Last weekend was the contest I had been organizing for the last two months or so. I figured maybe there would be other kids out there who want to have a contest but don’t know where to start. So I figured I would write down all of the steps I did to organize, and finally have the contest.
All contests start out with an idea, it just comes down to what kind you want to have. A jam at a skatepark, trails, a bunch of street spots. I think the easiest personaly is a skatepark just because it is there; there is no need to worry about constantly fixing it up or getting kicked out of the spot.
So you know you want to do the contest, and where you want it. Now, talk to your friends, get a feel for how into it they would be, see if they would be willing to help or at least throw some ideas in on how to make it good. Another thing you can do is check out bike forums like Bikeguide and The Come Up Board and just ask people what they would want in order to go to the contest. It also spreads the word too once you get it all figured out.
After you have that all figured out, set a date with the skatepark owner or your friends, something that works for a lot of people or gives people time to get work off. Skateparks are usually cool about doing contests, it brings a lot of people to their park and gets them a little cash out of it. Street is always there just make sure it isn’t when it is rush hour, unless you guys wanna deal with a ton of people and cars if you are in a big city. Trails obviously, if you don’t want people to mess them up don’t have it there, or try and enforce the build to ride type thing as an entry fee or something.
Once the date and location is set see what you can come up for sponsors for the event, if it sounds like a promising deal a lot of companies won’t hessitate to send you stuff to toss out for prizes. Now don’t go trying to get free stuff from companies just telling them your having a contest and don’t, thats a dick move and will probably lessen the chances people who actually are having a contest can get stuff. The best way to ask is just hit up the websites of companies you are into and find an email, it is usually firstname.lastname@example.org, be polite and explain very clearly when, where, and your expectations of what will happen. I think because this website the companies trusted I was actually having a contest too so I think it might be harder if you are just a random kid, but it never hurts to try. Plus some companies will give you the heads up to grab a prize for yourself, but don’t take more than one or two things. I didn’t take anything until the day of and only from the prizes people said I could grab stuff from.
After you have that all planned, got some sponsors for the event, make a flyer. This may be harder for some of you kids without Photoshop or In-design but ask around if one of your friends is capable, or just take your time on MS-Paint and avoid the spray paint tool.
E-mail your flyer to websites like The Come Up, VitalBMX, Ride BMX, and any scene websites around the area.
Basically get people excited about the contest with when, where, how much, whose sponsoring it, what all is going on. Here is my flyer from the Renegade Contest
*Click to see full-sized
Just an FYI, it took two months for me to get the contest from idea to actual event, it may not take you that long but I feel like the more time the better just to promote the hell out of it and organize all the prizes from the sponsors.
The days before
When your in charge of a contest, don’t plan on making money. Actually, plan on spending money. I have no idea how much I spent, but I took a lot of my time, bought food for the grill out, and random other things. Also, making t-shirts for the event is always cool too. Team Dilly who had a street jam about 3 weeks ago made shirts for Team Dilly, they even had some for the Renegade Contest.
Photo Credits: Tristan Thiel
Lookin good plus being number 69 is a garuntee to getting chicks!
Also on the last few days before, remind people about the contest you know isn’t on the internet or around much to be constantly reminded of the event. That way those slackers won’t miss out.
The Day Of
So after all the work, the day has come for the contest. Pack up all the product and get to the skatepark early to sweep and mop up the ramps. Usually if your doing something right other people will be there to help out. The trails also will always need some work, or just get to the meeting spot for the jam just so you can get your head straight on where this is all going. Be prepared with sign up sheets and plan out how you want to run the contest, avoid single person runs people hate riding alone in contests and typically it takes a lot longer to do, so throw like 3-5 people together in a run. If you don’t have judges planned, talk to some of the people who are in the upper class and ask them to judge the lower classes, then replace the original judges when they have to ride. Also find a person to run the mic if you haven’t found one yet, if your in Minnesota I would suggest Jay Schill(sp) he was an awesome MC for the event I had and totally unplanned. If you got the cash pay Catfish to fly over and do his thing, he will be all about it plus he gets the crowd amped.
Contest is underway
Being in charge sucks, but it is worth it. The odds are you will have little or a lot less time to ride than the people just coming to compete/ride. I barely touched my bike because I was running around checking on juding scores making sure nobody is getting favored, keeping the contest running, replacing battaries in the mic, all sorts of random stuff. Have your prizes for the top 3-6 places for the different classes depending on how much stuff you have to give away. Also make sure you have a little extra to throw out for the crowd or other random games like footdown. If things were planned well enough they should just run on its own with little need to fix things.
The Contest is Over
You gave out all the prizes, nobody died, people had fun, and it was a good time for you. At least thats all we can hope for right? Help clean up the park, trails, street spots you rode. Thank the owners of the park or trails if you don’t have anything to do with that, and make sure everything is good to go before you take off to pass out from all the excitement.
So that is my views on how to set up a contest. It might not be very clear but that is how it goes for me. I have had 5 different contests since I was 13 (yes 13 and I was organizing contests) I am 19 now. So I have had about one a year, minus one year. So hopefully my insight has helped a bit and you will think about doing a contest if your motivated enough. E-mail me at BMXrochester@hotmail.com if you have any questions on things I forgot I am willing to help you out.