66coupe

2020 Grand National Allentown-UPDATED 1/22

Steve Moskowitz

The Grand National dates have been changed due to a trailer parking issue.  New and final date is July 23-25th    List of hotels  Online registration open

Message added by Steve Moskowitz

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On 2/13/2020 at 6:09 PM, Bhigdog said:

Yes, Peter, I am a lapsed member.  But as long as long free trailer parking is seen as a necessary member benefit I'll get back "on the wagon". See you there...........Bob

Hello Bob,

 

    Out of curiosity, when's the last time you hosted a national show?  It may not be as easy anymore as you think it is to find free parking for hundreds of trailers.  Yes, some regions that host shows are charging $25 for trailer parking to help partially cover some of their expenses (which can't be added to the registration fee--it's fixed by National), but a lot of regions are also having to pay big dollars to have somewhere secure for members to leave their trailers over night (or several nights). 

 

    I know you've voiced your opinion about this on the Forum numerous times, but personally I don't think paying $25 for a 2-3 nights of secure parking for my trailer and car is unreasonable.  You do think it's unreasonable--and that's your opinion and you have a right to have it and voice it--but unfortunately that means the rest of us don't get to see and enjoy your cars.  (If I remember correctly, don't you have some really nice Tri-5 Buicks and Oldsmobiles?)

 

    Best wishes!  Hope to see you at a future Nationals.

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Hi Mark.

Obviously I've never hosted a national show. Just as obvious is the fact that there is a lot more to it than is apparent to the naked eye.

That said, I'd point out that the trailer parking fee is a relatively new addition to AACA shows. The fee has also been creeping up from $15 for the entire show to $25 per DAY. The last show I considered attending was $25 day per including DAY OF SHOW parking.

For the first 15 years or so of my entering shows parking was free and, to me at least, was a way the AACA showed it's appreciation to it's members for supporting the club with their attendance. I find I now feel I am seen merely as a profit center. Low hanging fruit.

I fully understand that providing space and security for trailers has costs in time, effort and resources.

I also realize that registration and associated costs are fixed by the National AACA.

My position is that the AACA is losing sight of it's raison d'etre. That is to put it's members and by extension the hobby first.

By limiting the flexibility of the locals to price and structure a show to best fit it's unique situation is lazy at best and destructive in the long run at worst.

There are many ways a show can be run to be solvent but they are proscribed from doing so by National. It seems to me that rather than explore those unique methods National finds it far easier to say: "we've always done it this way, just charge for trailers and say the 'S' word if anyone complains."

The hard core, written in stone, position that attendance will never be charged is incomprehensible.

Better to up charge the car owning, show exhibiting, members? ??????

Two shows that I attend locally (neither of which charge for trailer parking, give every entrant a participation gift, provide live entertainment, food, charge a MODEST $10 entry fee, have to limit attendance and STILL turn a profit) are Macungie and Strausstown.

Yes I know, oranges and apples.

Whenever this is brought up the answers are  always the same:  I. .E...."Yeah but", "You just don't understand", or "We are so busy and overworked."

I can easily afford the trailer fee whatever they might be, Mark, but I see them as indicative of the need for better strategic planning.

Whenever you hear "we have always done it this way" or " it's always worked before" you know there absolutely is a better way to do it. Whatever  "IT" may be.

I imagine I will be vilified as a heretic for the above thoughts but in actuality I care for the club and fear for it's future more than most imagine.

Thank you for your thoughts, Mark........Bob

 

 

 

 

Edited by Bhigdog (see edit history)

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And thank you, Bob--I appreciate your thought out and detailed response.

 

I'm not being defensive, but AACA HQ (nor I as VP National Activities) does not tell regions/chapters to charge for trailer parking.  I admit, when asked what regions can do to cover expenses like security, traffic control (if their city requires them to have police control traffic in/out of the show or the region feels it's prudent), EMT on site the day of the show (which we require and pay for 1/2), water for judges (which we recommend and pay for 1/2), hospitality room and rooms for Judging Admin, Judging School, Judges Breakfast, and Hospitality Room (if the host hotel doesn't provide them for free), snacks & beverages in the Hospitality Room, sometimes porta-potties on the show field, signs, and a host of other piddling expenses I'm not listing or even thinking of (but which will eat you up), I suggest looking for local and national sponsors/supporters to donate funds, goods, or services, silent auctions, and yes, possibly charging a reasonable fee for trailer parking.  (And, no, I don't think $25/day is reasonable, but in the one case I know of where a region charged that, I don't they had to pay through the nose for the trailer parking and covered their costs.) 

 

My mantra when I was a region president was "don't lose money--I don't care if we make money, but don't lose money."  I don't see anything wrong with regions/chapters making a little money for hosting a national show or tour--they put a lot of work into doing so--but I also don't think they should be building a clubhouse with the profits.  Keep all fees reasonable and affordable.  One piece of advice that I gave in my "Hosting an AACA Show or Tour" seminar at the Annual Convention in Philadelphia earlier this month was "What would you pay to attend your event?"  Always keep price and value in mind--remember that members are paying for travel and a hotel to attend or participate in your event.  You need to show real value (and fun!) to attract members to your event. 

 

The club doesn't charge a spectator admission fee because we want to attract more people than just AACA members participating in the show.  We want our shows to remain open, family-friendly, activities and hopefully attract more people to our hobby and our club.

 

We are trying to keep costs down for participants and host regions.  Anyone who has proudly hefted an AACA trophy knows they're not $20 plastic trophies.  The cost of vehicle registration doesn't cover a 1/3 of the cost of the trophy.  We could opt for less expensive trophies--and who knows, maybe some day we'll have to--but we want them to be special and want our members to take pride in their well-earned awards.

 

To help host regions/chapters cover some of their costs, they receive $5 of each registration fee for Nationals (currently $35) and $10 of each registration fee for Grand Nationals (currently $50).  We print & pay for all the necessary judging paperwork, information trifolds, etc., cover $1.75 for each dash plaque, up to $8 for each Judges Breakfast (this is in addition to the $8 the judges pay), etc.  We also now assign a national director to each Nationals (and Tour) to serve as an advisor and as a conduit to AACA HQ to ensure the region/chapter gets the support they need.  In addition to helping the region plan the show and not overlook anything, we hope the Liaison Director can help host regions/chapters be reasonable in the planning projections, budgets, and what they charge for the various associated activities.

 

One thing in particular that we're encouraging regions/chapters to do is plan lower cost award dinners (and to start them earlier so members who want to hit the road home that day can still participate) so that more members, especially those with kids (and the cost of meals adds up quickly), can and will participate.  Yes, the Grand Nationals and Hershey awards banquets are different/special and will probably always be more formal than those at our other Nationals, but for Nationals we're encouraging the host regions/chapters to hold costs down--barbeques, informal dinners, etc.  It's simple economics--the higher the cost of the meal, the fewer the people likely to participate.  That said, it's their call.

 

I don't view you as a "heretic," and I appreciate your input and feedback.  We all need to think outside the box and come up with ways to keep our national activities fun for members and spectators, but also to keep them affordable, while at the same time not alienating our members.  We can't please everyone--but we need to try to please the majority of our members while simulataneously trying to address the concerns of all of them.

 

Just one guy's thoughts . . .

 

 

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On 2/23/2020 at 6:18 PM, Mark McAlpine said:

The club doesn't charge a spectator admission fee because we want to attract more people than just AACA members participating in the show.  We want our shows to remain open, family-friendly, activities and hopefully attract more people to our hobby and our club.

That is just plain wishful thinking.

If the AACA thinks civilians wandering the field would increase membership why aren't they working the field? Where are the representatives handing out free back issues of the mag? How about a coupon knocking $10 off of a first year membership?

Not every show has the logistics that lend itself to collecting admission but I'm certain a number of them do. Imagine what even a $5 entry fee to Hershey, earmarked for regional shows, could do to offset region's costs.

 

On 2/23/2020 at 6:18 PM, Mark McAlpine said:

and yes, possibly charging a reasonable fee for trailer parking. 

 

I have no problem with the fact that trailer parking and  costs are a fact of life and must be accounted for.  What I disagree with is using those costs to foster a two tier class of attendees. We, the attendees, are one group committed to staging a show for ALL our mutual benefit. As such the costs should be spread evenly among the attendees. The argument is that the trailer folks should pay for security because "others" don't need it. An argument could also be made that the "others" should help pay for the security because they get the benefit of seeing and enjoying those cars that require a trailer to attend. The argument has also been made that banquet goers have to pay extra, why not trailers.

The banquet is not an integral part of the show. The cars that are trailered to the show are an integral part of it and the argument could be made they enhance it.

 

On 2/23/2020 at 6:18 PM, Mark McAlpine said:

for Nationals we're encouraging the host regions/chapters to hold costs down--barbeques, informal dinners, etc. 

 

Excellent idea and I'm guessing, if implemented, it will be well received. Just between you and me the usual award banquets are expensive, marginally palatable, and booooring. My wife, long ago, absolutely refused to attend another. I agreed.

 

On 2/23/2020 at 6:18 PM, Mark McAlpine said:

The cost of vehicle registration doesn't cover a 1/3 of the cost of the trophy.  We could opt for less expensive trophies--and who knows, maybe some day we'll have to--but we want them to be special and want our members to take pride in their well-earned awards.

 

Another area that needs to be explored. I long ago accepted the grill badges and gifted the trophies, including GN's, back to the AACA by refusing them. Surely there are ways that recognize and reward achievement without spending $100 on a dust collector that will eventually end up at a yard sale.

 

Has anyone explored the feasibility of establishing a few AACA "Mini Hersheys" around the country? Meets held every year at the same location much like Macungie or Strausstown. Both locals and AACA at the same location with AACA cars in their own class to be judged.

A general admission would be charged, a portion to benefit the AACA.

 

Yes I know. That flies in the face of long established dogma. And: "we're all just so damn busy".

 

Thanks for your thoughts, Mark. I may not agree with the way problems are being addressed but I do understand what you are saying. I also realize my ideas may have flaws. Some fatal, but others maybe not so much. But when the club can't even get it's web site to record a re-subscription, admits it's known about the problem for some time, then says it's "just so busy"........ as my Chinese friend says "Sum Ting Wong"..........Bob

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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