Jump to content




Photo

Lack of kids racing will be the death of our hobby


  • Please log in to reply
63 replies to this topic

#1 gatormark

gatormark

    Backmarker

  • Full Member
  • PipPip
  • 70 posts
  • Joined: 15-November 16
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:FL

Posted 22 December 2016 - 06:28 AM

I see a general lack of kids involved in slot racing today, not good, not good at all.

 

It's all about recruiting and if track owners don't wise up they will be history. Our local track has become a hangout for men playing with their toys and it sometimes seems when a kid comes along with a rental car they are in the way.

 

Just a word of advice, at our church we target youth and their activities to grow. Trust me, you show me a church with no youth I will show you a dying church.

 

Ater all, this is a kids hobby and nothing more.


  • NSwanberg, Frank Godbey and Mach9 like this
Mark Conner




#2 Cheater

Cheater

    Headmaster of the asylum

  • Root Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 21,550 posts
  • Joined: 14-February 06
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Norcross, GA

Posted 22 December 2016 - 06:56 AM

Mark,

 

I won't say you're wrong, but for me, the bigger concern is the small number of commercial raceways in the US today. Way less than 200 in a country with over 300 million people. This is as few as has existed since the early '60s.

 

And again, please acknowledge that what you're referring to as the "hobby" is the 1/24 commercial raceway environment. Model car racing, as a hobby, is a much more than that.

Slot racing is not the army or a church. Recruiting is IMO the wrong mindset. Seducing kids is the approach that needs to be embraced, in terms of demonstrating how fun and compelling organized racing can be.

And that's another critical problem. There is no entity, organization, whatever you wish to call it, that is publicizing and promoting what the slot racing hobby can offer, what it provides. Every salesman of any product knows to start off by relating the benefits of buying what they're selling. Ain't happening in slots and almost never has.


  • tonyp, Rob Voska and spudboy like this

Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#3 havlicek

havlicek

    OCD Rewinder

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 8,869 posts
  • Joined: 20-August 07
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:NY

Posted 22 December 2016 - 07:56 AM

These issues (and this has been gone over ad nauseum... but rightfully so in my opinion) are only made worse by an educational system that has purposely and even purposefully denigrated hands-on and "industrial" arts. We have been told for decades that the way to a brighter future for people was not with cutting torches, plumber's wrenches, linesman pliers or table saws... it was in "0s and 1s," banking, business administration, whatever. That sort of "education" had resulted in generations growing up being unfamiliar with... and uninterested in all sorts of "real" (as opposed to "virtual") activities.  

 

I don't see slot cars at all as a "kids hobby," I see it as, above all a mechanical hobby or a "tinkerer's hobby." Everything from art as in painting a body (anyone who has looked at a Noose or a Jairus body and doesn't see art isn't looking), to engineering in designing and building a great chassis, to electrical (making or even winding motors) are big parts of what's going on here.  

 

Of course, there's also the competitive aspect which has a natural appeal, but competitiveness isn't something that needs "advertising"...t hat's just "human."

 

Younger people today have been brought up and educated precisely not to get their hands dirty. They've been told that success is exactly the opposite and they should try to get to a place where they can have other people get their hands dirty for them. As a grade-schooler, I can still remember how much I looked forward to shop class, whether it was woodworking, metalworking, or electrical shop. No doubt that exposure, along with "band," helped shape me (for better or worse) as much as anything else. It's a sort of "criminal negligence" on the part of our educational system that this is mostly all gone now. Then again, children get almost no instruction in even something as basic (and proven to be beneficial) as penmanship either.  

 

The insurance companies and lawyers have won, but our children have lost, and this has directly impacted "slots" potential appeal.  

 

-john


  • Cheater, Ramcatlarry, SlowBeas and 14 others like this
John Havlicek

#4 Mattb

Mattb

    Race Leader

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 859 posts
  • Joined: 13-August 11
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:IN

Posted 22 December 2016 - 10:39 AM

You don't see kids getting into model railroading by setting up big prototype/scale railroad models. They get into RR'ing by getting some kind of toy train they can run around a loop of track on Christmas. If lucky, that interest leads to some online research or a trip to a model train/hobby shop with Dad, who encourages some expansion. While this progression is also on the way down. it is how a kid progress's to the adult hobby of model railroading.

If commercial slot centers were to survive, this same progression would be the way. Much better than just throwing a kid into a commercial track with no experience or friends involved in the hobby. Now if the kid got a decent home set and dad was a little interested and there was some expanding and hands on tinkering, that would be a great introduction. Next the trip to the hobby shop to see what could be bought. Remember our trips to the hobby shop in 65 to buy more track or cars for our home sets. Same hobby shop maybe has a commercial track and some 1/24 kits and parts. You end up with a kid who understands how it works, and is familiar with slot cars. Then an exposure to a commercial track and thru the hobby shop people involved in that side of the hobby that can mentor/guide a new racer. This would be a great path to more commercial racers.

All we need are more involved fathers with the kids and the race set, more full time hobby shops/commercial tracks with a nice variety of parts, tracks and rtr cars. Shop owners that have time to spend with new patrons, clean shops, well stocked, tracks every 30 miles instead of every 300 miles away! Don't look very likely to me.

Most track owners have, maybe 3-4 of any kind of rtr plastic 1/32 cars and probably no interest in helping a customer for those items. They stock parts that they use for their shops race classes and not much else. The shop is probably geared 99% for the regulars and walk in business is zip and is not even really a thought. The lighting is poor, the place is dirty or old looking, the restrooms have inhabitants that scare the hell out of doctors. You sure don't want mom to take you there and see the dirty old men hanging around!!!

What is the fix? There is none, the commercial side will continue to shrink. I wish it was 1965, but it isn't. Until we are all gone, 1/24 racing will at least continue in some garages and homes, even if all the shops dissapear.

All that said, I know there are 8-10 really nice clean slot tracks in America. I have just never seen them.
  • Cheater likes this
Matt Bishop

Vintage Cox Slot Cars

#5 SlotStox#53

SlotStox#53

    Posting Leader

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,784 posts
  • Joined: 13-March 13
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:TX

Posted 22 December 2016 - 01:27 PM

In terms of the model car racing hobby kids are still getting involved. Slot car sets and 1/32 slot it type cars and clubs are hugely popular in the UK and Europe, along with all manner of different scratch/purpose built & production cars/classes being run.

Hasn't been a size of commercial type raceway scenario in the UK since the slot car boom, with only 1 true commercial setup that I can recall active over there.

With regular kids/juniors nights every week, national org. races every year, walk in traffic along with spares and other hobby lines sold in the store.

I know they also have or had the last time I went a dedicated 1/32 routed track :)

#6 Mattb

Mattb

    Race Leader

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 859 posts
  • Joined: 13-August 11
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:IN

Posted 22 December 2016 - 02:14 PM

I really don't think a comparison between England and the US is valid. Scalextric is a household name in England and their $ have supported and publicized slot cars over there for 65 years or more. That has not extended to America. Carrera is probably top spender over here and I have never seen an ad on TV, not even in a magazine. I have never seen a Carrera set in a Walmart or Target.

How does that compare to Scalextric in England? Really no comparison.
Matt Bishop

Vintage Cox Slot Cars

#7 eshorer

eshorer

    On The Lead Lap

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 355 posts
  • Joined: 25-August 07

Posted 22 December 2016 - 02:31 PM

Look up Wright Slot Car Raceway (in Palmdale, CA) on Facebook to see pics of kids and their parents racing in what looks to be a pretty successful series. True, it's only one raceway, but the owner seems to be doing something right! Maybe he, or some of his customers, could add to this conversation if any of them are on Slotblog. 

Eddie


  • Tim Neja, Mark Wampler and SlotStox#53 like this
Eddie (not so Fast anymore) Shorer
Team Boola (circa the '60s)

#8 SlotStox#53

SlotStox#53

    Posting Leader

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,784 posts
  • Joined: 13-March 13
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:TX

Posted 22 December 2016 - 03:56 PM

Can see your point, but, wasn't necessarily "comparing" merely trying to say it's not totally "dead 'N buried" and actually doing rather well citing the situation across the pond in response to the OP statement and thread/topic title.

Does it relate/compare or point to a solution for the commercial raceway business model over here? Probably not..

Maybe all the successful and existing raceway owners/operators need to get together and look for proper ways forward as a group? Or at least take some helpful examples of what makes the successful ones succeed and help out the ones in not so happy places.

#9 Ten shirt

Ten shirt

    Backmarker

  • Full Member
  • PipPip
  • 51 posts
  • Joined: 27-August 14
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Spokane, WA

Posted 22 December 2016 - 04:04 PM

Did my best, https://youtu.be/Hnni5pyNths



Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
  • eshorer, Dushkwoneshe and Garry S like this
Kent Meredith

#10 Bill from NH

Bill from NH

    Age scrubs away speed!

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 8,180 posts
  • Joined: 02-August 07
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:New Boston, NH

Posted 22 December 2016 - 04:55 PM

Great video Kent. That's the type of participation this hobby needs if it wants to survive. When Oregon's Rich Vecchio was teaching school in AZ, he built a track at school & had a similar program for students as your video describes. This was about 12-15 years ago. :)


Bill Fernald

Used puppets for sale!

No springs attached.


#11 Garry S

Garry S

    Mid-Pack Racer

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 117 posts
  • Joined: 07-October 16
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:IA

Posted 22 December 2016 - 05:03 PM

Did my best,
 

 

I would say that programs like this are pretty much the only way we will ever see a renewal of interest in the hobby.  This school is providing exposure to slot car racing in a "captive" environment where other activities may not look as interesting, and proving that kids will enjoy it if given the chance.

 

Contrast this to the plight of the commercial track owner: He not only has a large overhead and low profits, but he must also sell a product that is virtually unknown to the general public.  It's not like opening a restaurant or a nail salon, people know what those are.  

 

Programs like this could educate kids and parents, producing ready customers for commercial tracks, and all would benefit.                                                


  • Tim Neja and Rob Voska like this
Garry Stoner

#12 Justin A. Porter

Justin A. Porter

    On The Lead Lap

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 403 posts
  • Joined: 08-August 08
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:North Ridgeville, OH

Posted 22 December 2016 - 05:21 PM

I can speak genuinely that the goal of the modern slot car track should not be to market to children, but rather to young adults. 

 

Particularly if you look to the relative youth of slot car drag racing (much younger than the typical road course program) you see that young men - now as ever - love to spend their disposable income on a chance to compete with their peers.

 

Providing them with a clean, accessible, relatively inexpensive, and well-populated location to do just that will always prove much more successful.

 

Much like darts leagues, bowling leagues, golfing, or other adult pastimes, slot car racing can and should poise itself as an inexpensive avenue for competitive recreation. 


  • SlotStox#53 and Ten shirt like this

Operator - Haven Raceway in Elyria

Tech Director - Ohio Challenge Cup


#13 MarkH

MarkH

    On The Lead Lap

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 375 posts
  • Joined: 26-November 12
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:St. Louis

Posted 22 December 2016 - 06:52 PM

I just sent an e-amil to our local Scout troop leader offering a day of racing for the boys and parents. Our group is club based. There might be interest, maybe not. But I intend to just let them run the turbo flex cars with 16d motors and high down force Ultimate Indy bodies.

 

I will provide the awards for the top three, fastest qualifier and the most consistent driver (Lap Master Stat). So, putting my best foot forward and we will see where it goes.


  • garyvmachines and Samiam like this

Mark Horne

SERG - www.slotcarenduro.club
"Racing is life... everything else is just waiting." Steve McQueen - LeMans
There are only two things in life that make me feel alive. Racing is one of them.


#14 gatormark

gatormark

    Backmarker

  • Full Member
  • PipPip
  • 70 posts
  • Joined: 15-November 16
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:FL

Posted 22 December 2016 - 07:04 PM

Tried to get the track owner here to call our scoutmaster.....no dice. Some people know nothing about business or marketing for that matter. My girls like running the cars so I guess we will enjoy it while it lasts.


Mark Conner

#15 Bob Kurkowski

Bob Kurkowski

    Mid-Pack Racer

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 190 posts
  • Joined: 14-October 07

Posted 22 December 2016 - 07:07 PM

Raceways need to re-think pushing racing on their customers. Running slot cars without competition can be a very enjoyable hobby that both young and old can enjoy.

 

I was a very hard core racer at one time and sometimes still do race but racing is not the main reason I go to my local raceway anymore, I go to have fun running slot cars with my friends and to help them keep their kids cars running. I don't encourage my friends to get involved in racing either because I know their skill and financial limitations and I want them to return to the track so we can have fun just bangin around and having some laughs. Yeah were the guys who are making all the noise on the oval running our beat-up cars but were also the guys who are helping to pay the raceways bills and the smart owner realizes that and likes what were doing.

 

Racing requires constant equipment purchases weather the racer needs them or not. Tires wear, motors have to be bullets, bodies can't have creases and tears and this is just some of the things that slot car racers must constantly spend money on where as the hobbiest doesn't need to have the prettiest car, the fastest car or even tires that will pass tech or give him that last tenth of a second in performance.

 

Racing may be for some but racing is not for everyone and tracks need to realize that before its too late.

 

Merry Christmas....Bob K.


  • MSwiss, spudboy, Mach9 and 1 other like this

#16 Rob Voska

Rob Voska

    On The Lead Lap

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 426 posts
  • Joined: 12-April 08

Posted 22 December 2016 - 07:45 PM

Post #11 was great.  Kids at that age have a place where they can have ideas & try them out.  You never know where it will lead their lives.

 

Bob K. Shhhhhhhhhh don't tell Al.


  • havlicek likes this

#17 havlicek

havlicek

    OCD Rewinder

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 8,869 posts
  • Joined: 20-August 07
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:NY

Posted 23 December 2016 - 07:05 AM

Re: Post #11...'zactly!


John Havlicek

#18 MarkH

MarkH

    On The Lead Lap

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 375 posts
  • Joined: 26-November 12
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:St. Louis

Posted 23 December 2016 - 07:20 AM

I agree with you that post #11 makes obvious what it takes to generate excitement.

 

I have not heard back the the Scoutmaster. I think following the lead of post #11 may be better than setting up straight races. Get them to understand the car, power, gearing and tires to engage the minds.

 

So my thoughts on a successful approach:

1) Get them started using Turbo Flex or the new JK-A. Both take hits and keep going. Turbo makes more sense to me because of motor mounting

2) Should they play first, maybe a race and then later start with building cars

3) Most likely 16D motors because they can run them longer and easy to do service

4) Higher down force bodies like the Ultimate Indy or Peugeot

 

Any other thoughts you guys have picked up from the video?


Mark Horne

SERG - www.slotcarenduro.club
"Racing is life... everything else is just waiting." Steve McQueen - LeMans
There are only two things in life that make me feel alive. Racing is one of them.


#19 havlicek

havlicek

    OCD Rewinder

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 8,869 posts
  • Joined: 20-August 07
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:NY

Posted 23 December 2016 - 08:02 AM

First and foremost, I think it's important to see that there are two main areas of the hobby...the building and running part and the racing part.  We all started with off the shelf or ready to run cars, then played with fixing them when they inevitably broke :), then started trying to make them go faster, which led to more fixing because that made them break more!

The racing/competitive part can be tricky.  It can be very daunting for a young kid to see the older kids and adults zooming around a track, and also make them self-conscious about their cars.  In surfing when I started competing, there were 1A, 2A, and 3A classes, but there were also "junior" and "senior" classes of competition.  If kids are going to compete, then that (of course!) should be against other kids.  

 

Most important is that parents and schools need to be involved.  Parents are seemingly less-willing or able nowadays, and the schools are often not interested in fostering any sort of mechanically-slanted interests (*with some notable exceptions).  As I said, I don't see slot cars AT ALL as a "kids hobby", but for slots to survive at all, there will sure need to be younger generations getting involved.  None of this, even if it were to happen, would make for some sort of "renaissance" in slots, but it couldn't hurt.

 

-john


  • boxerdog likes this
John Havlicek

#20 Bob Kurkowski

Bob Kurkowski

    Mid-Pack Racer

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 190 posts
  • Joined: 14-October 07

Posted 23 December 2016 - 08:36 AM

Perhaps the industry and the distributors need to take their old stock {low sale flexi's chassis, outdated motors, old bodies, etc] and give it to the local school, vocational or otherwise and allow young minds to build cars and then take the participants of the building programs to a raceway to see how their handwork performs. This will open the door to new slot car hobbiest and hopefully everybody will benefit from this increased participation. You got to lead them to the water before they can drink remember.

 

The door however needs a opening and the industry needs to open that door not people on the internet because first and foremost its the industries  liveyhood that is on the line and they need to wake up and realize that they need to make a move now more then ever.

 

Think beyond just assembling cars. there is huge potential for the schools to offer a complete learning experience all the way from basic car assembly to actual production of cars utilizing modern lazer technology and even electronic assembly and design of actual slot car controller within electrical classes. School art programs can also benefit by offering painting of old out dated bodies as canvas.

 

Merry Christmas....Bob K.


  • Samiam likes this

#21 Rob Voska

Rob Voska

    On The Lead Lap

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 426 posts
  • Joined: 12-April 08

Posted 23 December 2016 - 10:14 AM

3D printed chassis.  Vocational carpentry class could build the track.  Who knows what a new generation might morph slot cars into......



#22 tazman

tazman

    Mid-Pack Racer

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 185 posts
  • Joined: 30-November 07
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Reno, NV

Posted 23 December 2016 - 10:44 AM

Post #21 sounds like a great idea!

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N920A using Tapatalk
Rick Ortogero

#23 boxerdog

boxerdog

    Race Leader

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 601 posts
  • Joined: 10-November 10
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Modesto, CA

Posted 23 December 2016 - 11:55 AM

I hate to be a pessimist, but I don't see any future in trying to lure in millennials and/or whatever they call the current group of kids. As a group, they have short attention spans and little interest in building anything. They have also been trained that competition is not healthy. Thus we have participant awards. 

 

There are always exceptions, but it can be very difficult to draw even those individuals out because they have so many options in terms of entertainment. I see many young adults, and I think, to a certain extent, that they have been pre-conditioned by their schools and parents. Hobbies are irrelevant, let's light up the social media instead.

 

Even the full-size car hobby isn't the same as it was a few decades ago. Actually, the "kids" that get involved tend to be very skilled, there are just fewer of them. 

 

JMO


David Cummerow

#24 Mattb

Mattb

    Race Leader

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 859 posts
  • Joined: 13-August 11
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:IN

Posted 23 December 2016 - 02:11 PM

Lots of good ideas here, I sure won't argue with any of them. I'm afraid it's just too late to save commercial racing in any meaningful way. 10-15 years, if there are more than 20-30 viable commercial shops I would be real surprised. Probably only a minority of us will even be here to see when that time comes. The school track and hobby type tracks with kids invited might bring a few of the kids/young adults into home racing (club style). Even then they will have to take off from age 15-35 just like all of us did. When you drive, discover the opposite sex, go to school, work, start a family, and raise kids, it's hard to put any meaningful time and money into a hobby. I think most all of us have been thru that stage of life. Still lots of good ideas, but I think we are better off to enjoy what we have, share it with anybody you can and let the future be whatever it turns out to be.
Matt Bishop

Vintage Cox Slot Cars

#25 Bill from NH

Bill from NH

    Age scrubs away speed!

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 8,180 posts
  • Joined: 02-August 07
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:New Boston, NH

Posted 23 December 2016 - 03:34 PM

Some day the hobby is going to run out of us old men. Then what?


Bill Fernald

Used puppets for sale!

No springs attached.


#26 MSwiss

MSwiss

    Grand Champion Poster

  • Advertiser
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 17,428 posts
  • Joined: 16-April 06
  • Gender:Male

Posted 23 December 2016 - 03:56 PM

I can speak genuinely that the goal of the modern slot car track should not be to market to children, but rather to young adults. 

 

Particularly if you look to the relative youth of slot car drag racing (much younger than the typical road course program) you see that young men - now as ever - love to spend their disposable income on a chance to compete with their peers.

 

Providing them with a clean, accessible, relatively inexpensive, and well-populated location to do just that will always prove much more successful.

 

Much like darts leagues, bowling leagues, golfing, or other adult pastimes, slot car racing can and should poise itself as an inexpensive avenue for competitive recreation. 

I agree.

 

I've gotten groups of 20 something car guys in, hold rental car races for them, etc.

 

They'll be hot 'n heavy for 3-4 weeks and then you don't see them again.

 

I hate to be a pessimist, but I don't see any future in trying to lure in millennials and/or whatever they call the current group of kids. As a group, they have short attention spans and little interest in building anything. They have also been trained that competition is not healthy. Thus we have participant awards. 

 

There are always exceptions, but it can be very difficult to draw even those individuals out because they have so many options in terms of entertainment. I see many young adults, and I think, to a certain extent, that they have been pre-conditioned by their schools and parents. Hobbies are irrelevant, let's light up the social media instead.

 

Even the full-size car hobby isn't the same as it was a few decades ago. Actually, the "kids" that get involved tend to be very skilled, there are just fewer of them. 

 

JMO

I disagree a bit.

 

I see on the real car websites, like Jalopnik, a steady stream of articles about ornate Lego Technics cars.

 

New ones come out all the time.

 

Someone has to be buying them.


Mike Swiss
 
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990)
Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder (pointless era - LOL) 
17B West Ogden AveWestmont, IL 60559, ( 708) 203-8003
mikeswiss86@hotmail.com (also my PayPal address) 
Note: Send all USPS packages and mail to: 5858 Chase Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60516
Make checks out to Chicagoland Woodworking, Inc.


#27 Ramcatlarry

Ramcatlarry

    Checkered Flag in Hand

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,709 posts
  • Joined: 08-March 06
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:St Charles, IL 60174

Posted 23 December 2016 - 04:02 PM

I was always able to get the cub scouts and brownies to have pizza/racing parties along with regular birthday parties. Usually got some return customers in the kids and parents.  Let them understand HOW the cars work before holding a short 'crash and burn' race.  Slot racing should teach responsible driving and mechanical skills.

 

I have always felt that the lawyers have been the enemy - they closed the YMCA wood craft shop where you might get a cut finger, but they now advocate public skateboard parks where you can break bones or kill you.  A brother of one of my friends had a board go out from under him and he never woke up after crushing the back of his skull after he hit the ground.


Larry D. Kelley, MA
retired raceway owner... (for now)
race directing around Chicago-land

USRA 2017 member #404
USSCA  member

Host 2006 ISRA/USA
Great Lakes Slot Car Club member
60+ year pin Racing rail/slot cars in America


#28 Dallas Racer

Dallas Racer

    Checkered Flag in Hand

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,491 posts
  • Joined: 03-November 07
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Dallas, TX

Posted 23 December 2016 - 06:26 PM

I'm in the "we're running out of old guys" club. Most of us have kids, grandkids and great grandkids. That's
a slew of younger people to repopulate the hobby. You don't need anyone else. So where are they? If we can't even get our own flesh and blood interested, what makes you think we can total strangers interested?

Phil Smith ® ™


#29 boxerdog

boxerdog

    Race Leader

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 601 posts
  • Joined: 10-November 10
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Modesto, CA

Posted 23 December 2016 - 06:33 PM

We all grew up building stuff. Erector sets, trains, model cars and planes, all sizes of home slot cars. The commercial tracks were a great step up. And, like Larry said, we had mandatory metal and wood shop classes here. Now??? 

 

Don't get your hands dirty!!


David Cummerow

#30 jimht

jimht

    Checkered Flag in Hand

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,122 posts
  • Joined: 16-February 06
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:The Alamo City

Posted 23 December 2016 - 07:50 PM

Slot cars are toys. All of the geezers here started off with toy slot cars ~50 years ago.

Those cheap toy cars attracted huge numbers of players into the Raceways.

 

The toy market we compete now against makes fully functional drones and RC cars for less than $20.

Good luck finding a slot car to use on a commercial track that doesn't cost at least 3 times as much and also require a degree in rocket science to maintain.

 

It's not that slot cars are any less fun than they ever were...it's that we no longer sell a basic toy to attract the masses that's competitive in the toy market.

 

This business was incredibly successful when it had inexpensive basic toys for the beginner that was looking for fun, not a Hobby.

It died when the toys disappeared and has been dead ever since.

 

The organised racing has always been there and has pretty much been static in terms of involvement...no growth to speak of for twenty years.

 

The decline in the number of commercial Raceways that still continues is based on not having a product to sell besides organised racing and the esoteric expensive equipment that goes with it.

 

New commercial Raceways that survive by selling toys...good luck on that one.

All we're doing is recycling a club racing concept that appeals to an incredibly small group as the tracks get passed around from one devotee to another.

Kids have nothing to do with it and never will.


Jim Honeycutt

"I don't think I'm ever more 'aware' than I am right after I hit my thumb with a hammer." - Jack Handey [Deep Thoughts]


#31 Uncle Fred

Uncle Fred

    Checkered Flag in Hand

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,205 posts
  • Joined: 29-September 06
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Trophy Club, TX

Posted 23 December 2016 - 07:54 PM

Things are built on computers and 3D printers anything else is a curiosity........  I read two articles today, one about the love affair with the automobile being dead. The other about Lewis Hamilton wanting to promote F1 in the US.  In 10 yrears half of the cars on the road will be driverless..........


Fred Correnti

#32 Samiam

Samiam

    Posting Leader

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,817 posts
  • Joined: 18-January 12
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Long Island, NY

Posted 23 December 2016 - 08:07 PM

In 10 yrears half of the cars on the road will be driverless..........

I can swear half of them are now.


  • Phil Nyland, Rob Voska and boxerdog like this
Sam Levitch
 
When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything is a nail.
Support your local raceway, or you won't have one.
Slot cars are quad-pods.
Support your "Local Racer."
:laugh2:

#33 MSwiss

MSwiss

    Grand Champion Poster

  • Advertiser
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 17,428 posts
  • Joined: 16-April 06
  • Gender:Male

Posted 23 December 2016 - 08:20 PM


I see on the real car websites, like Jalopnik, a steady stream of articles about ornate Lego Technics cars.

 

Someone has to be buying them.

I'll try again.

 

If people aren't building car oriented stuff, how this all this exist?

 

https://shop.lego.co...d-Breaker-42033

 

https://shop.lego.co...CSEU8&HQS=42048

 

https://shop.lego.co...CSEU8&HQS=42037

 

https://shop.lego.co...rag-Racer-42050

 

https://shop.lego.co...11-GT3-RS-42056


Mike Swiss
 
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990)
Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder (pointless era - LOL) 
17B West Ogden AveWestmont, IL 60559, ( 708) 203-8003
mikeswiss86@hotmail.com (also my PayPal address) 
Note: Send all USPS packages and mail to: 5858 Chase Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60516
Make checks out to Chicagoland Woodworking, Inc.


#34 MarkH

MarkH

    On The Lead Lap

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 375 posts
  • Joined: 26-November 12
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:St. Louis

Posted 23 December 2016 - 08:45 PM

Well I guess we have a fairly comprehensive list of the doom ahead for slot car racing following our recruitment paradigm. 

 

Some of these arguments seem to come from much frustration perhaps about rehashing this subject. Some from a proper understanding of the human nature instilled upon most of our youth. I do feel however we should not be painting a whole age group with the same brush.

 

I for one did not race in the glory days in the seventies. While my uncle did and he gave me cars to run, the price to actually make them suitable for the track was more than I could afford and Dad was unwilling. I was only 8-10 years old and while I could only watch the "wealthy" guys run their cars, it left a strong impression on me. Twenty five years later the phone rang. The next five years were spent racing slot cars at the local track. It went away. Eleven years later I stumbled upon the strong club racing here in STL. Raced a couple of years. I built a track. Started a new club that offers a different format that does not compete with the old guard. Both clubs have strong turns outs. I have brought at least 4 people into the fold and they brought some as well. So I would say I am unique except for this audience.

 

The whole point here is expecting a person to be exactly like all the rest of the people in any age demographic is wrong. There are people out there, both young and more mature, that will find slot cars fascinating. They may only partake for a short time now or they may come back some years later. Either way we are but a small portion the general population. Using fictitious easy numbers, the Slot Car community could be around 30,000 people in the USA with a population of 340,000,000. So that means each one of us are just 1 in 11,333 people. We are odd balls. There are other odd balls out there. 

 

So we should expect many defeats in our recruitment efforts. A tree drop thousands of seeds hoping that at least one will take root and grow. Perhaps it is just something as simple as spreading the seeds and waiting for the trees to take root. I think we run out of patients and want the fruit before the trees.

 

Never give up. There is no winning without some pain.


  • Dushkwoneshe likes this

Mark Horne

SERG - www.slotcarenduro.club
"Racing is life... everything else is just waiting." Steve McQueen - LeMans
There are only two things in life that make me feel alive. Racing is one of them.


#35 Uncle Fred

Uncle Fred

    Checkered Flag in Hand

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,205 posts
  • Joined: 29-September 06
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Trophy Club, TX

Posted 23 December 2016 - 08:45 PM

I had a friend who collected old tin peddle cars.  Just because someone might be interested doesn't mean it's popular or a growing hobby.


Fred Correnti

#36 MSwiss

MSwiss

    Grand Champion Poster

  • Advertiser
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 17,428 posts
  • Joined: 16-April 06
  • Gender:Male

Posted 23 December 2016 - 08:59 PM

Jerry Kulich called me earlier to wish me a Merry Christmas and get caught up on slot car gossip.

 

He's a good reminder of the situation.

 

He had an oval track set up under the grandstands at a CART race back around 20 years ago.

 

He had a steady flow of guys partaking, in pay to play races, and he gave out flyers to them for his raceway.

 

He said he had one follow-up walking into his raceway to do it again.

 

IOW, I think there are plenty willing to do it as an amusement, but very few wanting to take it up as a hobby.

 

At the holidays, I get a lot of families that come in.

 

I run 8 heat,  IROC style, rental car races for them.

 

They have fun, and come back 365 days later, and do it again.

 

Same with kid's birthday parties.

 

They will have their birthday at my raceway 2 or 3 years in a row, but I never see them in between, or maybe once a year, on some odd day, all the kids are off of school.


  • Tim Neja likes this

Mike Swiss
 
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990)
Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder (pointless era - LOL) 
17B West Ogden AveWestmont, IL 60559, ( 708) 203-8003
mikeswiss86@hotmail.com (also my PayPal address) 
Note: Send all USPS packages and mail to: 5858 Chase Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60516
Make checks out to Chicagoland Woodworking, Inc.


#37 Uncle Fred

Uncle Fred

    Checkered Flag in Hand

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,205 posts
  • Joined: 29-September 06
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Trophy Club, TX

Posted 23 December 2016 - 09:19 PM

Do they view it as a hobby.........or a sport even?


Fred Correnti

#38 MSwiss

MSwiss

    Grand Champion Poster

  • Advertiser
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 17,428 posts
  • Joined: 16-April 06
  • Gender:Male

Posted 23 December 2016 - 09:26 PM

It's no different than the person who goes bowling once a year.
  • garyvmachines likes this

Mike Swiss
 
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990)
Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder (pointless era - LOL) 
17B West Ogden AveWestmont, IL 60559, ( 708) 203-8003
mikeswiss86@hotmail.com (also my PayPal address) 
Note: Send all USPS packages and mail to: 5858 Chase Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60516
Make checks out to Chicagoland Woodworking, Inc.


#39 Tom Eatherly

Tom Eatherly

    Checkered Flag in Hand

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,600 posts
  • Joined: 28-October 11
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:SoCal

Posted 23 December 2016 - 11:08 PM

Some day the hobby is going to run out of us old men. Then what?

Toast! Enjoy while we can.


Tom Eatherly

#40 Bill from NH

Bill from NH

    Age scrubs away speed!

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 8,180 posts
  • Joined: 02-August 07
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:New Boston, NH

Posted 23 December 2016 - 11:22 PM

If slot racing dies before I do, I've got woodworking to fall back on as a hobby. Woodworking will never die unless all the trees do first. :good:


Bill Fernald

Used puppets for sale!

No springs attached.


#41 NSwanberg

NSwanberg

    Race Leader

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 940 posts
  • Joined: 01-April 09
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Canton, MI

Posted 24 December 2016 - 04:17 AM

@21:00 How to make millions with slot car raceways?

 

http://nbr.com/2016/...cember-23-2016/


  • Samiam and Mach9 like this
Remember the Steube bar!
SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL RACEWAY!!
"The denial of denial is the first sign of denial." Hank, from Corner Gas
Nelson Swanberg

Peace be with all of us and good racing for the rest of us.
Have controller. Will travel. Slot Car Heaven
Posted Image

#42 Bob Kurkowski

Bob Kurkowski

    Mid-Pack Racer

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 190 posts
  • Joined: 14-October 07

Posted 24 December 2016 - 06:36 AM

That newscast made me think of the last time I seen a pinball machine or a foos ball table. Its been quite a while to say the least. A lot of these games are now inside of private individuals homes.

 

Perhaps the days of the commercial raceway are in fact on life support and club or basement tracks will become the norm.

 

Just for chits and jiggles somebody [industry] needs to investigate how the recent increase of indoor kart tracks survive the summer months and ask them if they would put a slot track in their facility.

 

Bob K.


  • boxerdog and Mach9 like this

#43 MrWeiler

MrWeiler

    Posting Leader

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,080 posts
  • Joined: 23-May 06
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Oceanside CA (EX Simi)

Posted 24 December 2016 - 08:26 AM

<Of course, there's also the competitive aspect which has a natural appeal, but competitiveness isn't something that needs "advertising"...t hat's just "human.">

--Not any more, besides the stuff you bring up below, kids today are being taught that competing is bad, just show up and you get a trophy. I have seem mommies bring in kids for a birthday party and have the kids just drive the cars...refuse an offer to organize a race...because they don't want anybody to "feel bad".

<Younger people today have been brought up and educated precisely not to get their hands dirty. They've been told that success is exactly the opposite and they should try to get to a place where they can have other people get their hands dirty for them. As a grade-schooler, I can still remember how much I looked forward to shop class, whether it was woodworking, metalworking, or electrical shop. No doubt that exposure, along with "band," helped shape me (for better or worse) as much as anything else. It's a sort of "criminal negligence" on the part of our educational system that this is mostly all gone now. Then again, children get almost no instruction in even something as basic (and proven to be beneficial) as penmanship either. >

Starting about 20 years ago I started to see people who didn't know how, or want to learn anything about tools, soldering, painting or anything but driving.
  • boxerdog likes this
"TANSTAAFL" (There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.)
Robert Anson Heinlein

"Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude."
Alexis de Tocqueville

"In practice, socialism didn't work. But socialism could never have worked because it is based on false premises about human psychology and society, and gross ignorance of human economy."
David Horowitz

Mike Brannian

#44 Eddie Fleming

Eddie Fleming

    Race Leader

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 647 posts
  • Joined: 27-April 14
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Fayetteville, GA

Posted 24 December 2016 - 09:30 AM

All true to one extent or another.

 Look at the photos from races and I see a lot of us from the 60's but I see a number of younger faces too. Some of them even build as well as race. I think there is hope for the hobby in some form, whatever that may be. In the 60's slot racers were not in the majority. we were a small group even then. A young guy like Taylor Davis working to restart the SERRA gives me hope and I will support that as I can.


  • Samiam likes this
Eddie Fleming

#45 Cap Henry

Cap Henry

    CHR Cars

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,480 posts
  • Joined: 25-October 08
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Bellevue, OH

Posted 24 December 2016 - 10:32 AM

Kid participation common type hobbies has been declining in general. I'll just the things I have personal experience with, RC cars, slot cars, and karting.

When I was 8-12 the rookie/ junior karting classes always had 12-18 entries, but as we moved up into the senior classes, there wasn't more kids coming in filling those classes. Now I go to a kart race and see 3-5 rookies on a good day. Same thing for slot cars, I got into it when I was 13, there was enough kids at several tracks that we had our own race, with sit outs! What made it fun was racing kids my age. Now if I go to a race, I'm often times the youngest person there, but if not there's one young teenager racing with all the adults. Not that that's a problem, but realistically once that kid gets a license, he's probably not going to a slot car track.

The problem is the hobbies thst younger kids are into aren't hands on, build stuff with your hands type hobbies. Sure there are some that break that rule, Eric Gehrken, James Grandi, Willy, Jimmy Williams, etc, but we all started at a younger age, and also some had Motorsports related backgrounds so it was an easy transition.

I feel Retro was a step in the right direction because it put some versatility and creativeness back into it. But there is definitely a retention problem.
  • boxerdog, Samiam and Mach9 like this

Team PSC
Parma PSE
CHR Cars
JDR-Joe Dirt Racing


#46 Samiam

Samiam

    Posting Leader

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,817 posts
  • Joined: 18-January 12
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Long Island, NY

Posted 24 December 2016 - 10:57 AM

Look at the recent IRRA race reports. Many young faces in those podium pics. And they are not just trigger monkeys. Many of them are builders and innovators.

 

 Some of the young blood making the scene: Willy Custer,Tom Adams,John Weaver,Jimmy Williams,Adam Chaya,Collin Martin,Joe Salzman,Joe Emm,Jerry Herbert Jr.,Duran Trujillo,Wes Pikunis,James Grandi,Eric Gehrken,Timmy Skurka,Jonathan Sohl,just to name a few.

 

Most if not all of these  guys were not even alive in the 60s. Hell, I got tires older than some of these kids. So Retro is not nostalgia for them. They like it for what it is today. 

 

We can do our part this Holiday Season and buy a slot car race set for at least one youngster. H.O. was my gateway scale into slots. I did see a 1/43 set in a local Wal-Mart. And just about anything is available online.


  • Eddie Fleming and Dushkwoneshe like this
Sam Levitch
 
When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything is a nail.
Support your local raceway, or you won't have one.
Slot cars are quad-pods.
Support your "Local Racer."
:laugh2:

#47 MSwiss

MSwiss

    Grand Champion Poster

  • Advertiser
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 17,428 posts
  • Joined: 16-April 06
  • Gender:Male

Posted 24 December 2016 - 11:09 AM

Tom Adams?

I think he's a little older than you think.

Mike Swiss
 
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990)
Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder (pointless era - LOL) 
17B West Ogden AveWestmont, IL 60559, ( 708) 203-8003
mikeswiss86@hotmail.com (also my PayPal address) 
Note: Send all USPS packages and mail to: 5858 Chase Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60516
Make checks out to Chicagoland Woodworking, Inc.


#48 Samiam

Samiam

    Posting Leader

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,817 posts
  • Joined: 18-January 12
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Long Island, NY

Posted 24 December 2016 - 11:19 AM

Slot car racing keeps you young. 


Sam Levitch
 
When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything is a nail.
Support your local raceway, or you won't have one.
Slot cars are quad-pods.
Support your "Local Racer."
:laugh2:

#49 MSwiss

MSwiss

    Grand Champion Poster

  • Advertiser
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 17,428 posts
  • Joined: 16-April 06
  • Gender:Male

Posted 24 December 2016 - 11:25 AM

It must.

 

I'm pretty sure Tom is at least 50. lol


Mike Swiss
 
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990)
Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder (pointless era - LOL) 
17B West Ogden AveWestmont, IL 60559, ( 708) 203-8003
mikeswiss86@hotmail.com (also my PayPal address) 
Note: Send all USPS packages and mail to: 5858 Chase Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60516
Make checks out to Chicagoland Woodworking, Inc.


#50 tonyp

tonyp

    Grand Champion Poster

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 13,363 posts
  • Joined: 12-February 07
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Sanford, FL, land of lizards and big roaches

Posted 24 December 2016 - 11:32 AM

Tom raced back when I did in the early 80's
  • MSwiss likes this

"And if my thought-dreams could be seen they'd probably put my head in a guillotine. But it's alright, Ma, it's life, and life only." - Dylan

1965 "Evil Bucks Racer" Team
Revtech Team Trinity
Noose Painted Bodies
Retro East co-founder
American King track single lap world record holder & 40 minute total lap record
First IM Nationals Champion
Arco Champion
Car Model Magazine Series Amateur Champion
2016 ORS Anglewinder Constructors Championsh
ip






Electric Dreams Online Shop