When we're with our old geezer gang...I'm not the biggest talker...or the loudest laugher...or the flamboyant fashion queen...HOWEVER :8) I don't make it a habit of taking 'anything' uncalled for...from 'anyone'.
Many of you have heard me talk about going to the races at Springfield and how the majority of the folks look just like Billy and me. There's not a lot of the rough and rowdy Harley Bikers...that set in the grandstand to watch the race. They're usually there...but most of them are there for the party...and they stand around in front of the grandstand and around under the trees...and gab and get drunk...waiting for the race to get over so they can go to 'the party'...you get the picture, right?
So for years, I've had a hard time figuring out just why they do a lot of the things they do 'during the race'...for the crowd that is in the stands...because I think I speak for most of us when I say..."it's just not most of our cup of tea". The heavy metal music is horrendously loud...Budweiser signs were plastered across the front of the track & down each side...it didn't matter where you looked...you couldn't help but catch a good glimpse of a Budweiser sign from out of the corner of your eye. And a few of the signs were HUGE...like 2 or 3 feet high and about 24 feet long.
Between each race class...this old drunk as a skunk announcer would encourage folks to run out and grab an ice cold Budweiser...promising them that they had time...and to hurry back. Every 10 minutes..he would announce the big beer bash in downtown Springfield after the race and encourage everybody to 'meet up' there...
This particular announcer has been at Springfield ever since we started going to the races in the 1990's... and he'd get so drunk he'd slur his words...every other sentence out of his mouth was, "How'd you like THAT mile?" I got so sick of hearing that sentence...I wanted to just go up on the podium & cram that doggone microphone right smack dab down his throat. :-/
At one race we went to at Habstadt,(sp?) Indiana...I think it was...he got so drunk they had to help him down the steps at the end of the race...and having a man holding him on each side wasn't even helping a lot...he was SO drunk...they couldn't even hold him up.
Weeeeeeeeelll...you know 'me'...and I'll stew about something just so long...until I decide it's time somebody did something about it...and knowing that isn't likely...I usually decide to just 'do it myself.' I came home from the races last May and sat down at my computer and typed up an email & zoomed it off to IMDA and AMA...the ring leaders in putting on these races. When I read it to Billy before I sent it, he just shook his head and said, "Well Flat Track racing...it's been fun!" Because he said they'd never allow me back in the grandstand. But this is pretty much what I said:
"I just wanted to let you folks know how disappointed we and many thousands of others are...each time we come to your races and see how utterly pathetic these races are being run.
For one thing...your grandstands are mostly filled with baby boomers...and while some or even many of them may have had a bit of a rough and rowdy past decades ago...most of us have just settled in to be clean cut 'Ward & June Clevers' who have nice homes, hold down good jobs and try to live a pretty decent life...and we really don't care for your 'horrendously loud heavy metal music to murder by'..we'd rather have quiet so we can just relax or set and visit with folks around us...& we don't care for your drunk as a skunk announcer who is having to be held up way before the end of the race. We don't care to hear him encouraging all the 'bikers' to run and get an ice cold Budweiser...because many of them are already so drunk they can't carry on a conversation...and some of us have even brought our grandkids and great grandkids with us...because you have advertised a 'family atmosphere'..and we're not happy about bringing them with us only to find such a disgusting environment..
We can absolutely understand this announcer being so stupid that he would continue to try to 'do' this job if allowed to...even in his less than perfect state of mind...but what we can't understand...is that none of you...seem to be smart enough to see what you are giving to the clean cut families that pay to get in your grandstand.
Now if you want to continue this behavior...you may soon find yourself...with your baby boomers that pay to get in your grandstands...deciding they have better things they can be doing with their time and money...and those drunken biker freeloaders that are standing 'outside' your gates and paying you 'nothing'...will be all you have left.
If you're actually interested in your races being the best they can be...here are my suggestions:
You should replace the drunken announcer with Barry (forgot his last name..but knew it last year) He announces at DuQuoin...and we have never seen nor heard the slightest bad thing from him. He actually knows 'about' the race and the racers and actually gives out very interesting & entertaining information all during a race. So please look into replacing the worthless drunk announcer with "Barry"...you just couldn't do better.
PLEASE TURN OFF THAT BLASTED HEAVY METAL MUSIC!!! We are the BABY BOOMERS...we grew up with swoozie music that gave you a warm and fuzzy feeling...this ridiculously loud and annoying music is enough to make a person want to STAY AWAY from your races...WE DON"T WANT IT!!! We want nothing at all so we can visit...or something much softer from 'our' era. WE are your paying audience...so cater to 'us', please...if you don't mind.
There should be absolutely NO encouragement of drinking alcohol from the announcers stand...as most people at these races are there on 2 wheels...and if they can't stand up on their own 2 feet & walk a straight line for 3 steps...how in the name of Pete do you expect them to hold themselves up PLUS a thousand pound MOTORCYCLE...YOU ARE INVITING DEATH AND DESTRUCTION!!!
PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE take down those horrible BUDWEISER SIGNS!!! This is a so called 'family event'...a 'motorcycle race'...NOT a nightclub or a BAR!!! Please check and see if Pepsi or Coca Cola would be interested in being your sole sponsor...I'm sure either of them would be thrilled.
My husband has mentioned the fact that setting in your grandstands are folks riding all makes and models of motorcycles...yet all we see on the tracks during the race are Harley Davidsons...Why don't you check into the possibility of adding Hondas, Suzuki's, BMW's and others...your 'paying race goers' would be thrilled to death."
Well...you folks know me...the email I sent to IMDA and AMA...was pretty long..but I got my points across.
We didn't hear back from them at all. Billy said I'd be getting an email from both and they'd tell me if I didn't like the way they ran things...to just stay home. :-)
We loaded up last September to go back to Springfield...and by now, I had forgotten all about my emails. We got in the grandstand..and the first thing we noticed was that the drunk as a skunk announcer had been demoted to interviewing the racers down on the track...and Barry "WhatsHisName" was in the tower on the main announcers microphone. I looked at Billy and my mouth fell open...Billy just smiled and said, "Coincidence!"
But after looking around a bit...I noticed the Budweiser signs were gone...the signs still said, Budweiser...but they were about 2 feet high and about 3 feet long and there was only 3...one on each end of the track fence in front of the grandstand...and one in the middle.
And when Barry announced an intermission...he didn't say a word about going out to get an ice cold beer...he said, "Why don't you folks stand up and stretch your legs a bit...and if you're thirsty...we have some ice cold bottled water in the concession stands." :-0
I looked at Billy and said, "Coincidence huh?" He just smiled and shook his head.
The music was better last September...not as loud...a little country...a little other things...but it was ok.
This past weekend...we were met with NO BUDWEISER signs...I guess Budweiser didn't like having to go to smaller signs....but they had very small and un-intrusive (sp?)..Miller Lite signs...there was NOT ONE mention of going out for a cold beer...ice water and Pepsi was all that was mentioned...the music was from the baby boomers generation...and they had some really 'nice' gooshie stuff...
There was absolutely no mention of the after race party in down town Springfield..and Barry was in the main announcers tower...giving us all kinds of interesting information we didn't know...the old drunk announcer was in the grandstand with us this weekend...he wasn't even given a microphone...and racing on that track this weekend was Harleys, Hondas, Suzuki's, Yamaha's...just every kind of motorcycle imaginable...
So...coincidence...don't make me laugh...if I hadn't written those 2 emails...we'd have set down to the same old same old...last September and this weekend...but I expect it only to get better from here on out...
THERE IS POWER IN ONE...and it's just like our old country preacher says..."If you don't stand for something...you'll fall for anything." One person absolutely CAN make a difference. EVERY SINGLE ONE of the issues I mentioned in my emails...were not only 'addressed' at the races after those emails...the suggestions I made...were used.
I'll have to admit...that when I sent off those emails right after the race last May...Billy was pretty preturbed with me...but he's proud as punch now...and I've heard him tell this story more than once...and he'll tell the story and then say...
"She may only be 5 foot and 130 pounds & quiet as a church mouse from where 'you're' settin' ...but ya better not get her ralled up!"
We absolutely CAN make Metropolis what we want it to be...we absolutely CAN make our surroundings what we want them to be...ONE PERSON absolutely CAN make a difference...it's all up to you...
This has been a birds eye view from Round Knob Canyon and the world of the Katydid...until next time...you are loved!