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Lack of kids racing will be the death of our hobby


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#26 MSwiss

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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
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
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#27 Ramcatlarry

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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
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#28 Dallas Racer

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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

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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

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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

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#31 Uncle Fred

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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..........


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#32 Samiam

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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.


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#33 MSwiss

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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
 
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Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990)
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Note: Send all USPS packages and mail to: 5858 Chase Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60516
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#34 MarkH

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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.


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#35 Uncle Fred

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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.


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#36 MSwiss

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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.


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Mike Swiss
 
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
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Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990)
Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder
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

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Posted 23 December 2016 - 09:19 PM

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


Fred Correnti

#38 MSwiss

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Posted 23 December 2016 - 09:26 PM

It's no different than the person who goes bowling once a year.
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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
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

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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

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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:


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#41 NSwanberg

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Posted 24 December 2016 - 04:17 AM

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

 

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


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#42 Bob Kurkowski

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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.


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#43 MrWeiler

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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.
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#44 Eddie Fleming

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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.


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#45 Cap Henry

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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.
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#46 Samiam

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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.


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#47 MSwiss

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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
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

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Posted 24 December 2016 - 11:19 AM

Slot car racing keeps you young. 


Sam Levitch
 
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#49 MSwiss

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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
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

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Posted 24 December 2016 - 11:32 AM

Tom raced back when I did in the early 80's
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