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Monday, February 6, 2012

How to Put on a Really Awesome Event.

People contact us all the time, asking us to put on this or that event. And while the concept of extra cash is awesome, it’s a pretty good truth that doing lots of things means you do them mediocrely. So, instead, we at All Out Events proudly present our method to Put On a Really Awesome Event (PORAE).

  1. Pick your location and pick your sport. These two go hand in hand – sure, anyone can put on a 5k about anywhere, but we believe that to PORAE, the location should dictate the course. You want your event participants to be wowed, and the best way to do that is to think about what makes them do that. Location, paired with sport, is what matters. Also, work with the authorities for the area – know your laws and rights.
  2. Pick your reason. Why exactly are you doing this? About to sign on for umpteen hours lost, stressing about finite details and issues you had no idea were going to happen? For people to yell at you about things you kind of think are small potatoes? Pick your reason and believe in it. This will get you through the darker moments and it will help you sell the event to sponsors, volunteers, and participants.
  3. Pick your demographic. Based on your reason, you’re going to aim your event at somebody. That somebody is going to shape the feel of the whole thing. If you’re aiming for rich men in their 80s, your language and visuals, along with the course and prizes are going to be different than a whole gaggle of teenage girls. You may say, “But everyone is my demographic.” Wrong. Think about Apple vs PC. Are they targeting everyone these days, or do they know their audience and cater to them?
  4. Pick your time of year. Knowing who you are attracting will help with this. Weather can be a factor, as will be wildflowers and unique details like how busy your town is (ie, if you live in a college town and you attract college students, summer’s probably not a brilliant idea). If you’re attracting regular competitors, check race calendars and find out what people’s training schedule is. If it’s a school event, put it closer to September, when everyone is excited about school, rather than June, when everyone is over it.
  5. Determine your course. Just as location should have been your true inspiration, now the details of the course come together, informed by who you want at your race, why you're doing it (torture = hills, love = flat), and what time of year it goes on (maybe that venue is too full to do it then?)
  6. Now that you have all these things down, it’s time to pay attention to branding!
    1. We cannot say enough about logo design. You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars, but you do need to figure out a way to boil down the flavor of your race to something visual that leads it. For example, for our Mud Mash, we have “Happy Pig.” Whenever we make a decision about the event, we ask, “Would Happy Pig approve?”
    2. Using your logo and your event vision, it’s time to develop a website. And again, while you can spend oodles of money on flash, the reality is – for most smaller, first year events, the connections you have, the posters you make, and the word of mouth you generate is really enough. These things drive people to the site for info. And, if you did your homework on the above, there will plenty of people “making it flashy” for you without too much effort.
    3. Set up registration. You can take mail-in reg, but it’s usually better to go with an online registration service – most services offer turnkey solutions that you just process by filling in form inquiries, and you’ll take care of waivers, actual registration, contact info collection, demographic data, and payment processing without much hassle. is a great site – but expensive. We are currently working with CCNBikes, who has awesome customer service and work to customize your registration to your needs.
    4. Find champions to promote your events – maybe they are beneficiaries, or friends, co-workers, whatever. Arm them with posters and promotional cards. Send them to meetings. Send press releases out and talk to the media. Give people ample time to hear about it and be trained up for it.
    5. Get insurance. We can’t recommend working with Bay Risk enough.
    6. Logistics!
      1. Make sure you design solid advertising. Posters are a better investment than anything, and pretty cheap. Be sure to give shirts away at your event for year-over-year word of mouth. Good luck figuring out shirt sizing. We’ve yet to get it perfect.
      2. Course marking – when you mark your course, assume your racers are stupid! They aren’t obviously. But the problem is, during race day, you kind of put your head down and make assumptions. Mark it like your dog is trying to follow the arrows. Use people wherever you can (the racers ignore those, too). We’ve used tape to mark off a trail and people jump right over it.
      3. Timing – you can go super cheap and do it yourself by getting bib numbers with rip-off bottoms and just collecting them on a wire clotheshanger unstrung. Or, you can get fancy and hire a timing company. You get what you pay for.
      4. Think about the finish experience. We remember best what happened last. What do you want your racers to come away thinking? Is this a big, fat party, a reverent celebration, or a quiet time?
    7. Sponsorship
      1. Sponsorship is really hard to come by. Unless you’re pulling giant numbers, you need to work hard to get big cash.
      2. Look in unusual places – ask companies to help you with supplies you need, like food or woord.
      3. Customize your options, don’t just make it cookie-cutter.
      4. Get swag – this is part of that finish experience.
    8. Videographers/photographers
      1. People like photos of themselves. They’ll buy them, too. You can hire someone to take it, or get someone to take photos for free and post them online for sale. Make sure you can use them, too.
      2. Get visual collateral from the event. Photos are great and video is king.

There you go – basic event production in a nutshell!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Your positive feedback.

Spent the week going through surveys to better our events and just loved what some of you wrote. I think you’ll be as inspired to keep doing this as we were.

Question: What did you get out of the event?

More than I could possibly explain in words! Empowered!

I got to experience God's creation in a way that I don't get to in my asphalt world. To be on untouched, all natural land was very cool. The sense of accomplishment we felt immediately after the race (which I'm still feeling) was very rewarding.

There’s a couple MJ plants between CP1 and CP2 that were pretty interesting to come across. We were definitely way off track when we saw them kind of funny like we were on the show Weed. Cant wait for another race and some longer courses. Had the best race experience of the year.

a sense of accomplishment, perhaps the sense that there is a community of like-minded athletes that would be fun/interesting to be part of.

Discovering your perceived boundaries and smashing through. The race is about self discovery and pushing yourself on.

Umm... a beer mug? Tasty cinnamon bread? It was a fun event and a great group of people...

I learned what i needed to work on in order to improve my riding. it was a very good introduction to the world of DH racing. i WILL be back, and i WILL be racing as frequently as i can from now on

I was scared shitless. However, I was also hopeful that I would have a day reminiscent of being a 12y/o, riding my bike, mashing up and down creeks finding turtle shells and swinging off of rope-swings. I definitely got the adult version of a perfect childhood summer day.

I believe that it was the people that made this run so amazing! The awesome costumes, the good attitudes, and the guy playing bagpipes on the hill made this event sooo well... unbelievable!!!

Everything about this event was fabulous. Registration was hassle-free and everyone was pleasant and willing to help, the course was challenging, the obstacles were fun and challenging, and overall the experience, shirt, and cup were definitely worth the money.

Going up the hill and getting sprayed with the hose and slipping in the mud. Also being so tired and turning the corner and seeing a guy play the bagpipes was one of the funniest things in the world.

The course itself was the best experience! I liked how they added a few "surprises" in there and that the website doesn't really give TOO much detail about it. I had a lot of anxiety before the event not knowing what to expect, but that's also the main reason why I wanted to do it!

I loved being able to work as a team with my team mates and complete the challenges together. I like the fact that not only did we grow closer as a team but also closer as friends because we helped each other out when one needed help.

Question: How did you feel when you finished?

I felt like I could kill all the terrorists by myself/eat the moon.

Beaten, yet epically satisfied. Itchy.

The venue was spectacular.

I was reluctant because I thought the water temp would be too cold. I was surprised to find that although it was cold, it wasn't so cold that I felt unable to swim. (Morro Bay Tri)

I felt very excited I finished, I wanted to ride the course again. I felt like I could just about ride anything now.

Due to race pressure I pushed myself harder than normal and was reminded of the fact that I can do more than I think I can. Motivated that next time I want to do better.

I felt Amazing!! I was on an adrenaline high for the rest of the day. I had a soccer game at 1:30 the same day and I thought I would be wiped but I was exactly the opposite! I was on FIRE for the whole game (I didn't even nap!). It was the most fun I have had in a LONG time and it was a Great workout!! Definitely doing it next year!

I've run a marathon, half-marathons, and shorter distance races. I love running, but this mud run was the most FUN I've ever had while running.

Question: What made you do this event?

Looking forward to the location and great weather!

I was super interested in this one vs. the SLO event because of the more natural course; using the bay and the beach and trails. (Morro Bay Tri)\

If the course appears to be extremely different than anything I've done, it intrigues me. I like the challenge and trying new things.

I can trail run any day of the week....but the obstacles were the reason I participated. What normal person would wade through Laguna Lake for the heck of it?

Question: What would say to people about what makes All Out Events different?

i think your races are about camaraderie and really encouraging people to get into this awesome sport.

Fun, challenge, great terrain, good organization. The difference is that you have the good terrain that is not overused and you have great volunteers staffing the race.

Great race, being my third year i love the location and what it demand physically and mentally. Your choice of trekking sets you apart from say the nor cal series and tahoe.

I REALLY like All-Out: friendly volunteers/workers, good aid stations, still feels "local". (I also really like your cute podiums for 1st, 2nd, 3rd place finishers!)

Friendly atmosphere, effort at making the events unique and showed that you really know the area - for instance, loved the bridges!

well, the course was badass, and not many people can pull that off these days. just a well run race, no obvious hiccups, snafus, etc. I got to show up, ride, have a good time, and you guys took care of the rest.

A group of people having a blast in the middle of no-where pushing ourselves to new mental and physical limits in a sport we all love :) I love how I can always count on All Out events to define crazy race courses that challenge people of all levels in more ways than one.

id have to say that they need to get out of the house and be apart of the All Out racing experience

Monday, January 16, 2012

And They’re Off!–An Adventure Race Report by a 10-year-old competitor

Just another example of how awesome our racers are . . . age is irrelevant on the field! This is from our 2011 Lopez Lake short-course adventure race.

And they’re off!

By Griffin Coxwell

This sport was made for me. As I lined up for the start of the race, I visualized the route me and my cousin, Shaun, were going to take. But I’m getting ahead of myself. We were competing in the All Out adventure racing challenge. Adventure racing is a sport, that has at least three other sports in it. Our race had kayaking, biking and hiking/rock climbing in it.

BAAARRRR! There’s the air horn!! we’re off! We race to the kayak and start paddling as fast as we can. Cold water splashes my face. I look at the map. There are 5 checkpoints on the lake, and we need to get 3 of them. We beach our kayak, and begin bushwhacking inland. We don’t have to go very far to find it. We speed back to the kayak, passing other teams. We push off, and frantically paddle to our next checkpoint.

By the time we get back to shore, most of the teams had passed us. Oh well, we were the youngest team ever to do this. We hopped on our bikes, and headed down an easy fire trail. To the start of A 5 MILE, UPHILL SINGLE TRACK!! We began lugging our bikes up the winding trail, and after what seemed like forever, we reached the top.  Shaun and I  gasped and and wheezed, sucking in air. We found the checkpoint! I jogged up and clicked it. I peered around the turn to the trail down the mountain. Oh yeah. this time, its a 5 mile downhill single track!
Frapppffhhh! I skid around a turn, almost knocking over our competitors . Shaun is close behind and he almost knocks them off their feet. I see the end of the trail! Shaun and I skid to a stop, throwing up dirt.  We have to ditch our bikes now. We take a quick break and set off on a half mile jog and we arrive at my favorite part of the race. The zip line! The long wire stretched across the lake. Me and Shaun could scarcely bear the wait. Finally! I grabbed the pulley thingamabob, and jumped, with no harnesses, just my two hands. I flew along the line, twenty feet above the water. Here I go... I  let go and gravity takes over. I drop and hit the water, and swim to the shore, Shaun close behind me. But the race is not over yet. We have to freaking rock climb to get the last checkpoint. We start climbing at a steady pace, slowing down as we gradually climb up the mountain. I thought it was going to last forever. Wait. There’s the checkpoint! I run up and click it, my hands fumbling in my excitement. There!

Getting down the mountain is no trouble, and when we pass the finish line, I expected to be last-but instead, its exactly the opposite! We were the only people in our division! Remember “youngest people?”

First Place!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Why Our Rates are Going Up

There was recently an article in Runners’ World about the cost to put on the NYC Marathon. We think it ran with the intent to make racers’ jaws drop. We kind of went, “meh.”

After ten years of events, when we really buckled down and looked at why we were still avoiding turning on the heat in the house and putting off that much needed car repair, we realized we were doing something wrong: putting on top tier events but charging bottom tier prices.

As any business major will tell you, if something you’re selling costs you more than you make, you’re in trouble. Well, folks, that’s where we’re at.

Why are races so darn expensive?

Let’s break down a simple one, like the now-defunct SLO Mountain Run. We decided to drop the event this year when we found that a field of 100 people only netted us $600, and that’s not including overhead (insurance, office expenses, etc). At $35/person, you would think we’d be doing okay. After all, it’s our simplest race and doing the math, that’s $3500.

But here’s what our expenses were:

  • T-shirts ($6 x 200) = $1200. We had to order more than this because we expected more people. We do all our design in-house. It would be so much more otherwise. We could get cheaper shirts, but you wouldn’t love them – we’re not going to give away crap.
  • Advertising = $300. We did posters and rack cards, along with some Facebook ads. The budget was pretty low as we realized that people aren’t generally going to want to travel for a 10k and focused locally. Again, in-house design and hitting the streets to distribute the wares.
  • Permits = $500. To rent the facility for the day. Some people poach for smaller events, but relationships with the governing agency are important to us. We won’t scrimp here.
  • Insurance = $200. Not too bad, considering we’re sending you up some treacherous terrain for a 10k. That’s a lot of alliteration.
  • Non-employee compensation = $700. We’re too small to have a full time staff, so we get contractors to come in day-of. This was for our timer and one other operations staff other than ourselves. This event was so small that we didn’t look for volunteers, but we did need aid station set up, course marking, and venue setup and maintenance.
  • Supplies = $200. Stuff like bibs, waivers, and sundry items.

Grand total = $3100.

Cool, so we “made” $400! Take out 12% for our donation to Special O, and they got a whopping $48. Thank goodness they know we try.

Things that didn’t get included in this:

  • Our “salary” for putting it on. The people we hired got paid, but we didn’t.
  • Our time for design work and putting up posters.
  • Our time for securing permits and contracts.
  • Our time for dealing with inquiries and preparing websites.
  • Our overhead expenses for just having the business.
  • The money we saved in having all the stuff (tables, chairs, water jugs, finish arch, marking materials, radios, vehicles and trailers) that normal event directors would have to rent.
  • Emergency medical staff (we’re trained and certified to do our own emergency response, so for a small field, we don’t hire).

So you’re reading this and thinking, “Well, a field of 100 people is pretty sad, so of course you lost money – small events always take a while to ramp up.” Only, we’ve been trying to grow that event for four years. Adding a 5k did nothing. And we love the event. The people that come to it are awesome. The course is awesome. It’s a beautiful tour of one of the best runs in SLO. But it didn’t pay.

So let’s take any other event we put on.

Consider this:

  • Multiple governing agencies requiring permit money and processing.
  • Road closures.
  • More staff.
  • Supplies for construction of course obstacles and improvements
  • Time and rentals for creation of courses
  • Cost spent fixing the venue after damage or repairs are needed.
  • Prize money
  • Rental of equipment/transportation means
  • Prizes for multiple age, gender, and team categories
  • Time spent seeking for sponsorship/partnership/swag donation.

Ten years ago, when we started this, the economy was strong and companies’ event marketing money was easy to come by. A contract for $10,000 an event was pretty common. But that’s dried up. Our events are self-produced, largely unsponsored, and paid for entirely by your entry fees.

In 2011, we took $5000 in total for a salary for two owners of the business and donated the same to our charities. While some events do awesome by being put on by volunteers – they have enormous teams, a budget being funded by the organization it benefits, and only one event a year.

This is a business and to keep making our events spectacular, we needed to look at how we did things. We vow not to cut costs to the detriment of racer experience, and that’s why All Out Events needs to charge more going forward. We are so lucky to have talented and dedicated volunteers who believe strongly in what we are doing and what we do for the community, but to grow and not kill ourselves in the meantime, we have to start charging like the professionals that we are.

And once we do, the charities and communities we benefit can also benefit. And we’ll be able to hire people to keep growing – and that creates jobs and stimulates the economy!

We hope you understand.

Friday, December 2, 2011

All Out Events is looking for a marketing manager!

All Out Events is hiring!

We are looking for an outgoing, enthusiastic individual to help develop our new zipline business.

Marketing manager – You will be in charge of doing the leg work to promote Margarita Adventures, the only zipline tour on the central coast. You will meet with business people and visitors’ bureau contacts throughout SLO County, setting up promotional deals and zipline tours, work trade show booths, and drop off promotional materials when appropriate. Work with the owners of the Santa Margarita Ranch and Ancient Peaks vineyards as well as your favorite crew at All Out Events.


- Should have reliable transportation and be able to speedily cover the entire San Luis Obispo county as needed

- Should have internet access and be familiar with Twitter and Facebook

- Should be eloquent both in person and in writing

- Able to spend between 10-20 hours a week during working hours (9-5) and/or weekends in meetings and developing marketing plan

- Demonstrated ability to work well with a team

- Deadline oriented

- Innovative – always looking for a new approach to the system or opportunities

Pay is hourly with incentive bonuses for successful performance. Please submit a cover letter and resume that speaks to our requirements.

Deadline for job application is 12/12/2011. We will follow up with applicants in the following week and be hiring immediately.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The New Santa Margarita Zipline: “Extreme Pleasure”

We’re so proud of our newest venture and how happy people are with their experiences!

From recent rider:

Hi Margarita Adventures.

I am emailed this in case my post does not come through. I had the extreme pleasure to take the zip line tour with you and promised I would write up something. I have also used this for the Adelaide Inn website blog. Thank you to all your staff for the fun my friends and I had today. Please feel free to post this to your web site as a positive review.

Best wishes


Wonderful Time Zipping through the Countryside

I thought I would share my experience with Margarita Adventures. I and a group of my fellow employees were granted the pleasure and thrill to participate with this event on a  Sunday afternoon. The weather really cooperated with us, being sunny, warm, and just enough breeze to stir the air amongst the oaks of Santa Margarita Ranch. The staff of Mike, Matt, and Patrick were friendly, informative, helpful, and overall, just plain fun.

You start off at Ancient Peaks Winery in Santa Margarita where you can get free wine tasting either at the start if you need some liquid courage, and after where you can relax and talk over all the fun and thrills you have just come from.

The Zip Lines are all placed on Santa Margarita Ranch, which is one of the argest Mexican Land Grant Ranchos still in operation.On the drive up you will be given a nice background on the Ranch, how the strive to use sustainable growth in their agricultural as well as cattle raising. You slowly drive up the dirt track and go between various ecosystems. From grazing to wine fields of various types and varietals, on through oak trees, until you get among the chaparral. The views when you are at the start is just breathtaking. It adds that almost all you see in encased by the Ranch's 14000 acres itself. With hawks, crows, turkey buzzards in the skies above to the deer, bears, bobcats and the ever present cattle that stride on the ground. Rabbits, gophers, and other rodents dart in and out of the bushes
and trees.The smells of nature add to the ambiance may give you the added treat that will await you.

The first zip line is  Renegade, which stretches for over 1300 feet. This is not only the longest of the four stretches of cable where you will zoom along yelling and screaming in delight, but also one of the most breath taking for its view. Here you will gear up in your harness, gloves and safety helmet. The staff are here to assist you if needed as you start to psych yourself for your beginning run, but also will allow to get some last minute water and leave behind any excess clothing and bags you may have. I was the first of my group to go, and as the guinea pig for them to see if I fouled up somehow. The first step is a doozy, but if you just let yourself go and step off, you will get a wondrous rush as you fly down the cable and allow the harness and lines to guide you down. The sights as you glance about are a treat and when you get to the end, you almost want to go
again. I helped to cheer on my other mates as they one by one came down the line. One of my friends was deeply afraid of heights, but then she allowed herself to take a leap of faith. Though her eyes were closed for the first run, at the end she was also browsing nature and having good times.

The next stretch was the 800 foot long Woodlander. This was one of my favorites, after the Renegade. You seem to go faster because of the perspective, as you will go between some huge oaks as you fly around their branches and turning leaves. I was later told that if you stretched out your arms and hands, you could actually touch them as you zoomed to your finish.

Third was the Hilltopper a short jaunt between two hills. Here you  need to get a running start to get your speed. I tried to be a little more daring and go freestyle. I ended up tripping over my own big feet. I still had a blast and laughed off by bungling of the start. My friends all joined in with the laughter and we continued to just have take in the zips, each others company, and the banter of the staff. Even as a couple of us did not quite make it to the end, the guides quickly stepped off with a secondary rope that you could grab and they pulled you on to the landing stage.

The last line you zip the finish line is the Archway. There is an actual
arch that you will sway back and forth as you start to straighten out for the finale of your flying through the air. The wooden ramp is angled to allow you to lift up your legs and allow your body's adrenaline to subside.

Once your group has wrapped up their own fun you will remove our gear and the guides will drive you through more of the ranch and tell you more on how they grow some of the wine grapes. I had the pleasure to see a herd of does who were grazing along the cattle. They did not get spooked as we drove along. Just slowly worked their way up a hill side as the cattle ignored us. At most the various mothers would stare us down as we tried to drive past them, only to stride away as we got close enough.

The overall experience for my group and I was just fantastic. I will highly recommend then to any who want to have fun, try something different, and still have a nice glass of wine to relax to. For a cost of $99 and 2-3 hours of your time, I think this is a great treat. No matter if it is a guy with his buds, a bachelorette party wanting a unique experience, or a family wanting some bonding time, this tour may well be for you.

Want to try for yourself?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Internship Offered for All Out Events

All Out Events was established in August of 2010 as a two-member LLC. Prior to that, it was a sole proprietorship. Its focus is on human-powered outdoor events. Its 2012 lineup will likely include an adventure race series, triathlon, mountain bike race, gran fondo, climbing festival and competition, and mud run. All Out is committed to community service and gives a percent of its proceeds to a non-profit. It self-produces and also is available for hire if the right fit is met.

All Out Events has internship opportunities in the following areas:

· Assisting in devising an ongoing marketing campaign for all events
· Creating content for its blog and ebooks for download
· Creating promotional videos
· Designing and updating the websites
· Contacting various media and developing/sustaining relationships with them
· Promotion of non-profit that benefits from the events

· Developing relationships with larger companies for event sponsorship
· Contacting local companies for sponsorship and vendor opportunities
· Assisting in development of sponsorship packet and opportunities

Day of Event Management
· Operations – setup/takedown and management of event
· Volunteer recruitment and management
· Festival development

All Out Events is looking for energetic interns who are self-motivated and self-starting. They should be enthusiastic about not only the sports involved but the products and non-profits they come in contact with. They must be committed to 10-15 hours a week and be available at least one day during business hours for the work for a quarter’s length of time, with opportunity for extension and paid positions.

We are willing to work with any level college student and majors that best fit can include: business administration or marketing, communications, English, recreation administration, speech, journalism, etc. We are open to anyone who has a sincere interest in gaining experience in any aspect of this industry.

The internship is paid by day of event and not hourly, however the opportunity exists for it to become a longterm paid position in the future.

If you are interested in an internship with All Out Events, please contact Kristin McNamara at Provide a resume, and cover letter stating which positions would best fit and why you feel your internship will benefit both of us.