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Just something that I've been noticing for a while, is there really room for people to watch what we do....or do we even want them to? Just this past weekend at a track I went to, only my second or third time there but I noticed that the people who come to watch don't really have any encouragement to do it. The racers are all pitted right next to the track so people have to wander through their pit area, upon which time they are watched like they are going to steal something, making them feel like they shouldn't be there so they leave, and one guy that had a small child with him literally held the kids arms and hands down as they walked next to a table and tried to get to the track, because the racer was on him like a hawk. I went and talked to the guy as I've been in this situation before and he was genuinely interested in getting started. But the first thing he asked was "is this a club or something or can anybody do this?" I was amazed at how closed out he felt.....next time you go and race take a look at the way things are setup and you'll see. Now I do know that alot of tracks have very limited space but is there anything that we can do to make people feel welcome to come in and ask questions or just watch to see what it is that "all those people with their cars parked together" or "the ones in the building out back" are doing.
 

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A sandwhich board outside the building saying "R/C Racing - Spectators Welcome" would probably do it. As far as individual racers making people feel unwelcome there isn't much you can do about that.

Personally if people ask questions I am more than happy to answer them, but I don't generally initiate things. I would feel kind of like a used car salesman going up to spectators and bugging them. Sometimes people are "just looking".
 

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I feel that in one way or another, we all were spectators at one time. I try to remember that when approached by someone interested in what we are doing. However, we do have alot of money invested in our cars and equipment, and unfortuneatly thieves exist. I guess it's a fine line between getting people interested and watching for your stuff on e-bay. jmo :wave:
 

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We WANT/NEED Spectators...which is why I'm a strong advocate for races in public places.

School Grounds, Speedways, Car Shows and OTHER public events make great ways to showcase our hobby. As a race director/promoter/announcer I make sure when I see non-racing spectators I talk the race UP more than normal...and address WHAT it is we are racing.

I've had dozens of comments from spectators telling me they had no idea how 'exciting' r/c racing could be, and to hear it being called like a professional sporting event lends itself to a little HYPE.

- NOW - if it were just easier to do PUBLIC EVENTS w/o having to pay HUGE insurance - or fill in the gap the ROAR doesn't cover.
 

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We had a trophy race Saturday and it was standing room only!!!You could hardly get to your pits for all the people watching.There was 84 entries and probably 20-30 spectators.The aisle between the pits and the track is only 6' wide.
 

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I think spectators are potential racers. They may have never seen RC before or they could have a car at home, researched where the track is and decided to come down. Most people that come are just 'taters.

The thing is any hobby costs money, and anything you race costs mo' money. Most times when they hear the money part, the wife has them long gone. Thank God for single guys with loads of discretionary income!

.
 

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I've had the pleasure of promoting two types of RC events throughout the years. One was the 6 years of promoting a national event called the RC Thunderdrome in California from 1987 to 1993 and the second was a retail Hobby shop in Arizona for 9 years. In both situations I always considered the spectators to be a key ellement. One reason is the potential for new racers and the other is the excitement level it creates for the racers.

The RC Thunderdrome events were quite unique with built in grandstands. During the "Insane Speed Run" on Saturday nights at the Encino track we had spectators 10 or 15 deep all around the track for nearly a 1/4 mile. It was quite a sight. The later events at Domingez Hills had grandstand seating for 5,000 people. We never quite filled those, but we did have gate admission with a bank of turnstiles. Of course we did huge promotions with local advertisers, TV, radio, national car magazines, and even the Goodyear Blimp at our events. We gave out four sets of Goodyear Eagle Tires as prize drawings to the spectators.

At our local Hobby Shop races I always kept the backstretch clear for spectators to park or watch from. The racers could not pit there. At special events we brought in portable bleachers as well. During announcing I always addressed the spectators and cross promoted the hobby Shop and local club. Our out door races were held at Target, Albertson's Grocery, Sam's Club, Home Depot, etc. Lot's of exposure and big crouds.

Guess what...in both cases we had great racer participation. The racers and spectators fed off each other and created a constant cycle of new racers. All hobby shops and clubs should do all they can to accommodate spectators. It will only make the racing more exciting and insure the longevity of your RC racing.

Gary McAllister
 

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TOME57

WIVES Come and Go - Racing is FOREVER...LOLOL

A good friend of mine made a deal w/ his wife - CALLED 'Matching Funds'

For every dollar SHE SPENT on HER hobbies - he got to spend an equal dollar on HIS - She had SEVERAL hobbies...he had ONE.

She bought a magazine about her hobby, a pair of scissors, a photo album, you name it...all the receipts into a box - add it up and he'd get to spend the same. (Her's went NICKEL and DIME - his went in large sums both were happy)
 

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If you do not currently have room at your track then do your best to make the room for spectators.

I have had the chance to help run and promote a track. We had a special area set aside just for spectators. We also advertized that spectators were welcome to come and watch the races and to talk to the racers. We had spectators at every Sunday afternoon race. It was one of the best ways to promote the sport. Mom's and Dad's would bring their kids to watch and then guess what---Mom and Dad were buying the kids cars to race. And even Mom and Dad would sometimes buy a car of their own to race with their kids. But the track also had a beginner class for the influx of the newbie's. The track also had beginner kits for spectators to purchase that included all the basics to get the car on the track to race. It was kinda a package deal. Spectators were welcomed and soon some became racers.

Getting the spectators to the track to watch the races is the best way to get the interest going in this sport. A prospective newbie has to see it to believe this sport exists.
 

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I see spectators as potential r/c racers. You will be surprised that some of those spectators already own an r/c car and are just checking things out. Most of the time they didn't know about organized racing.
My local track is right behind the lhs so we get alot of foot traffic from spectators. I usually just talk to them if they are standing in my pit area and sometimes if its an adult with their kids, I sometimes tell them they can pick it up and look at it closer.
I run oval and touring so most of the time I am telling them the difference between the two and they become curious. Also, my son races with me so the spectators with the kids is an attention grabber.
One thing I really like that one of our "guest" annoucer always did was describe the type of car and racing we are doing. How fast we are going and why the "leader" of the race was not car in front, since we race against the clock.
 

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I was a spectator for one race, a participant in the next. First time I saw a race I was hooked but my Timaya Fox was not what was needed. I was young and had a credit card, lol. I think it's all payed off by now.
 

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Spectators are us all 20 years ago !! I keep a spare off road truck in my pit space every Friday night where my kids and I run at the Megadrome Off Road Track. When someone new asked about how and what , we put a radio right in there hands and let them have a few laps during rounds. For one it is good exercise because you have to marshal them (haha) and second they get hooked and are back running novice class in a few weeks and then beating you in the next 4 months. I get more enjoyment out of that I think than racing myself. I know not everyone in the crowd will become a racer and I also have had a radio stolen out of our pit area a few years back, but that can't stop you from being friendly. It seems the ones that ask the questions are the ones that want to get involved. Help them out !! :thumbsup:
 

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Great topic guys!! When I was able to announce events more often I looked for non racers in the crowd because those people, in my eye, were the next group of "new" racers. I have always thought that a track or LHS should have "house cars" for folks like that to have an opprotunity to get a radio in his/her hands and experience the thrill of driving one of these things. I have also observed while at the track as a racer, the announcing did not create any excitment for those who have stopped by to check what was going on and seeing this action for the first time. I honestly feel that every announcer needs to keep this in the back of his/her mind that someone standing around the track is experiencing the thrill of r/c racing for the first time, you have to ask yourself....is the atmosphier exciting or not for the first timers???????

I don't know about you guys but it is a proven fact...people love to spend money, get involved when they are excited about something.

Doc Love
RaceTalkLive.Com
 

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There's always spectators at our track,I never hesitate to answer questions and be as polite as possible to them,this includes not going overboard about how much money it takes to race,actually I try to avoid the subject all together and focus on the fun factor.
 

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I have noticed that at our track in Colo. we seem to have alot better racing when there are alot of people watching. The guys I am lucky enough to race with are always more than willing to talk to the spectators when they walk through the pits. We are also a very kid friendly track. You have to be, because they are the ones who will be taking over and keeping the hobby alive in the future. If you treat them well they will be back. If you make them feel unwanted you may have just lost a future racer.
 
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