Sunday, February 17, 2008

Dome Sweet Dome....

Words and photos by Gregg Lowley

Greetings from Indy! We're in the waning moments of day two of the Dealernews International Powersports Dealer Expo and by all accounts it would appear that everyone is ready to call it a day and head to their favorite watering hole. A lot of people are walking around in a daze, most likely a result of not following the advice of Racer X's survival guide, neglecting the re-hydration portion of the night. But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let's go back a couple days....

Part I: The Puzzle

After ten years, the process of setting up for a trade show is like second nature to us. We know the rules, where to wait in line, what you can and can't do, and most importantly how to set up our display rack. So nobody seemed fazed when a large crate was dropped off in the office the day before we were to leave for Indy. Its contents? Our brand-spankin'-new display rack. What was missing? Our brand-spankin'-new directions for putting together said rack. Of course we didn't discover this until we had it completely unpacked. After a few frantic calls to the manufacturer we were promised complete directions would be sent to us via email.

To make a long story short, the directions didn't show up until after we had ad-libbed half of the rack together and the laptop battery had long-since died. Needless to say we've learned a valuable lesson from all of this...or maybe not.

Part II: And We're Off!

The Expo kicked off promptly-ish at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning. Exhibitors and dealers alike shrugged off the cobwebs spun the night before, consuming obscene amounts of coffee and Red Bull. No time for recovery, it was game time.

Things were crazy at the Racer X booth right off the bat. The special 10 Year Anniversary issue of Racer X Illustrated was a hit! It seemed like every time the table was restocked, someone was yelling for more mags. After eight hours of non-stop running around, we were ready to put some distance between us and the booth; preparations began in earnest for the nighttime festivities.

Part III: Racer X on the Rocks

After a quick shower and a bite to eat it was on to the Pan American Center for the annual Racer X Indy Hockey Challenge sponsored by Corona. After the opening ceremonies, which included the unveiling of the 2008 Corona Extra Honda Racing bike, the players took to the ice. A good crowd was on hand to watch a friendly, yet scrappy game.

The heavily favored Canadian team traded a pair of goals with the Americans before settling into a 2-1 lead that held until midway through the third period. It looked for a while that an upset was quite possible. The Canadians had other ideas and promptly reeled off three unanswered goals behind Rob McCullough's hat trick en route to a 6-3 victory.

The American squad played their hearts out, but once again the Canadian team proved to be the kings of the ice. How about we play a game of basketball next year, eh?

This year's Players of the Game Award goes to Corona Extra for keeping everyone's thirst level under control.

Part IV: Singing the "Blu"s

Next up on our agenda was a party sponsored by Ogio and Red Bull at a club called Blu. These guys did it up. We were set up on a balcony overlooking the entire club, with a self-serve bar to boot. I'd love to go into details, but I've been explicitly told that what happens in Indy, stays in Indy. A few of the highlights include DC handing out Alka-Seltzer Morning Relief to everyone, Brian Deegan showing off his battle scar to whoever was (or wasn't) interested, and the general antics of Fubar, Brozik and JB. Props to Andy and everyone else at Ogio and Red Bull for making us all feel so welcome.

Part V: Here We Go Again!

The second day of the Expo got off to a much slower start, partly because of the late nighters and partly because many people had turned their attention towards the weather forecasts and the storm moving across the nation. From what I hear connecting flights are being canceled or are in jeopardy of cancellation, which seemed to put a slight damper on everyone's mood. There were quite a few that opted for a quick escape and pretty much packed up and took the next flight out. Many others have adjusted their plans to leave immediately after the doors shut today.

The rest of us went about our normal business. Hell, we're here until the end so there's no reason to get worked up over something you can't control. Besides, the weather forecast will change no less than five times between now and tomorrow morning. Trust me.

We welcomed a couple of special guests in the afternoon, as Yamaha superbike racers Eric and Ben Bostrom stopped by our booth for an autograph session. They had been literally working their asses off this weekend, but being the professional and personable people they are, they were all smiles as they welcomed and signed posters for their fans.

In closing, everything and everyone has been wonderful here. Tonight we'll be co-hosting (along with Ogio and Red Bull) a party at a place called Jillians. There will be yet another open bar, only this time bowling will be involved. God-willing, I'll be in good enough shape to give you guys another update tomorrow. Until then...


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Morning Relief

Davey swears by Alka Seltzer Morning Relief, and I'm now a believer. Whoever invented that stuff needs some kind of award. For all of you who may tip back a few too many tonight - get to the drugstore now. You will be thanking me tomorrow.

Our drive from Morgantown was pretty uneventful but we got here just in time to meet some old friends at the Canterbury hotel. We had a pretty epic bench racing session with some key players: Eric Perronard, Fred Bramblett, Andy Leisner, Jeff Nash, Nick McCabe, John Farris... And even our own Chris Jonnum was there (back from Katmandu)! It was a great start to a long weekend.

Did you guys watch the trade show survival video? I have probably seen it 30 times now and still laugh every time. I think I'm going to follow Emig's advice tonight and set my alarm for when it's time to go to bed.

I've been trying to write this for three hours and the words just aren't flowing. I'll be back tomorrow with a real update. We have the Dogger here right now picking the numbers for our Supercross pick board, so if you're one of the advertisers with your name on here, come back and see where you are!

If you're looking for something to do tonight, come over to the PanAm Arena and check out the hockey game. Free Corona beer!

Be sure to stop by to see me tomorrow (booth 1340) and play our photo search game.