An open plea to Martelli bros., BITD or anyone willing to make a change

mp_tx

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We have lots of special events in Austin, TX. Right now is a huge one - SXSW. There are pop ups and events everywhere, lots of free or cheap alcohol flowing which always leads to issues, and Austin PD working OT at these locations.

The fix is easy, it just costs money. Mint 400 has a crew for each problem area. Open up the pocket book and hire whatever law enforcement has jurisdiction for the area. Mint 400 crew marshals the area, and if a spectator pushes back, the LE officer is there to step in. Generally, the visible presence of an LE officer is enough to deter 95 percent of the issues. There will always be the select few that want to push the limits, but it gets handled.

Like I mentioned in an earlier post, Mint 400 popularity and growth has outpaced its advertising, marketing, and planning infrastructure.


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ACME

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Seems all the issues are with the paid spectator areas and "paid-spectators", but not necessarily the true/seasoned race enthusiast.

I know it sounds crazy, but... do these Brofessional "spectators" really bring any value to the sport or just additional headaches? Why do we need them again? Other than bringing a dollars to the ticket sellers.

To the MINT lovers, I know it happens in Mexico as well but it's an open course down south so it's a different set of circumstances. Ironically Parker has the same racers (sans the UTV's) but seems better controlled and managed without inviting the fans in the paid spectator areas.

Maybe it's due to a different core management culture?
 

J Prich

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Like I mentioned in an earlier post, Mint 400 popularity and growth has outpaced its advertising, marketing, and planning infrastructure.


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What leads you to this conclusion, out of curiosity? You believe they have lost the handle on this because in one spectator area there are some sucky people?

I was there all week and frankly I didn't see anything that leads me to believe this things has become "too" big. Certainly there are things to clean up, there will be every single year. There were things that weren't perfect last year that were addressed this year, and things next year that will address shortfalls from this year.

I personally don't see a logical basis to conclude that this issue at this spot is evidence that stuff is somehow out of control. You're talking about a multi day event with 400+ participants, hundreds of volunteers, a multitude of events (that often run simultaneously), and tens of thousands of spectators spread out in various locations.

1,000 things that actually went really well in my opinion, 2 or 3 that need some attention. From that I can't get to the sky is falling, it's out of control...kind of conclusion.
 

MasTacos

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The mint 400 needs to be a 2-day race it would relieve a lot of The Spectator problems have the fast guys race on Saturday and the slow guys race on Sunday or vice versa

Heavy on the 'vice versa.' I think the proper vernacular is 'limited classes' and unlimited 'classes' but I get, and agree with your point.

Motos at 6am Sat
Utv's and slower cars and trucks at 1pm Sat
Faster guys on Sun at 6am

So you're going to ask Volunteers, who already shell out their own $$ to get to the race, take an extra vacation day off work and pay for an extra hotel room for the second day of Tech & Contingency to add another day because a handful of people can't control their poop?

Would racers be willing to pay more $$ to start paying to cover volunteer's costs?
 

J Prich

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Seems all the issues are with the paid spectator areas and "paid-spectators", but not necessarily the true/seasoned race enthusiast.

I know it sounds crazy, but... do these Brofessional "spectators" really bring any value to the sport or just additional headaches? Why do we need them again? Other than bringing a dollars to the ticket sellers.

To the MINT lovers, I know it happens in Mexico as well but it's an open course down south so it's a different set of circumstances. Ironically Parker has the same racers (sans the UTV's) but seems better controlled and managed without inviting the fans in the paid spectator areas.

Maybe it's due to a different core management culture?

How do you quantify which of the paid spectators are "real" spectators and which are illegitimate. I know plenty of genuine desert race enthusiasts who paid money and I believe that is not anecdotal. The last couple of years I myself bought parking passes to go watch the afternoon heat after our race finished. How is telling everyone they can't spectate in those areas a better solution than holding the people who violate the rules accountable? If 80% of the people are doing the right thing and are there for the right reason, why would you ruin that to get rid of the 20% who aren't acting right? Even if you could somehow quantify that all of the people who aren't acting right are just "brofessionals" and not real race fans...

The issue in my opinion is that particular spot is in high demand and it's starting to create a more "party" atmosphere. It's not happening, at least to this degree, in the other spectator areas so its obviously not systemic. If you establish rule enforcement, particularly in that spot, you allow the people who are there for the right reasons doing what they are supposed to do, and weed out the folks that aren't. If they don't want to respect the rest of the group, they can be shown the door.

It's really not complicated.
 

BigBlue&Goldie

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I'm willing to bet most racers don't care about spectator sections, VIP tents, celebrity ride alongs, etc., but MM is in it to make money, so that's what we have to deal with in order to race the Mint.
 

J Prich

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So you're going to ask Volunteers, who already shell out their own $$ to get to the race, take an extra vacation day off work and pay for an extra hotel room for the second day of Tech & Contingency to add another day because a handful of people can't control their ****?

Would racers be willing to pay more $$ to start paying to cover volunteer's costs?

With all due respect, yes. But not solely as a means to mitigate a spectator problem. The reasons to support a two day race go far beyond that. But at the end of the day, people either volunteer or they don't. The two day race needs to happen in my opinion and if I were a betting man I'd bet that it will happen.

If there aren't enough volunteers to support everything that's needed that the promoter will have to find ways to solve that. But being unwilling to ask volunteers if they voluntarily want to volunteer to support a two day event is not a valid reason to keep from moving towards a multi day race schedule.
 

J Prich

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I'm willing to bet most racers don't care about spectator sections, VIP tents, celebrity ride alongs, etc., but MM is in it to make money, so that's what we have to deal with in order to race the Mint.

Yeah, I hate capitalism too.
 

pwerwagn

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I had fun at the Mint. Was one of the better years, for sure. The 2-day Tech gave Thursday and Friday a much more laid back feel. I liked that. The crew's also seemed less "edgy", and less apt to want run over people in front of them. :)

I didn't make it out to any spec areas in the morning, partly because I never received parking passes. Oh well...no biggie. We watched from the start finish instead, then went to gold strike and caught a shuttle. The shuttle took us to 1 and then 2, then back to 1, then we made it back to the start/finish to watch the finish. I enjoyed spectator 4 the first year or two the race was moved south, but after that...it has been a party and I haven't enjoyed 4 in a long time, so we just don't go to 4. Easy fix. I also prefer 4 when the race course is ran the other direction.

The only complaint I *almost* had, was at the start finish. A bunch of people decided to jump the fence along the paved road, and sit in front of everyone along the fence who had been saving spots for hours. I don't understand why when 1 or 2 people break the rules, everyone else follows along like sheep and before you know it...200 people are in front of you. HOWEVER...within about 5 minutes, a course worker of some form came over and made them all go back over the fence. I hope they all lost their spots. :) MM fixed that problem before it became a problem.

I didn't like the VIP area in front of the stage, made the finish a little less personal than last year. But whatever...no biggie. Not like Bryce gave a crap if I was there watching him or not.

All in all, this was one of the funnest Mint's we've been to, and we've been going since before BITD/Mad Media was involved, and the Nugget was affordable. My kids told me it was their favorite. I agree. 2-3 years ago, we were done. But we got lured back in, and all the complaints we had have been fixed! Maybe soon we will actually bring the truck and race instead of spectating!

Good job Mad Media!

--Jeff and the ~30+ people that were with us
 

mp_tx

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What leads you to this conclusion, out of curiosity? You believe they have lost the handle on this because in one spectator area there are some sucky people?

I was there all week and frankly I didn't see anything that leads me to believe this things has become "too" big. Certainly there are things to clean up, there will be every single year. There were things that weren't perfect last year that were addressed this year, and things next year that will address shortfalls from this year.

I personally don't see a logical basis to conclude that this issue at this spot is evidence that stuff is somehow out of control. You're talking about a multi day event with 400+ participants, hundreds of volunteers, a multitude of events (that often run simultaneously), and tens of thousands of spectators spread out in various locations.

1,000 things that actually went really well in my opinion, 2 or 3 that need some attention. From that I can't get to the sky is falling, it's out of control...kind of conclusion.

My theory is based off experience participating and in planning special events for over 10years. Watching planners and promoters stick with the “it worked last year, so why change anything” attitude. I see it all the time, and the description of this issue sounds like a case study. As an event grows, so does the need to modify the framework and infrastructure to support the fan base. This sounds like a multi year issue, and yet I see no one reporting any changes observed over those years to fix the problems. This leads me to believe the problem is being ignored instead of fixed. Hopefully the Mint 400 folks have a structured after action review of the entire event. Problems are identified and plans created/changed/modified to fix it. If the same issue is occurring year after year, there is a problem in the planning process. Is that enough logic for you?


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J Prich

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My theory is based off experience participating and in planning special events for over 10years. Watching planners and promoters stick with the “it worked last year, so why change anything” attitude. I see it all the time, and the description of this issue sounds like a case study. As an event grows, so does the need to modify the framework and infrastructure to support the fan base. This sounds like a multi year issue, and yet I see no one reporting any changes observed over those years to fix the problems. This leads me to believe the problem is being ignored instead of fixed. Hopefully the Mint 400 folks have a structured after action review of the entire event. Problems are identified and plans created/changed/modified to fix it. If the same issue is occurring year after year, there is a problem in the planning process. Is that enough logic for you?


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Yeah thanks for sharing.
 
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"paid-spectators"

I believe that group would only include those who bought the VIP package.

Spectator areas are free admission, charge is for parking, IIRC.

Jeff's post #89 above appears to confirm that.

AZORP charged $10 admission at its recent Vulture Mine Race...no complaints on rdc.
 
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tooltime

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I'm willing to bet most racers don't care about spectator sections, VIP tents, celebrity ride alongs, etc., but MM is in it to make money, so that's what we have to deal with in order to race the Mint.
I would have to agree to disagree. I know racers appreciate all spectators as witnessed by an overwhelming number of them honking their horns repeatedly as they passed. When they honked, many spectators rose and cheered loudly.
Not to mention, once again the sport needs spectators. If there are no spectators, then history will repeat itself as in the early nineties when the deserts closed and the big corporate sponsors walked.
Also, as many mentioned earlier, these little issues can be fixed. And if the powers that be do have an after action meeting, this problem will most assuredly be brought up and hopefully fixed. I remain confident that after this and all the great commentary here alone, corrections will be made. I remain optimistic for the future. The Mint is the must see event of the year and I do like how big it has become and look forward to future growth. Growth is good for this sport. But with growth needs to be responsible infrastructure from within the organization. Big sponsors are here and the numbers are growing. Let's not close the deserts from the paying spectators. The spectators with whom the racers need, and the sponsors want. No exposure, no money for racers. Thank you all for the wonderful contributions of this topic.
 

baja_racer

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I wonder how we fixed these issues before the internet?
 
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I wonder how we fixed these issues before the internet?

Homing pigeons...??? lol

All in all our crew had a great time at this years Mint. Granted, I was pitting a couple trucks in the AM race. Once our race was over we had the chance to watch the Unlimited leaders fly by while we "slowly" drove back out towards Jean, and once again catch them by start/finish whilst enjoying some frosty beverages! I did notice Spec 4 looked a little crazy packed when we passed, but judging from what I've read here, I have no doubt MM and BITD will work to fix the issues next year.
 

Dave Cole 4454

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This is really silly. There were 5 spectator areas. By all accounts, four of them ran flawlessly. Figure out what they did differently and fix the single, isolated, identified problem.

Mad Media has demonstrated more than enough desire and capability to adapt and overcome the hurdles placed in front of them.

This too will pass.

Crazy concept...Id like to thank the staff and volunteers from both Mad Media and BITD for putting themselves out there to give racers a place to do their thing and trying to put us in front of as many people as possible. Additionally, thank you to the fans that did come...it's fun to put on a show.

Brutal and great race.

Cheers
 

MasTacos

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With all due respect, yes. But not solely as a means to mitigate a spectator problem. The reasons to support a two day race go far beyond that. But at the end of the day, people either volunteer or they don't. The two day race needs to happen in my opinion and if I were a betting man I'd bet that it will happen.

If there aren't enough volunteers to support everything that's needed that the promoter will have to find ways to solve that. But being unwilling to ask volunteers if they voluntarily want to volunteer to support a two day event is not a valid reason to keep from moving towards a multi day race schedule.

I've been volunteering at The Mint for the past 7 years now and I can tell you that all the folks out on the course, dragging racers out, helping at the cross-roads, teching your suits and helmets, doing contingency, etc are all there on their dime. If you say "no volunteers, so be it", then be prepared to either pay more for entry or have longer wait times in T&C, longer wait times on the course to be rescued and longer times for staging just as an example.

A 6 day event for volunteers (and those aren't even the ones who help set up and take down the course), all on their dime is going to mean fewer volunteers which means either spending more money for entries due to needing paid people to do it or having diminished service before/during/after the race.
 

J Prich

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I've been volunteering at The Mint for the past 7 years now and I can tell you that all the folks out on the course, dragging racers out, helping at the cross-roads, teching your suits and helmets, doing contingency, etc are all there on their dime. If you say "no volunteers, so be it", then be prepared to either pay more for entry or have longer wait times in T&C, longer wait times on the course to be rescued and longer times for staging just as an example.

A 6 day event for volunteers (and those aren't even the ones who help set up and take down the course), all on their dime is going to mean fewer volunteers which means either spending more money for entries due to needing paid people to do it or having diminished service before/during/after the race.
Don't mistake what I said for something it's not. It's not about disrespecting that amazing work that volunteers do. Everyone agrees that they are all great and we express our gratitude routinely. Many of our close friends over the years have been long term volunteers and were in tech and out on course this week...its not about disrespecting volunteers.

My point is a two day race makes sense for a lot of valid reasons. The potential lack of volunteers is not an obstacle that can't be overcome and is therefore not a reason to dismiss the possibility of doing it. Is it a challenge? Absolutely. Just like doing a two day tech instead of a one day tech was. But there were valid reasons for doing it so the made the leap, and it worked out.

There are a lot of potential solutions to the increased need for support/course workers for a two day race. My point is as I said previously, if Mad Media is able to go to a two day format (and I personally believe they should if they can) one of two things will happen. Either people will volunteer, or they won't. If they don't Mad Media can work through the range of solutions to work around it. Whether it be offering money or incentives to volunteers, requiring teams to provide a volunteer, or raising entry fees to pay to hire staff...there are solutions that are not show stoppers.

The bottom line is the increased need for volunteers/course workers for a two day race is not an insurmountable obstacle.
 

bajaboy7

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I dont think so. The traffic jams on Knight Ranch Road were the primary reason they went to a paid system, to control how many people could get out there. That was 2014 I think, the last year it was open season out there. I want to say 2015 was the first year they started doing the pay to park stuff.

But bottom line, totally agree that in spite of some of the nay sayers each year Mad Media has implemented new things in an effort to respond to feedback from racers. Never going to make everyone happy and not every attempted solution is going to be a home run but the bottom line is each year they listen to the gripes and complaints and almost always make some effort to remedy the problem.

I spoke to josh martelli after the race at the tree bar for 2 hours. He was very candid and talked about all kinds of crazy stuff and the dollar amounts it takes to make things happen at the mint. One of the things I took away from the conversation is that every year things get bigger and pose new challenges to solve. I know mad media is listening and will make improvements next year just like they have done in all the previous years.


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