Monday, December 20, 2010

Setting the record straight

A note to Hoka Hey riders and fans from founder, Jim Red Cloud

            Organizing the Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge in 2010 was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.  There have, however, been questions and issues raised which, if not addressed may reflect negatively on this extraordinary event.  These concerns may be partially due to inadequate communication in the past and this communication is an attempt to address past concerns and to reassure everyone that we are moving forward in a professional, well organized manner with great communication.

            The initial Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge was the first of its kind.  It was literally organized by my wife and me with little or no professional assistance.  The event was originally scheduled for 2009 but after hearing from many prospective participants that the failing economy made their funding and time away from work very difficult, we decided to reschedule the event for 2010.  Certainly this delay did not make everyone feel that they had made a wise decision to invest their entry fee but this delay did allow us to accommodate a larger field the following year and ultimately everyone who paid their entry fee was afforded an opportunity to participate in the event in 2010.

            It was our plan to have one thousand participants.  Approximately six hundred riders participated in the event.  Of these, the entrance fees for approximately one hundred veterans with financial hardship were funded by me directly.  While the participation was below our expectations, we believed that going ahead with a smaller group would be far preferable to cancelling or further extending the event.  From what we have heard from participants, this was absolutely the correct decision.

            We advertised that the event would contribute to several charities.  Unfortunately, the entrance fees at the reduced level of participation, net of direct costs associated with the event, did not allow such contributions.  Ultimately we had to personally fund a portion of the five hundred thousand dollar prize money.  We did this without reservation.  Many of the charities benefitted by the efforts of individual participants who undertook individual activities to benefit the charities as a part of the event.  Going forward we will not repeat our mistake of overpromising. We sincerely hope and anticipate that participation in 2011 will allow a charitable component from the proceeds but that decision simply must wait until the outcome of the event is known.

            The event was run as advertised.  An individual rode the course and was certified based on an extensive polygraph examination which was passed with no exceptions.  The winner received the promised prize money on July 29th at the Broken Spoke Campground during the Sturgis Rally.  We are now moving ahead and promoting a second Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge for 2011 and the winner of the 2010 event, is assisting with promotion of the 2011 event but he has absolutely no financial or ownership interest in the event.
 We understand that our organization and promotion efforts fell short in some people’s opinion.  In some regards, we agree with this assessment.  For the 2011 event, we are working hard to change this situation.  We have learned a lot from our experiences to date.  We have formed an Organizing Committee made up of various professionals and stake holders in the event.  This committee is lead by an individual with a significant history in business development and promotion.  We have associated with a promotion firm to assure development of the event to its maximum potential and have also associated with a public relations firm to assure consistent and timely communications.

            There has been some concern that the 2011 event is currently planning on passing through northern Mexico.  Should this become an unacceptable security issue, course options will be considered to limit this exposure. 

            This event is not a “race”, it is an endurance rally.  Yes, there is prize money for completing the course first.  The simple fact is that at fifty-five miles per hour a participant could sleep and rest approximately twelve hours each day and still finish the course in the allotted time.  Speeding not only disqualifies a participant if caught, as they would be in the polygraph given to authenticate a winner, it makes navigation all that much more difficult.  The winner last year, at an average of fifty-five miles per hour, could rest for approximately eight hours a day. 

            To summarize, we are doing our best to assure the event in 2011 will be the best possible.  Obviously few things are ever perfect but we are trying to produce as quality event as possible without burdening participants with the result of over organizing the event. 

            The 2011 event will hopefully become an iconic experience in the annuals of American motorcycling alongside the 2010 event. 

I look forward to seeing everyone in the Hoka Hey 3-48 Motorcycle Challenge in August of 2011.

Jim Redcloud         
Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge    

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