Boosting Club Membership

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Boosting Club Membership

Postby Tork » Mon May 08, 2017 7:52 am

I rejoined my local slot car club in the spring of 2012. Since then I have watched the membership dwindle to the point that, everyone must show up or there is no racing. We have tried unsuccessfully to add members but guests fail to join after one or more visits. Others do not bother to accept our invitations to attend and give slot cars a chance. We are an aging group ranging in age from 55 to 66 that needs some help or our club is going to fail with the loss of the next member. There are other clubs in the area but their members seem reluctant to race with us for reasons I do not know.

Our two basement tracks are located in Bolingbrook and Plainfield IL which are near Joliet. We need some ideas for adding members that we might have overlooked. :text-feedback:
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Re: Boosting Club Membership

Postby RichD » Tue May 09, 2017 8:02 am

I race with a 1/32nd club and an HO club, in both cases finding new members has been very difficult. For a start few people are interested in slot racing. I worked at a place that had over a thousand employees at one time and I was the only one in the hobby. I have tried posting flyers in local libraries and hobby shops. I post pictures, fliers and race results for our events on a number of slot BBs. I have gotten a few hits that way and had people over to take a spin on my track, but that has generated no new members. My 1/32nd club has a really nice portable track and it was our intention to set that up at a major car show in the area. Doing that would take a major effort since those are outdoor events the weather could be a problem, so thus far it has not happened.
Things have changed a lot since slot racing peaked in the '60's. People now seem to have less free time, they work longer hours and/or have a longer commute. If they have kids dealing with their activities takes up a larger percentage of their time than it would have in the past.
Probably your best bet is to connect with people that raced in the past and were not aware that slot racing still exists. If you used to race with someone years ago and have lost contact with them you could try using social media to reconnect. If you manage to do that you might also hook up with the people that he is still in contact with.
Last edited by RichD on Wed May 10, 2017 12:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Boosting Club Membership

Postby SuperSlab » Tue May 09, 2017 9:10 am

RichD wrote:Probably your best bet is to contact with people that raced in the past and were not aware that slot racing still exists.

To quote my good friend Mr. Shakespeare: "Ay, there's the rub."

A couple of us we were talking about the future of the hobby at our races last week. If we are honest with ourselves we will have to admit that this is a hobby of old people who experienced the heady days of slot racing in the sixties. Not exclusively obviously but not far from it. I personally have come to the sad conclusion that, as this demographic dies off, likely so will the hobby. At the root of the hobby is a love of cars and car racing. This is something that is just not important anymore in the world of almost all millennials. A lot of young people no longer even bother with getting drivers licenses or cars: an unthinkable/incomprehensible state of affairs for those of us who grew up in the sixties. A dramatic swing to self driving cars is in our near future. Horsepower is considered a dirty word (literally, as it is associated with messing up the environment!).

I am extremely sad to say that I am not very optimistic about the future of the hobby.

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Re: Boosting Club Membership

Postby Mitch58 » Tue May 09, 2017 9:24 am

I've found that a lot of today's kids are just used the flashing lights and sounds of electronic games. When our boys were in their early teens I set up an HO track on an 18X4 table and as long as I was there racing with them they had a blast, but as soon as I left the room they would gravitate back the X-Box. At some point I had picked up a large box of Strombecker track at a flea market Eventually I got around to setting it up. None of the start tracks were any good so I was trying to figure out another way to wire it. There was another guy in Portland that was on Facebook that had posted some slot car stuff from time to time so I contacted him about wiring the track. It turned out there was a thriving club in Portland with four or five tracks, a mix of routed and plastic. At our Bi-weekly racing we get around ten to fifteen racers regularly. At our Scheduled club events we'll often get twenty to twenty five racers as the families and kids that can't make it during the week are there. But most of our regular racers are in their 50s and 60s. We have a few younger racers but every year we all get a little older. Until I got in touch with Bill at NASTE I had no idea that there were any groups racing at all. There may be a lot of other people like me who would like to race but don't realize any one else it doing it. Some of these guys never stopped, they've been racing since the 60s, they are the hard ones to beat. NASTE itself is in it's 21st year. There are also a couple of other clubs in the area that race 1/24th so some of us will mix and match a bit, they'll come race with us and we'll go race with them.
Last edited by Mitch58 on Wed May 10, 2017 7:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Boosting Club Membership

Postby RazorJon » Tue May 09, 2017 9:42 am

build a small portable track, even a 1 lane slop track

get a few guys and hit the local car shows, set up a table show off a few cars, set up a few Carrera cars with the price :o

you might hook a few racers :music-rockout:

If that don't work just put up the free beer and food sign :auto-driving:
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Re: Boosting Club Membership

Postby Radarek » Tue May 09, 2017 3:05 pm

Ok try this....

1. Birthday parties.... start with your kids or grandkids.... get wife involved. .. turn the voltage down to 6 volts and get some scalextric star wars like vehicles. ..every kid loves star wars.

2. Talk to your local hobby stores and make deal that you can put a sticker with your club logo and free yearly membership on every set box of slotcars and whoever bring that sticker back to club is granted of free membership
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Re: Boosting Club Membership

Postby Kemtronracer » Tue May 09, 2017 3:45 pm

Promoting a club is tough business these days. I have found more new members from blogs like this one. About once a month I perform a search on the blogs "Carolina" to see if there are any new members in my area. It does help if everyone puts their location in their details on the blog and please use the map function that Harry has setup. I have also had some success with a simple bumper sticker on my car that includes an email address for contact info.
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Re: Boosting Club Membership

Postby proxieken » Tue May 09, 2017 6:39 pm

We had a group meeting pretty regular, but I had to stop hosting due to being on second shift now and having to work evenings.

Even before this happened, we were having a lot less attendance. The last 4-5 times I try to host a race night we had maybe 3-4 people. Sometimes less. I cancelled repeatedly due to everyone telling me they could not make it. It occurred to me that maybe people were just bored and would rather be watching TV. We ran Carrera digital so 6-7 is ideal.

I am not sure what happened, and the group did meet at another track last week. For me, my work shift is impossible for activities such as racing with a group. I will be stuck on it for the rest of the year it seems. I am not sure why everyone else seemed to lose interest.

My track has not seen use in about a year, and I stopped buying cars. I guess the last part is a positive for my wallet. I am thinking about taking it down and converting it in to a portable track to use at events. There is a local comic store with a huge basement and they want me to set up a track and show the kids. I might do this if time allows. Right now work is 7 days a week so nothing is really going to happen soon.
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Re: Boosting Club Membership

Postby CrockettNZ » Wed May 10, 2017 12:09 am

we have the same problem here in my club which has several home based tracks
I am in New Zealand and my home town is Napier
there are 2 clubs here that I am aware of
my club is 1/32 on no mag wood tracks the other is plastic and they use magnets
the last time I was talking to the owner of the plastic track he said he all they are interested in is loading the cars up with ton's of magnets and winding the volts up to around 18v and going as fast as they can
we had one of them come around to a club night and he was not interested in what we where doing and we are not interested in what they are doing
we have had the odd person come and check it out but that is as far as it goes
I was mostly into building models when I was young but did race on a wood track at a arcade parlor from time to time
when I got into slot racer again a few years back I fell in love with straight away
it combines my love of building models and putting motors in them and go racing
but I think guy's like me are very few and far between
technology has taken over and I feel that there is no getting away from that
most kids today wouldn't know how to build, tinker or fix anything mechanical now days and have no interest in doing so
Slot cars are my drug
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Re: Boosting Club Membership

Postby HomeRacingWorld » Wed May 10, 2017 7:01 am

I'm a ridiculous optimist. I see plenty of very successful clubs/groups that have main ages that were not around in the "heyday" of the 60's.

I'm one of them.

Use the tools already suggested. Social media like Facebook can be your ally. Sites like this work well, but nothing compared to the giants out there.

But keep posting in our Club Connection forum. Take photos and share them. If perspective members visit here and do not see anything posted from your group, how then can they know???

A couple photos of a typical race night showing the cars and tracks answers more questions than anything else.

Put your flyers up as you have been. Especially in any local hobby shops that allow it. Old school networking still does the trick.

Not knowing what or how you conduct race meetings is another story. I have visited groups that spent more time on rules than fun. It wasn't for me so I simply didn't return. For some, the thought of just getting together for some fun running is a waste of time. But you would be surprised how many simply like to get away for a night and just play.

In any case, never give up. I see new faces start this hobby all the time. In fact, some that were around 10 years ago and either burned out or had life get in the way are now returning.

Just keep enjoying your hobby and share it globally as often as you can. Like it or not, that screen in front of you can be the most powerful, productive tool on your bench. :auto-checkeredflag:
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"They didn't say you couldn't" - Smokey

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Re: Boosting Club Membership

Postby 4380r » Wed May 10, 2017 8:54 am

HomeRacingWorld wrote:Put your flyers up as you have been. Especially in any local hobby shops that allow it. Old school networking still does the trick.


Hobby Shop? What's that? I think there used to be one locally, but it went out of business right before the buggy whip shop closed.

But seriously, I live mid-way between Baltimore/Washington. I've seen a half dozen local hobby shops, some of which tried half heartedly to sell slots, close in our area in the last few years. The last one within 2 hours drive of where I live...about 30 minutes away, is selling out its already small inventory of slots (some loose cars, sets, no parts) with no intentions of replacement. The shelf space likely will be going to drones or other RC stuff.
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Re: Boosting Club Membership

Postby HomeRacingWorld » Wed May 10, 2017 9:20 am

Yes, it's not easy to find a local Mom & Pop anymore. And even less for a shop that features our hobby.

My own "local" is 2 hours away. Luckily they have a very good slot car area.

I know one group that used local grocery stores who still use the corkboard for the general public. Even our local Wal-Mart allows it.

Changing with the times. Or as a great man once said: "Adapt, Overcome, Improvise".

I know several hobby shops that cater directly to our hobby and are thriving.

I see them post globally from Facebook to HRW. They are not hiding "back in the day" with just a listing in the Yellow Pages (remember those?). They publish photos, latest news, full race reports, etc. Doing what they can to reach as many as possible.

Using the devices in the palm of their hand to the box on their desks. And almost every time they publish, a few new faces pop up asking directions. Some stay, some go. Its that way in almost any hobby or pastime.

Same goes for home clubs. The more you publicize yourself, the better.
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Re: Boosting Club Membership

Postby RazorJon » Wed May 10, 2017 9:51 am

I am with Harry, as a manufacturer of The Tire Razor I see new folks joining the hobby all the time.

Crockett don't give up on those magnet guys, a bunch of us started with magnets and then a few years later went magless

I still like the Free Beer approach
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Re: Boosting Club Membership

Postby strangebrew » Wed May 10, 2017 1:02 pm

I don't know of any "clubs" in my area. A guy at the local tavern told me a few of his buddies race on plastic tracks in their basements,
but it's very informal.
They kinda' meet when they can in the winter & I'm sure it involves adult beverages. I haven't managed to hook up with 'em yet.
I belong to a 1:1 car club & a racing pigeon club. Same story, younger guys seem interested until they discover the time & money aspect.
Young people DO NOT want to commit to regular schedules, meetings, etc.
I think the best way to keep interest going is to have an open house now & again, including refreshments.
Keep the tracks simple & have some cars available for visitors to use. I think digital & blinding speed is too overwhelming for rookies.
................I've been at this off & on for 60 years & it is for me :doh: ......................
Just spend the time running laps for fun. Make it a party atmosphere.
Don't have newbies over & expect them to participate in organized race programs.
There's time for that after you get them hooked on the fun part.
Make sure the cars you run are familiar to the new guys. If you build a winding road course & there isn't a 1:1 version in the area,
I doubt the newbies will connect with that type of racing.
Some of you may know I build oval cars almost exclusively, predominently dirt cars. That's because there's been several bull rings
in the area since I was born & I'm 70 yrs. old. Dirt racing is what I know about. I myself, can't generate any interest in road courses.
(I'm a beer 'n burger guy, not a wine & cheezer) :lol:
Sorry.........I didn't intend to pontificate........ :teasing-blah: :teasing-blah: :teasing-blah:

P.S. I'm not sure folks have the time for all this ;) UNTIL THEY'RE RETIRED!!!!! ;)
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Re: Boosting Club Membership

Postby Ky.Slot Racer » Thu May 11, 2017 5:59 am

don`t give up Tork, but like Brew said, there are issues with getting the younger group interested enough to go the distance. It`s just the changing times and interest levels. kinda like cats :whistle: Many times the competition aspect sounds good, but when you do get new/younger members, they most likely have never been exposed to this hobby, and the tinkering/hands on side of things. So interest quickly disappears. We/our local club has had membership grow and decline over the years, but we always have just enough people show up to have a good time. We do things a bit different here though, there is no organized racing, no rules, no guidelines just fun. Hell I couldn't tell you how many Saturday nights I`ve not even picked up a controller. We have a very unique group, as usually 80% of our better halves show up at every Saturday night get together and hang out too. This makes for is a really great close nit group of members, actually more like a family. Try different approaches, you never know what will work, after all a good time is all you need to have.
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