Boosting Club Membership

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Re: Boosting Club Membership

Postby Tork » Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:23 am

Thanks to everyone for their time and ideas. I agree with much of what has been said here. We have had visitors try out the hobby but the interest just isn't there. I fear the aging of the slot racers is a serious problem. We keep trying but we've had no success in expanding our group.

- Jon
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Re: Boosting Club Membership

Postby frank9129 » Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:26 am

I have no idea what it is with the slot car racers in my area. I have been inviting people for about 9 years. ONLY ONE RACE IN THAT TIME. :violence-stickwhack:
In the mean time I run races for kids at various venues. A lot of kinds know me and greet me in stores to find where the next race will be held.
Many fathers enjoy racing but don't come when invited.
I have even offered to take my track to them. No dice. What gives??? :angry-tappingfoot:
I am building a larger portable track to see if I can spark some interest. We will see. My current is a routed 4'x16' flat oval. I run Artin cars for the kids. I also run the track in 12 volts to make it exciting for them.
Good luck. see Crab Alley Speedway on facebook.com.
Frank
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Re: Boosting Club Membership

Postby Fast Co. » Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:55 am

Some entrepreneurial spirit needs to construct a slot racing themed "retirement" community. It should have an over-sized club house that is home to a at least a half dozen slot tracks. Then, we could all sell our homes and move into this community and enjoy a regular schedule of slot racing with like-minded friends. Only question is - where should this slot nirvana be built?
Steve
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Re: Boosting Club Membership

Postby Wallydog69 » Fri Oct 13, 2017 1:32 pm

I just joined this forum and thought I would give my 2 cents as someone who is just discovering this hobby and community. I'm the father of a 5 yr old and purchased a Carrera Go!!! set at a big box store for my son's birthday. He loves it and it holds his interest. I love it because its fun time I can spend with my son especially on rainy days and it brings back fond memories of childhood. I had one of those old Tyco sets.

Getting folks to join a racing club seems a bit of a reach when the community seems not terribly inviting to newcomers. Here's what I mean... The main slotcar forum from my google search doesn't let you or makes it too hard to register and join. Most forum members seem experienced enthusiasts with many of the posts focused in areas where the casual newcomer isn't able to contribute and so they might leave or go somewhere else. Even though there's a lot of anonymity on forums it's still intimidating to post questions that others may view as stupid.

I think fathers of young children are a really good demographic to go after since most of us grew up with these sets and now have children we can introduce them to but that also means engaging folks that have been away from this hobby for about 30+ yrs and may view it as a toy and not a serious hobby. I personally was surprised at how much tinkering folks put into their cars and electronics but that only came after trying to find some fun track layouts for my son of which I found none. It's easier to find a mockup of the Nurburgring (cool for me..not so much for my 5 yr old) than something fun with jumps and loops.

Another entry point into the hobby is as a STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) toy. The gearing, arduino computer coding and electrical engineering involved makes it vastly appealing to budding young engineers and proud parents who prioritize that type of learning.

It will probably take some effort growing the community with father & son/daughter events before you see a return to racing clubs of yesteryear.

Hope you found these comments useful and hope I didn't offed any of the die hard folks.
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Re: Boosting Club Membership

Postby btaylor » Sat Oct 14, 2017 6:35 am

I can offer up something that has worked for me. It takes a small investment, but worth every penny to me. I started what I call theme racing. I invited some folks that had raced here before to a 2.4 Hrs of Lemans race. Offered up burgers and dogs,chips and drinks. I had some show up, and we had a great time. since then, a couple have came back to practice for the next theme race scheduled for the 21st of this month. I used social media to hype it a bit, a few poster like pictures, and all of a sudden I have racers! This time I have sprung for a rather cool first place prize to the winner of the big race that day. And have planned another endurance style race featuring the 12 hrs of sebring circa 1965. It might not work for everybody, but it has worked for me. Time will tell if it has new comers staying, but I am trying! this is the prize to the next winner just as an example.
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Re: Boosting Club Membership

Postby mattb » Sat Oct 14, 2017 11:09 am

All good replies here, but I feel you need my 2 cents also! We are a very small hobby and home racing does have a few young people, but still mostly 50-70 year olds. Lot's of people don't like to admit this, but it is pretty true. This is a hobby left over from the 60's and not something that has been big with kids since 1967. If you discuss HO, you might move the timeline forward, but for big cars the late 60's was the end of an era. Commercial racing 1/24, you can almost forget kids totally. So accept that outside a few instances, kids are not really a big part.

That leaves adults and older guys that know slot racing from the 60's. That is really a fairly diverse group, 1/24 speed guys, 1/24 modeler guys, 1/32 modelers, 1/32 plastic car guys, 1/32 scratch builders, resin guys, then add digital and analog, magnets, landscaped tracks, plain commercial looking tracks, lot of different interests, but still slot car guys. There is some crossover, but a lot of guys could care less about plastic cars or digital, lots of guys want magnets and stick like glue, a lot have their own interests and don't care about different stuff. That means you may not be able to recruit current hobbyists to your type of racing.

You try to recruit friends or newbies and this is your best target group. You have to make this fun for new guys. You need to have user friendly cars they can run and a track that is fairly easy to run on and not spaghetti thrown on the wall. Quickest way for new guys to lose interest is to not be able to make a lap without having to go put their car back on. This means that you may have to build their cars since they have no knowledge of how to build and setup. You also have to let them have fun and just play with slot cars. forget organized racing and just run heat of the moment crash and burn racing. If the newbies stick with it, let them tell you when they want a "real" race. Actually a race is anytime a guy pulls up next to you and hits the gas!
Best way to have them come back is to make it fun and to spend time as friends and not just slot racers. Most nights we set around 1/2 the time we are at the track just talking to guys or showing them how we fix/work on a car or their car.

We are a small group and it really only takes 3-4 guys to have fun racing. Hopefully home racing will survive the rest of our lifetimes. I look for commercial track racing to be nearly non-existent in the next 20 years or so! Some guys like to think this won't keep fading, just like the Lionel guys keep thinking the prices for old trains will come back up to where they were in the 70's and 80's. You can always move to Europe where 1/32 racing is much more popular than over here!
pix of a few...old slot cars and tracks
http://s229.photobucket.com/user/matts65/library/
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Re: Boosting Club Membership

Postby frank9129 » Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:04 pm

Do you think I raised a little interest?
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I have been hosting a race at this school for the past 9 years. Some of the kids come back just to get a chance to race.
Just my 2 cents.
Frank
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Re: Boosting Club Membership

Postby Mark » Tue Oct 17, 2017 2:24 pm

I think this is a matter that many clubs/groups are experiencing and will continue to experience as time passes.

People's changing interests, people moving, retirement, life getting in the way, etc. all contribute to a decline in numbers. Our club has declined to less than half of its peak number today and from as many as 5 active tracks down to one - it's a shame, but it's not necessarily the fault of the hobby per say or the fact that we're getting old (I'm 32, and our oldest at point was in his late 60s). It has more to do with the reasons I stated earlier.

The remainder of our group are now having to discuss the very same thing you posed, Tork. How are we going to attract new people into our group?

Lucky for us, we've got a local 1/32 commercial NINCO track in the metro-Atlanta area that we can possibly pull from - ironically, this very same track is where our group met each other and got started. Over the years, we transitioned from plastic tracks to routed wood tracks, and I'll have to admit that I believe this transition partly contributed to the declining interests from "outsiders". The large NINCO track we raced on and loved for years attracted many people - the shear size of the track (350 ft 6-lane NINCO) and the 30-35mph high-powered magnet cars that created the buzz. Heck, it got me to step into the store and the rest is history. The last handful of folks we've invited to our routed wood tracks from this NINCO commercial track attended once and never came back. It's not the same, they said. It's not exciting, they said.

Our group is realizing that the "hardcore", racing side of slotcars on wood tracks is not as attractive to the majority of new comers. Let's face it - it takes a lot of effort to not have plastic 1/32 slotcar sound like a box of rocks on a wood track. To make it worse, a new comer jumping into a group of experienced racers takes a boat load of dedication to become competitive, and this is where the club really has to step in. Being helpful, open, and giving good advise is crucial in retaining the newbies. Going public with your club is not a bad idea and may be the only option for many, but I find that attracts more one-and-done type of folks. If possible, being strategic with where you showcase the hobby and your club will work out better - the local track, 1:1 race tracks, car meets, etc.

One more thing - I'm not sure about some of you folks with home tracks, but I always like to somewhat get to know a person first before inviting them over to my house. I've always felt this is a major limitation of home-based clubs.

Maybe in 15 more years, races will be held by some guy in his basement...with some cars he prepared...some place in the world...with voltage controllers wired to the interwebs...with racers controlling cars via a computer screen and a USB wired DiFalco controller.
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Re: Boosting Club Membership

Postby Modlerbob » Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:09 pm

I've had my track for 6 years now and have never been able to get more than five racers to show up at the same time. And even then then it isn't very often. Usually only two other racers show up on race night. I've put out flyers and left them in the local hobby shops with little positive result. The one exception was in the summer of 2016 when I had a table at a local hobby swap meet with a box of 1/32 slot cars for sale. A person I had never met before walked by my table and noticed the slot cars and stared asking questions, like where is a track where I can race 1/32 cars. Since then he has become a good friend and has shown up almost every week. Most of the time we just run 1 v. 1 for a couple of hours. Most of the rest of the time I run laps alone. I'm still hoping we can find just a couple more slot car nuts to make the club complete.
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