Is this the magic formula for judging and making pro comps work?
Part 3 of 4
We left off yesterday talking about the two realms of flatland. The first pure riding for yourself. The second, "how do you make a living from flatland, if possible?"
Effraim: Riders are now openly bitching out the judges at every contest, its like the online forum went live to the contest. We need to get organized, have credibility, systems in place, if you are going to bitch, do it privately, not on a stage for all to see. Majority of times judges are there as volunteers. I mean you've been there Bobby, honestly, when was the last time you left a contest more stoked than when you arrived there?
Bobby: Seems to me that trying to judge flatland or apply some sort of standard formula doesn't work. Flatland is supposed to be free. I say let it be free and without judgement. Let the riders ride.
Effraim: So you can't have a contest? Equal prize money? Someone always wants a winner? You didn't answer bobby, when was the last time you left a contest more stoked than when you arrived there?
Bobby: It's been 8 years and only about 2 times, the first Voodoo Jam and World Classic...the other times I honestly was quite exhausted afterward and then bummed about the complaining. There is no formula that will work to judge flatland. No matter which way you approach it, there will be always be a huge flaw. I could go into it more, but look at it this way, the point of being a pro is to bring original and difficult tricks. In the theoretical situation where everyone pulled a flawless run of all original and difficult tricks, would everyone tie for first? At that point, you would have to choose a winner based off of what you "like", not on objective technical points. Although the chances of this happening is very small, we are still approaching that point. Especially as riders are getting more and more dialed in their routines. It's going to be negative drama every time....and you're volunteering to jump into it as a judge. Each year, negativity seems to get worse. There is no formula that will work without stifling the creativity of the riders. Look at the way they judge artistic cycling. The riders can only do certain tricks from their official trick book and each one has difficulty assigned and a proper way to execute it. You can't bust out some new trick and surprise everyone because they don't have an objective way to judge the new trick.
Effraim: Exactly and you're one of the positive dudes, I know. To me their needs to be a system in place where riders can voice their opinions, but do it in the right way this has been going on a while now.
Bobby: Well, most pros want to or are trying to somehow build a living out of flatland. The traditional way is comps + sponsors.
Effraim: Flatland is just static, the riding progresses at home but not at the contest.
Bobby: It usually works in other sports, but I think that flatland is a special situation...
Effraim: Look at Martti and what hes doing. Its beautiful! He's inspiring everyone in some way.
Bobby: Yes. We'll get to Martti in a second. heh heh!
Effraim: We need a governing body in place to deal with all these issues, share it between riders. At the moment, theres no money, so its a question of time.
Bobby: We don't sell tons of product...but I can name a handful of riders that make a living from doing shows, essentially selling flatland as entertainment. We got paid to do that Adidas commercial with Snoop. We didn't need to practice 5 in a row for that, we needed to know how to handle the situation with the production companies. But the industry doesn't focus on that. They focus on comps. Commercials and TV appearances have the potential to put BMX out there way more than a comp.
Kelloggs Frosted Flakes - BMX Freestyle from Sparks on Vimeo.
This frosted flakes commercial probably paid more to the riders than a pro comp and if it was broadcasted, has way more reach than comp coverage.
Effraim: Eddie Fiola came to Southsea on the GT World Tour back when i started. Curb dogs.
Bobby: I'm thinking the main strategy to help flatland grow and for pros to make a living is shows + sponsors. Look at Terry Adams...Sponsored athlete + demos all over the place. He's making a living from flatland...
Effraim: Its the riders holding onto the comps.
Bobby: The riders need to hold on to shows + sponsors. If it is even possible, the governing body should be helping to get shows that get riders paid. Seems as though the companies should be getting their riders out there doing demos, attending jams, and creating cool media that helps bring flatland to the riders and anyone else interested in viewing.
Effraim: If they want a living, yeah. Yes, that's good idea.
Bobby: The governing body, if one could even be assembled, should be going out and being a source of information for riders as well as sponsors.
Effraim: Exactly. Set up between a bunch of riders that love the sport for what it is, no vested interest.
Bobby: It should let riders know how to handle commercials, tv shows etc. That seems the best bet to me. Not comps.
Effraim: Make it happen, B!
Effraim: You have lot of good ideas, your ideally located.
Bobby: I'll try to do what I can, but it should be a global movement.
Effraim: As you say make your dreams a reality. Has to start somewhere. Basic structure. what are you trying to do? How do implement these ideas? How does it grow?
What is minimum fee for a show? All things that can be put in place...
Stay tuned for Part 4 tomorrow!