who wants to help expand slalom racing?

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Ron Barbagallo
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who wants to help expand slalom racing?

Post by Ron Barbagallo » Mon Oct 24, 2011 3:47 pm

Aloha fellow skateboarders! Fatboy and slalom skateboarding need YOUR help! As you may or may not know, I’ve been working with the All American Soap Box Derby Association. I was approached by them through Michael Brooke to be part of a skateboard exhibition that was put on at their World Championships a couple of months ago. You can read some of the highlights in the latest Concrete Wave as well as see a swell photo of me and Uncle Sam ;) Anyway, the expo was a HUGE hit with the derby officials, racers, and spectators! So much so that they want to open up their hills to skateboarding – that is ginormous news, kids. These hills are a) closed to traffic; b) all over the United States; c) pristine pavement. They are like skateboarding heaven! Perfect for slalom, giant slalom, longboarding, and downhill. Some of the hills are even being considered for street luge.

The crown jewel of these hills is in Akron, Ohio – the home of the AASBD World Championships. The hill there is amazing! Three lanes wide, perfect grade, untraveled pavement, grandstands, and plenty of free parking. The folks that run this spot are VERY open to let us use it. They asked me to put together a proposal for a three year plan for integrating a race schedule and clinics for that hill. That’s where YOU come in! I proposed monthly skate clinics – slalom as well as other disciplines. They would be like open skate jams for everyone – beginners or otherwise. But we need someone to kinda be the go-to person for these events. I’m 6+ hours away by car one way, so I can’t come out there on a Saturday or Sunday to help run things. What we’re looking for is someone who is within an hour or so of Akron, who is willing to sort of host these clinics as well as work with the ISSA for local and National races. There is talk of having the World Championships there in the very near future – Neil Orta of Dr No Racing has already started to get the ball rolling with regards to that, but like me he is many hours away.

This is an amazing opportunity for racing and skateboarding in general. Did I mention that these Derby hills kick ass? The groundwork is already being done for this, we really just need a person of group of people that have the time to get involved. If you’re in the Akron Area or near enough to get there in a reasonable amount of time, PLEASE talk to me! We can help you with all of this – scheduling, hardware, instruction. I even planned for getting you some coin for doing it. My email is: longboardsbyfatboy@hotmailDOTcom. Gimme a holler and let’s get this clambake started!!!
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Re: who wants to help expand slalom racing?

Post by Wesley Tucker » Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:32 pm

Ron,

I applaud your efforts.

I only have one question and it's not a deal breaker but still something I've wondered about with using Akron as a race site.

ALL of our races to date have been promoted and managed locally by local people operating local races. As such the needed support comes from people who are, well, already there.

There is no "slalom scene" in Akron and thus a race at Derby Hill means EVERYTHING will have to be brought in from big things like start ramps and sound systems to intangibles like arranging for cone heads and negotiating the rooms and getting a caterer for a party.

You're in New Jersey, I'm in South Carolina, Lenny is down in Ashland and the list goes on. How would you suggest this logistical parameter be defined and satisfied? I know in 1978 there was a huge race at Akron that got on CBS and Henry won. Have you maybe talked with Jack Smith or Henry about how that race was organized? Did Freeformer spend hundreds of thousands to make it work so far from California? Do Neil and Marcus deal with this sort of situation staging downhill races? If they do are there directions and ideas how to deal with it?

I know this is a pesky thing to ask but it must be figured out before scheduling and coordinating an event on that hill. Do you agree?

P.S. I've also thought about this sort of situation. There is a FABULOUS HILL (actually two) at Road Atlanta in Flowery Branch north of the city. Negotiating with the management a weekend when there's no racing or testing is one thing. The other would be trucking everything in to a relatively isolated hill is another. One of these days I'm going to get my dander up enough to drive over there (200 miles) and talk to the powers that be about the possibility of getting the ball rolling.
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Re: who wants to help expand slalom racing?

Post by Jani Soderhall » Wed Oct 26, 2011 11:23 am

Wesley Tucker wrote:I know in 1978 there was a huge race at Akron that got on CBS and Henry won. Have you maybe talked with Jack Smith or Henry about how that race was organized? Did Freeformer spend hundreds of thousands to make it work so far from California?
Thanks for reminding us about this fact. I think that's kind of cool to bring up: it's already been done! And we're bringing racing back to Akron.

When it comes to local skater support, that is what Fatboy is asking for. For sure we don't know anyone yet there, but maybe there is someone, if not in the close slalom world, but just outside in the longboard community. For sure they wouldn't mind access to a great hill for longboard events. We're making this announcment now to see if we can find some openings.

Keep the ideas flowing!

/Jani

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Re: who wants to help expand slalom racing?

Post by Ron Barbagallo » Wed Oct 26, 2011 3:43 pm

Wes, you are indeed correct

As is Jani

There are all of those details you are speaking of. What I am trying to find is someone in the general area who wants to get involved with this. You, I, Lenny, Marion, Joe I, Claude, etc all have plenty of knowledge about these details. And I'm sure a lot of us would be more than happy to help this Ohio Maverick get his race on.

When someone decides they wanna put a race on, what do they do? They go check out a race and see how it's done. Then they call people and ask questions about all those details. As a group, we slalom race "veterans" can help this Ohio person quite easily from our collective homes. A few phone calls and emails can get him up and running painlessly. Hell, just between you and I we have enough knowledge to teach them how to run an event!

Let's call this Ohio person Tatiana - why? It's a sexy name and sexy people get help easier. She's got a coupla kids (she inherited them from a sister that perished in a horrible car wreck. She herself is unmarried) that ride skateboards and she wants to help them find a pastime that will keep them off the mean streets of Akron. So Tatiana steps up to the plate. She hops on one of these websites and sees my plea. Then she asks how she can get involved. I tell her about the plan and the events we'd like for her to run. She likes the idea, but is unsure of her skills in arranging the clinics and securing insurance and getting cones and what a timer is and where does she wanna advertise about it and how she can get a date with that dreamy Fadell guy and how does she get in touch with the Derby people and blah, blah, blah.

That's where you and I and the rest of the slalom community come in. We tell her how it's done - who to call, what stuff she needs for the events/races, and what kind of pie Fadell likes. We just need a start here. I'll post the three year plan I made up - it's VERY rough! Dr No has a better one I think, but this is what I submitted to the Derby folks and they were cool with it. When it comes time for bigger races and such, we can all pitch in for Tatiana.

This is a great opportunity for us. Great hills and more exposure. And did I mention that Tatiana has hot friends that wanna hang out with skaters?
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Re: who wants to help expand slalom racing?

Post by Ron Barbagallo » Wed Oct 26, 2011 3:45 pm

Slalom Skateboarding and the All American Soap Box Derby



Overall goal - To make Akron, Ohio the epicenter of gravity sports in the US



How can slalom skateboarding help and support this? By putting on events showcasing not only the amazing hill at the All American Soap Box Derby, but the great city of Akron.



We have many slalom races all across the country every year. Some are small, local events. Others are quite large, involving 100 or more racers and hundreds of spectators. Several of these events coincide with community days and festivals. In both Statesville, North Carolina and Antrim, New Hampshire the skateboard race is an integral part of the town Harvest Festivals. In Portland, the skateboard race (done on the local Deby Hill!) is part of a state wide sporting festival that occurs every Spring. We would like to see the same thing happen in Akron. We’re hoping to make skateboarding ALMOST as big as the Soap Box Derby in Akron.



We’ve been asked by the Soap Box Derby to come up with a three year plan to accomplish this. We anticipate starting smaller and developing a local skateboard and gravity racing scene, and then ramping up to US Nationals or even the World Championships of Slalom Skateboarding in Akron. Here is our outline:



Year One



Monthly “get started in slalom” events on the Derby Hill. We can charge the skaters a small fee to participate in the event. We will provide an instructor to set a course and coach the skaters, as well as provide slalom cones and perhaps a few racing skateboard setups for the skaters to try. The monies collected for this event can be split for the instructor and for the Derby Hill. We can get the local skate shops involved in the events – they can put up flyers and tell people about it, maybe even join us on the hill. As the scene gets bigger in Akron, the shops that get involved will be able to reap the rewards of excited new slalomers.



March – depending on weather – one session towards the end of the month. Expected turnout – low, likely 10 -12 skaters



April - again depending on weather – one session. Expected turnout – same, 10 -12



May – one session – Expected turnout – a bit higher, 15 – 20 skaters



June – one session – Expected turnout – same, 15 – 20 skaters



July – one session – Expected turnout – a bit higher, 20+ skaters



August – one session – Expected turnout – 20+ skaters



One race – a “basic” or “prime” ISSA sanctioned race that will rank the participants in the International Slalom Racing standings. Expected turnout – 25 – 30 skaters. This can be in August or September.



September – one session – Expected turnout – 20+ skaters



October – one last session – Expected turnout – slightly less, 15 – 20 skaters.



This is a plan to start a grass roots slalom scene in the Akron area. The key to cultivating the scene is consistent events, this shows skaters that it is not a fly-by-night happening. Showing a schedule for the summer months provides an opportunity for people to plan around our events. It also shows a commitment to local businesses as well as skate shops. This will come in handy when we begin soliciting them for sponsorship of future events.



Year Two



Keeping with our consistency theme, monthly get started events – Expected turnout should be up 10-20%. Local skate shops will likely see that this scene is growing and will want to get involved. This may also hold true for other local businesses, such as restaurants or delis.



Spring - One race – a “basic” or “prime” ISSA sanctioned race that will rank the participants in the International Slalom Racing standings. Expected turnout – 25 – 30 skaters.



Fall - One race – a “Main” ISSA sanctioned race that will rank the participants in the International Slalom Racing standings. Expected turnout – 30 - 50 skaters. This will draw skaters from all over the Midwest as well as the East Coast. The event will be featured in national skateboard publications such as Concrete Wave. The skaters will no doubt fall in love with the hill and the city of Akron. They will tell their friends and fellow skaters.



Local businesses will be solicited for these events for sponsorship. In a typical slalom race the promoter charges an entry fee for all racers. This fee usually covers insurance for the event; expenses involved in the event such as permits, port-o-potties, and law enforcement; and sometimes an event t-shirt and meals on the race hill. We can also allocate for some of the entry fees to go to the Derby Hill for use of the venue.



Year Three



Keeping with our consistency theme, monthly events. But these events will shift a bit. There will still be the “get started in slalom” instruction, but there will be some racing involved as well. We will ALWAYS welcome and help new skaters get started in our sport. But for the local racers, we can hold loose race events or “jams” for them to compete against each other. This will help strengthen the local scene. If the scene is big enough and there are enough steady attendees, we can translate this into two or three sanctioned “basic” races that will give points for the skater’s ranking in the ISSA.



One big race – a “Nationals” or “Worlds” ISSA sanctioned race that will rank the participants in the International Slalom Racing standings. Expected turnout – 60 - 100 skaters. A National event will draw skaters from all over the US as well as Canada. A Worlds Event brings in skaters from all corners of the globe. At the recent Worlds in Ottawa, Canada there were skaters from all over the US (California to Florida and everywhere in between), all provinces of Canada, France, Germany, Latvia, Great Britain, Brazil, Sweden, and the Czech Republic. For this level of event, sponsorship is a must – local as well as national. There will also be television and radio coverage for an event of this level. This event will be featured in national skateboard publications such as Concrete Wave as well as on the Worldwide Web on skateboard websites such as Silverfish Longboarding, NCDSA, and the ISSA site. The event will also draw the attention of the Social Media such as Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace as the participants will be posting photos and results of the races.



These timelines are flexible and they may shift dependent upon participation and scheduling. Nationals happen in the US every year, but the Worlds shift between continents every year.





In Conclusion



It is our thought that these events, coupled with similar events from the downhill and street luge communities, will go a very long way towards putting Akron on the map as the gravity sport headquarters of the United States.
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Re: who wants to help expand slalom racing?

Post by Joe Iacovelli » Wed Oct 26, 2011 4:17 pm

I urge the ISSA to support this with $. I realize there is not a lot of moany to go around, but there is some, right?

THIS IS HUGE! There are soapbox hills all over the world. I tried for 3-4 years to break the ice with these guys and never got above local level (the Farm hill in Bethel is a local soapbox hill).

It offers a fantastic hill, usually in a park with imbedded infrastructure like bath rooms, picnic pavillions, etc. We don't need permits, road closures or police.

That may just be scratching the surface. While we need to assemble the skater infrastructure in Akron or whatever new hill we get access to, there is already a network of Soapbox officials, designated hotels, etc (dare I dream SPONSORS?). that we can tap into. No need to reinvent the wheel.

I'm also hoping that there is a national insurance contrat that ISSA can associate themselves with. That can be very costly, drive up entry fees and drive down prize money.

That's from our regular slalom skater/promoter point of view. There is a whole other paradigm shift, outside the box thing here that the ISSA needs to consider. Soapbox derby kids graduate and can no longer race due to age, but they could race skateboards, right? How many other dormant skaters are out there that the publicity would bring out of the woodwork? How about all the new lognboarders? Publicity, bigger crowds and attention attract sponsors. S-P-O-N-S-O-R-S!!!

This opportunity represents a game changer. Fatboy & Neil did this last year at their own expense. IMO the ISSA should help underwrite their gas/hotel? Maybe solicit/underwrite a demo fleet or basic timer for these monthly gigs?

I feel like somone is stretching out their hand to us and it's up to us to step forward and grasp it.

Joe

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Re: who wants to help expand slalom racing?

Post by Wesley Tucker » Thu Oct 27, 2011 8:32 pm

In case you're one of the three skaters who missed this on YouTube, this is the Akron hill from 1978:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHQBHBGP3ps

This skatecar race was held the same weekend as the slalom race. It doesn't appear as though anyone has uploaded the cone racing but this is still a good look at the hill.
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Re: who wants to help expand slalom racing?

Post by Claude Regnier » Fri Oct 28, 2011 12:12 am

This is an awesome opportunity to grow the sport. Make use of some fabulous race venues. Tap into large source of athletes, volunteers, sponsors and NEW CITIES, TOWNS and even STATES.
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Re: who wants to help expand slalom racing?

Post by Neil Orta » Fri Oct 28, 2011 2:25 am

I have stepped up and offered to handle the larger races to be held at Derby Downs and can handle at least two a year. I have all the necessary equipment such as start ramps, timing system, cones, computers, PA system and organizational skills which are easily packed up into my trailer and taken to any event. Stay Tuned.

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Re: who wants to help expand slalom racing?

Post by Ron Barbagallo » Fri Oct 28, 2011 3:01 pm

You rock, Neil

Thanks for all your help!
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Re: who wants to help expand slalom racing?

Post by Ron Barbagallo » Thu Mar 22, 2012 9:26 pm

UPDATE!!!



as I said, this is going to happen. The IGSA is putting on a race in Akron, Ohio this Fall. They would like to do a slalom race as well on the sweet Derby hill at the same time.

I must stress how GREAT of an opportunity this is for slalom, longboarding, DH, and skateboarding in general!!! Soap Box Derby hills are great grades, smooth pavement, and car free. You can't ask for more than that!

Well actually I am asking for more than that - I still haven't found anyone in the Akron, Ohio area that wants to get involved. We need someone who is willing to be the go-to person for events and races at the Derby Hill. It's not a tremendous responsibility or anything, and we can talk you through all you need to do. There are vast resources available for this person, we just need A person!

All the hard groundwork is done - the hill is ours. All we need you to do is be the face of skateboarding in Ohio. Maybe you don't race or even ride all that great - doesn't matter. Maybe your Dad would wanna get involved in something that keeps you from doing blow off of hooker's butts? Maybe you're a weekend cruiser, but your kids wanna do something fun and challenging. Maybe you don't even have a reason!

The IGSA race is tentatively scheduled for September 22nd & 23rd

Please don't let this opportunity slip through our hands! I'm over 6 hours away or I would do it myself. But I got that door open for us.

PM me here or shoot me an email at: longboardsbyfatboy@hotmail DOTcom
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Re: who wants to help expand slalom racing?

Post by Jeremy Coffman » Thu Jun 14, 2012 6:07 am

Is there an update to this? Race info? Anything? I'd like to do this race.

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Re: who wants to help expand slalom racing?

Post by Ron Barbagallo » Tue Jun 19, 2012 5:47 pm

Hey Sniffy!

Yup, Neil "Dr No" Orta has taken the reigns for this!

He has applied for race status and I believe it will be a Main, but don't quote me on that. I'm not a race marshall.

Anyway, Neil puts on good races and is a swell guy to boot. So support him with this race if you are anywhere near Ohio. Akron is a very nice town and Cleveland, home of the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame is less than an hour away!
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Re: who wants to help expand slalom racing?

Post by Ron Barbagallo » Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:36 pm

My apologies

I believe I have misspoken

The event in Akron will have to be shelved for now

There are too many other races going on at the same time and the week before and after

Neil feels, and rightly so, that this will further divide the small pool that is travelling slalom racers.

But big thanks to Neil for stepping up to the plate and giving it a try!!!
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Re: who wants to help expand slalom racing?

Post by Chris Favero » Mon Jun 25, 2012 1:13 pm

Ron, I think the confilct was antrim/conefest. I knew a lot of people who were plannning on Akron because it was so drivable for a lot of racers.there was just not a lot of easilt searchable info on the race
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Re: who wants to help expand slalom racing?

Post by Jeremy Coffman » Fri Jun 29, 2012 4:22 am

I was, and still am, committed to doing both Conefest AND Akron. I had my concerns with the close proximity of the Akron race with Antrim/Conefest but with enough notice I could plan to attend both Akron and one of the races. I think the Akron race would be awesome and a good move for slalom as a whole. Hopefully the Akron race will happen one way or another.

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Re: who wants to help expand slalom racing?

Post by Bernie Griffiths » Thu Feb 14, 2013 7:23 am

We added a "Penny Slalom" or "Plastic-Class" side-show to our last race of 2012, and to a ditch race half way through the year.
It created a great vibe on the day, and introduced slalom to a new generation, of kids and proud parents.
You had to be there to experience the support that the grown-up skaters gave the little kids, and how four-foot-nuthing kids seem to grow about 8inches taller after 3 runs!
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You dont need a very big course, say 15 or 20 cones, just out of the way of your main event, or use part of the grown-up course while the time-keepers do their math.
We used a simple stop watch ......cause its not like anyone will protest about the time keeping....unless they bring a "hockey-mom" in their cheer squad.

Not sure if Penny's have hit USA like the plague that we have down here, and they are seen on footpaths/side-walks up and down the coast, and are used to get lots of kids to school (they fit in a locker). Talk to a skate-shop owner....Penny's almost sell themselves, and with so many kids getting them for presents, they have been a positive to the sport, and the shops.

There is also a Christain Hosio signature Penny being released this year...so look out Stateside.

Penny's are not that welcome in skate parks, because many hard-core twig-flippers look down on Penny riders, as having "fake" plastic, even though many of them can carve a bowl like the best of them. There is a real gap in the competition opportunities for penny riders which slalom can fill.
With a soft bushing in the front, they also make a reasonable (kid) entry level slalom board, not unlike our first boards in the 70's, but with much better urethane.

So have a think about it. Next event... 20 cones...fastest kid on a penny.....and Slalom is the real winner!

And just think of all the "skate points" you can earn from a happy skating family!

(no I don't own shares in Penny....but they did provide some prizes for the skaters!)
What's the bet that you will see at least some kids with Penny's at a Soap-Box Derby!

Have a great 2013 racing season!
Let it go.

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Re: who wants to help expand slalom racing?

Post by Ron Barbagallo » Tue Feb 19, 2013 6:47 pm

That's awesome Bernie!!! The Pennies have caught on here as well.

We've been featuring kids races at most of our East Coast races here in the States. And we also have a Vintage class at the Farm Series of slalom races for the past 10 years - nothing after 1978.

Your idea kinda combines them - love it!

I will suggest it for the next race out our way
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Re: who wants to help expand slalom racing?

Post by Paul Howard » Sun Apr 21, 2013 12:01 am

That's a good idea with the "Penny-Slalom" thing.

Gosh I want to get my house-structural stuff done SOOOOOOOOO bad and resume putting on noncompetitive slalom BBQ events In Salem Oregon again, I really miss seeing the old faces from here in the Northwest and all the new faces the BBQ attracts. Unfortunately, the last 2 years were debacles with weather forcast mismatches after 6+ years of success, and this year I'm just not doing it(or anything else) just to get things done on the house that I'm WAY tired of not getting done.

Anyhow, good to see others are stepping up to the plate and drawing kids and others into slalom. I'm pretty much done with "racing" but I like hearing about others doing it and I still just love getting out cones and setting up by the riverfront walkway in the mornings or Sunday afternoons and just blazing as hard and fast as I can until I'm spent and attracting the random skater or two watching from our skatepark to try it .

Adios - Paul
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