How I tried to promote tournament skiing

LeonLLeonL Posts: 2,665 Crazy Baller
@Wish's thread about L & R tournaments pushed me to this. We just finished a C, three round slalom. Entry fee $70, free lunch. There is a public lake about 40 minutes from us that has a course and several skiers. The president of that club is also a member of our club. I asked him to promote our tourney with those course skiers. He did so. I posted it on the Kentucky waterski website. My offer was, if you've never before skied a tournament come ski for free, yes free and get a mulligan in each round. I even offered to pay the required Kentucky Federation membership, $10. You know how many I got? Zero, nada, zilch, 0. As a tournament organizer, I don't know what better deal I could make to encourage participation. Oh, the real bad news.....even with some skiers driving 2+ hours we had a total of 13 skiers. It's kinda discouraging.
Leon Leonard Stillwater Lake KY - SR Driver SR Judge


  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 3,891 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    I know several guys who ski the course just about every day year round and haven't got the slightest interest in competition. Just not what it is about for everyone.
    Chuck P
    Not a mechanic but I play one at home
  • IlivetoskiIlivetoski Posts: 1,191 Crazy Baller
    As a member of @LeonL lake, and a skier today at the tournament here's my .02 on it. What was offered literally cannot be beat. There is nothing more that people can ask for out of a tournament. We got the word out about the tournament, the lake is less than an hour from Louisville and just over an hour from Lexington and Cincinnati so it's not far from major cities. I think (at least here in KY) that we should spend more time and effort trying to get the people who quit skiing tournaments back in it as opposed to people who have never skied a tournament. A couple of reasons.. 1- these people aren't going to be in shell shock when they discover the cost of skiing. 2- none of the people who quit tournament skiing (that I know of) quit skiing altogether. They are still active skiers, just not in tournaments. I think of them as the "low hanging fruit" that will be a lot easier to get numbers back up. Do we need a complete overhaul of how we run tournaments to get numbers back up? Maybe. But we shouldn't rule that out. If that's what it takes to save the sport, so be it. Also, of the 13 skiers, 8 of them were members of the club.
  • bishop8950bishop8950 Posts: 1,247 Open or Level 9 Skier
    @leonl great idea and good try. Bummer you did not get more of a response. While @Wish is saying FL is packed with people willing to pay good money for records your region struggles to populate exactly the type of event Wish would like to see in FL.
  • DaveDDaveD Posts: 1,039 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @leonl Kudos to you for making the effort! Don't give up. People that haven't skied tournaments are intimidated by the idea. Just keep promoting them and I think you will start seeing results.
  • lpskierlpskier Posts: 3,508 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    It wasn't that long ago, maybe 20 years, that I ran an annual Non- sanctioned slalom tournament and we would get 120 skiers- not pulls, skiers- in a weekend. A bunch would come from reasonably nearby summer camps with water ski programs. $15 entry fee including a custom tee shirt. We used a seven point scoring system with a half point for each gate. That way, no one got a zero score.
    John Wilkins- Si non pro sanguine quem ludus ne. #iskiconnelly
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,899 Mega Baller
    edited June 2016
    Walley skiers' season doesn't typically start until school is out and water temps are comfortable without any wetsuit, since they don't own them. Then, they need a few weeks or more to get their ski legs going again before they might feel "prepared" for a first tournament. Timing of your event may have simply been too soon for that target audience.
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • LeonLLeonL Posts: 2,665 Crazy Baller
    @ToddL, we're offering the same deal on Labor Day weekend. I'll report back after that.
    Leon Leonard Stillwater Lake KY - SR Driver SR Judge
  • mlangemlange Posts: 239 Baller
    edited June 2016
    Here's my take on this...

    Don't focus on hosting tournaments. Focus on hosting practices.

    I get out every Saturday and Sunday morning on a public lake. We have 3-5 boats that rotate and we're about as serious as you can be given we're on a public lake w/out a course. If I could pay in, say, 15 mins intervals of time on the local private lake with a course I'd do it in a second. However, I have no interest in skiing in a tournament when I get zero time in a course the rest of the year. It's just too hard w/out the reps w/ balls.

    Looking at other sports that I'm involved in I've played beer league hockey, beer league soccer, etc... As much as I enjoy those sports I probably wouldn't wouldn't be playing them either if my only option was playing in a tournament.

  • LeonLLeonL Posts: 2,665 Crazy Baller
    The target group I sought in this iteration was a group of skiers on a public lake who DO HAVE a course and ski it all the time. They're getting practice in a course. My emphasis may be misplaced however. To grow the sport doesn't necessarily mean tournament skiing, I just hate to see tournament skiing go down hill like I see it happening.
    Leon Leonard Stillwater Lake KY - SR Driver SR Judge
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,899 Mega Baller
    @LeonL - I applaud your efforts.

    I have several friends who lease access to a private site with buoys and ski regularly but do not ski tournaments. Many reasons given when asked. Basically, "not interested" or "cost per buoy is more than just skiing for fun with friends." Thus, if a skier assigns no value to a "judged" performance or to the published score on USAWS, then there is no desire to compete at any cost above their practice costs per buoy.
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • skiboat38skiboat38 Posts: 131 Baller
    Leon, I think timing may have been an issue. I know you guys have skied more than most of the other clubs. At CCR we had only been on the water 3 times this year and am pretty sure Twin Oaks was about the same. Tonto is about the only person in Ky that had been on the water better than 40 times. Pretty sure you would get the entries up for a 3 event instead of Swerve only. Anyway good tournament and thanks for the effort. (P.S. I caught some nice fish!!!)
  • LeonLLeonL Posts: 2,665 Crazy Baller
    We did have the jump in, but don't always by the first weekend in June. But still, I was hoping to entice some first timers. I understand about the regulars that we normally get and the fact they had skied very little, and that may be an answer for the no show first timers also. As I mentioned earlier, we'll see what happens Labor Day weekend. @skiboat38, you scored better than most of us!
    Leon Leonard Stillwater Lake KY - SR Driver SR Judge
  • markchilcuttmarkchilcutt Posts: 947 Crazy Baller
    kudos for throwing out such a great offer and opportunity. Sad you had no takers wow!
    Ski it if you can!!!!
  • Jody_SealJody_Seal Posts: 3,607 Mega Baller
    Good on ya Leon for making the offer. Sad they did not respond. just a thought, might offer to help them hold a tournament on their site, Maybe Class F and then make the offer to ski at your site discounted in the future.. Many public lake skiers feel intimidated that tournament or private lake skiers are to good. I get this from time to time when I invite shop customers or public lake skiers to come ski.
    The key is to make it simple and affordable and make sure every one gets their ski time. Many non tournament skiers think that why pay to come to a tournament to go up and down the lake three to four times when I can save $$$$ ski on my own water and go up and down as many times as I like.
    Hobby Boats can be expensive when the hobbyist is limited on their own skill and expertise.

Sign In or Register to comment.