This further outlines my continued commitment to OHV advocacy, as Carrera Performance Group LLC provided the meeting space for these meetings free of charge.

On Wednesday, July 16th, 2014, we exceeded my expectations with the first running of RallyVenture. I will detail RallyVenture in a separate posting, but I can tell you our proof of concept will possibly change the face of 4WD competition and the way we promote our community. Our goals were many, and promoting the companies that participated, as well as our lifestyle, rank among the highest priority.

I had hoped, based on best practices, to garner 250,000 impressions with our test. What I found was that we could shatter this goal, with over 1.4 million impressions on Facebook and Instagram in less that twelve hours. The impressions continue to grow even now on Sunday night, four days after completion of the event.  I have been told that #RallyVenture was the top influencer in the world on Instagram on Wednesday, with Casey Currie in the #1 position, Nicole Johnson in #2, and Poison Spyder in #3. I look forward to exploring our total reach in greater details in the coming weeks. I think we might be on to something here.

Even with all the social media success of RallyVenture I am most proud of the concept that you can be challenged without the total destruction of your vehicle. The smiles on the entire Pellegrino family’s face were worth all the work. Hearing the stories of people getting lost, experiencing an adventure and seeing new places are what RallyVenture is all about. Our winners proved you don’t need a brand new high dollar vehicle to be competitive. In first place was Mike Lasher driving a 1992 Wrangler, second Bart Dixon in a 1999 Grand Cherokee, and third Harry Wagner driving what I believe was a 1978 Ford F150.  We only had two reported breakdowns, which included an alternator failure and a broken motor mount.

Work has already started on what the future of RallyVenture looks like, and for those that have requested information on participating, I am confident we will use an application process similar to the early KOH events, with the exception of applicants needing to have an Instagram account and a fully functioning Facebook fan page. Your followers will greatly increase your chances of getting into RallyVenture.

Our trail rides and consumer facing events went off without a hitch. The Genright Floatilla River Float proved to be a nice break from the week's activities, the Poison Spyder Trail Ride and Taco Bar was a great way to explore Virginia City, the PRP Pool party offered a great pre-game to what turned out to be a wild party called the Raceline Rodeo. Personally I have not had that much fun in a long time, and I am really glad I signed up to ride the bull. We expect to dial in these activities for next year and do a better job of getting the information out.

I am disappointed in Hellsgate. I am not sure what I could have done differently or what kind of incentive it would have taken to attract drivers. Scheduling would no doubt always be an issue as the event schedule is just busy. It’s a shame that the current format takes such a toll on vehicles that we could not field more than 6 teams to participate. I thought the opportunity to race in front of grandstands full of people might have been enough, but we added the potential $20,000 purse, and payout to 10th place to be safe. In the end, it did not prove enough to offer a show worthy the price of admission and I was faced with no choice but to cancel. The facility is top notch, and Norm Dianda is an amazing person who hopes to attract motorsports events to Northern Nevada.  I am most disappointed in failing his vision.

I am really not sure if I will be in a position to host another race of the caliber of Hellsgate due to the financial loss that resulted in cancelling the event. We have had plenty of grassroots rock racing, my hope was to offer a truly professional motorsports experience. Onsite beer sales, food, security, and a view of 85% of the race course from the safety of grandstands only five minutes from the Nugget Casino. Perhaps the participants of this type of motorsports are just not interested in this?  This being said, I plan on listening to my market and focusing on RallyVenture for the foreseeable future. At the very least, I now know the answer to a question I have had for over three years.

While I had very little interest in the promotion of a series before this week, I now feel the door is open to work toward providing service to the marketplace by whatever means necessary. It is very possible that the Next Generation of 4WD Adventure is exactly what the off-road community is looking for. RallyVenture is coming.

In closing, I want to thank a lot of people, for without this never would have been remotely possible.  First, my wife Angie for riding the Knollercoaster and not finding satisfaction with the merry go round.  Barbara and David Rainey for support, knowledge, and kind words in times of need. My Dad and stepmom Noey for willingness to work long hours for their son's dumb ideas, and Bill Kunz for giving me the opportunity to lead his company’s marketing department and learning that customer service and sales blows away cool any day.

In addition and in no particular order:
Chris Dowd
Elan LoMonaco
Scott Gertz
Gary Lambert
Al and Shirley Lockett
Eric and Scott Pender
Danny Grimes
Scotty G
Parker the RC King
Amanda, Lisa, Lauren, Sonja, and Bree from the Nugget
Trey Valentine
Greg Mulkey
Chris Rae
Cody Knoll
Chris Garrison Billet Rifle Systems
Jake Hallenbeck and his team for helping promote
DSI Dave Schneider
Don Gillman
Ty Erquiaga
Kevin Singleton
Norm Dianda
Abbi Whittaker and the Abbi Agency
Steve Gardner
Chad Antos and the Antos Agency
Advantage Print Solutions
Neal Hollingsworth and Yukon Gear
PRP Seats and Team
Axial Racing
Daystar Products
4 Wheel Parts
Summit Racing
Crawl Magazine
Kevin Carey
Larry Nickell
Larry Mcrae
Brent Goegebuer
Mark Turner
John Herrick
Jeff Johns
Scott Becker
Artie Nuttall
Harry Wagner
Rick Mooneyham
Nicole Johnson
Bryan Crofts
Mel Wade
Corey Osborne
Garrett Kittredge
Tony Pellegrino
Jake Hallenbeck
Ryan Taylor
Casey Currie
Bart Dixon
Del Albright
Mike Lasher
Kha Ly
If I forgot anyone I sincerely apologize as it’s been a heck of a week. I need a couple weeks to get our debt in order and than I will start working on the requested changes based on feedback from our teams.

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