Thursday, January 16, 2014

Freebees, Contests and the Real Prize

If you’re an avid rider as I am, and have a limited budget, you may drool from time to time over the contests and giveaways that are often splashed in ads. Typically these are to draw you into a vendor site, such as JP Cycle, or Cruiser Customizing. Even Harley offers entries to win an entire motorcycle, not just bling. I was fortunate in 2011 to actually win a contest sponsored by the Garage Girls and meet Sara Liberty et al. I also made a connection with Mary, the runner up. Mary and I both traveled to Carlisle Pennsylvania to attend the Bike Fest and claim our prizes. It was an exciting adventure. I also met a great number of people from the companies that sponsored all the prizes. The folks from Mustang and Kuryakyn are especially prominent in my mind. My new seat was installed on site in addition to my new accessories at Kuryakyn. Everyone was especially helpful and treated Blaze with the utmost care.

Yesterday I stumbled upon a notice that the Carlisle Bike Fest would not be held this year. Here is the official notice.
"Carlisle Bike Fest is primarily held at a privately owned venue and backed by a singular privately owned company. While we were able to offer a vending and entertainment mix appealing to riders, we simply aren't able to sustain the event to the level it needs to be at this point. Everyone who came to Carlisle as well as the riders on staff enjoyed the ride, literally and figuratively. We thank everyone for their support over the past 12 years."

I can understand the revenue and logistics it takes to run an event like this. Yet, the retirement of this event is hitting close to my heart. I have such fond memories from my visit to Carlisle. I realized too that entering and even winning the contest was only a small part what this event sent home with me. Even now, I can feel the heat of that day, see the faces of the people I met, and remember the people who care about me and went out of their way to make this trip extraordinary. From my husband Andy who drove, and trailered my ride as I had limited hours away from work with which to do this, and to David Headley who came along too at my request to photograph the entire weekend. I owe them a huge debt of gratitude.

While my husband may have driven, it wasn’t only a van that got me there. To win, I needed people to visit the site and vote for me. This required a bit of campaigning on my part, but I admonished everyone, who agreed to visit the site, to vote with their hearts. As recently as the last week in November, when we had visitors in the Waltham Massachusetts office from Detroit Michigan, this event was mentioned. While I have some idea of the power of social media, these folks talking to me about the Carlisle event made it that much more evident. The event itself may be going away, but what I took away will not. Goodbye Carlisle Bike Fest and thanks for the memories.

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