Thursday, October 23, 2008

ODDE is history

The first annual Interbike On Dirt Demo East is officially in the history books. Held October 21st and 22nd at Roger Williams Park in Providence, RI, this event was about as far on the East Coast as you could possibly get.

I have to admit that given the fact that this was the inaugural event and the list of suppliers attending was a bit on the short side as compared to its sister event held during Interbike Las Vegas, I really didn't didn't know what to expect from ODDE.

There was only one way to find out, so Tim "Masi Guy" Jackson, James Ayres (our Eastern Regional Sales Manager, and I made the trip out there. Luckily, we didn't have to drive the rig out East like we originally thought we were going to have to do...we were fortunate to secure the services of rig driver extraordinaire, Shannon Troglia. Shannon's a former BMX pro who makes his living driving and setting up for events like this, so it was so nice to have another crew member who was familiar with the drill.

We had a fairly early wake-up call for the first day since we had bikes to unload and get the pit area all set up for the dealers who would (hopefully) be flocking to the event. The event started at 9am...and unlike the On Dirt Demo held in Las Vegas, there were not the busloads of people salivating liked caged tigers waiting to bust through the gates to get to the bikes they wanted to demo. But nonetheless, even though the event got off to a slow start, the crowds started to build by about 10am or so...and pretty soon we were shuffling bikes in and out of the booth.

Day One wasn't complete chaos like the Las Vegas On Dirt Demo never fails to be, but it was just busy enough to keep us on our toes and never really let us sit down. Our new Beasley 650B bikes were a HUGE hit...they seemed to go out as fast as they came in. Everyone seemed to really love them; getting the positive feedback on a bike we've worked really hard on to get right was really rewarding.

Day Two wasn't quite as pleasant. It was really cold (like 45 degrees...and by my candy-ass California standards, that's COLD!) and it drizzled on and off all day. Needless to say, we didn't get a ton of traffic through the event so we really didn't send out all that many demos. There was a couple of guys from Upstate NY who braved the weather and took out Beasley SS bikes; when they brought the bikes back, they commented about how much fun the bikes were and headed off to ride more bikes. A few hours later, these guys made a point to come back and tell us that they were awarding the Beasley bikes they rode "Best in Show"...they said they were the best bikes they rode at the event. So that alone made standing in the cold, wet booth all worthwhile!

The biggest difference I noticed with the East Coast crowd as compared to the Las Vegas event is all the dealers seemed much more focused on what they want to accomplish. Most all of the dealers we spoke to had some sort of an agenda. Some weren't happy with one of their current brands, so they were exploring their options. Some were already Haro dealers who wanted to try what they just put on their preseason orders. Some wanted to meet their respective sales reps to see the line. There seemed to much less of the "joyriding" you often get at the Las Vegas event.

It goes without saying that the venue at Roger Williams Park was beautiful! The park is huge with lots of greenery, lakes, and gardens. The demo trail loop was short, but really fun. Having a shorter loop like this one was nice since it kept the bikes flowing in and out of our booth nicely.

I'm hoping more suppliers support ODDE next year. I'm sure many took on a "wait and see" approach where they'll wait to hear some feedback on the first event before committing to it next year. Everyone from Haro that attended felt like we got good value out of the event, so we'll likely be back next year.

I'm also hoping that Interbike will possibly consider moving the event to an earlier date so we can be a little more guaranteed of better weather. The second day of the event was poorly attended; I think the crappy weather played a big role in that.

Overall, I was really impressed with ODDE and I'm glad Haro could be a part of it. We'd like to extend a big "thank you" to all of the folks at Interbike for all of your hard work! (And I'd like to personally thank you for the really cool special ODDE/Interbike wool jersey made by none other than the great Earth, Wind, and Rider!)

Happy trails, ya'll...

(Below are some pictures taken from around the venue at Roger Williams Park)


Tim Jackson- Masi Guy said...

Well said BBB! It was FUN and a great event for an inaugural one... day two would've been much better with better weather... the retailers were much more focused and targeted with their time... the folks at IB deserve a big "atta boy" for the hard work that was done... the EW&R jerseys do rock!

Anonymous said...

BBB - Wow sounds Like you had an amazing trip to my side of the country ! I love the Pictures you took of the Park ! Chat with you later, Give tommie a hug for me...

ex euro pro