photos: Jeremy Stephenson
bran^don: Did advertising to the masses last year have any significant affect, and will you be putting out another commercial this year?
The commercial we ran last year was actually for only a very small Detroit area. The opportunity was there so we took it. But to answer the question, no, advertising, press releases and everything we did last year really didn’t make that much of a difference. We also had a very small turnout for the Friday morning press event, even though all of the pro competitors were there in full force early in the morning. We will be doing that again, but will be taking better advantage of it this year.
killinemsoftly: What drives you to do this every year? Isn’t it a hassle? (Don’t get me wrong, glad as shit your doing it – made for one of my best skating trips ever!)
Good question. Like I’ve said before, the Bitter Cold Showdown is financially viable so that helps my motivation by allowing me to justify all of the time that goes into everything. Other than that I really do love rollerblading, and I am just lucky enough to have stumbled upon something that a lot of other rollerbladers love as well. I am glad to put my time into something that can bring so much joy to so many people. So why the hell would I not do it? The same goes for anyone else, quit bitching and go out and do something positive.
manley: Anything special planned for the 10th anniversary?
Being that this will be the momentous 10th anniversary of the event there will be a few special plans taking place. The video project this year will very literally be unlike anything anyone has seen in rollerblading media in the recent past. Also, there will be a limited edition 10th anniversary Eulogy wheel that I could not be more excited about.
manley: How old were you when you first started running the event? And what is the most important thing you have learned in the 10 years since?
I was 16 years old at the first BCSD. I knew nothing. I think my answer will be continually changing as to what was the most important thing I have learned, but for now I am going to say, follow through. Do not ever promise anything that you cannot meet or exceed expectations with. It is invaluable to always be giving people, spectators, competitors, etc. more than they expect.
manley: Thinking back to your mindset when you decided to start this, is this where you hoped the event would come? Are you satisfied, disappointed, or perhaps only looking forward?
Once again when the Bitter Cold Showdown first started I barely knew what I was doing and honestly did not have any grand plans for the event. It has all come about so naturally that it’s really difficult to try and predict what the event will become. I would say that coming up on the 10th year gives me a great sense of satisfaction. There is more we could be doing, and I will always feel that way, but I couldn’t be happier about where the event is at right now.
gatsby: How long do you plan on organizing this event? Will it die with you, or will you pass the torch?
It is hard to say how long I personally plan on organizing the event. Who knows what may pop up in my personal life or career that may prevent me from devoting such a large part of my time to the event. However, I do know that I will be continually taking steps to share my knowledge with others so that if I were to ever step down, others would be able to take over. The pool is small for rollerbladers that have all the traits necessary to organize such an event, but yes, in every sense of the word I would hope to pass the torch.
manley: Have you considered reinstating a street event into the weekend? Is this even a possibility considering how large the turnout has become?
No, I have not considered reinstating a street event into the weekend. The event is less stressful the more control you have over the environment and everything that is scheduled. To do a street event you are automatically relinquishing 50% of your control over the event. From police to weather, anything and everything could go wrong with the venue. I just would not have the patience or tolerance to deal with that. Having complete control over every aspect of the event is what makes the Bitter Cold Showdown not only successful but possible.
manley: Having 10 years knowledge of organizing something that has become such a large event in the industry, realistically what do you see the the future bringing? What form would you like to see The Bittercold Showdown take in the next 5, 10 years? Do you see the event continuing that far in the future?
If millions of dollars were to begin to pour into the industry overnight, I would actually see the Bitter Cold Showdown continuing forward relatively unchanged. There is just something special and totally unique about having an event at an existing park. Also, I would want to maintain the traditions and vibe that the Bitter Cold Showdown has established with rollerbladers.
I have been heavily involved with the WRS since its inception and I would use that connection to expand the WRS World Finals and create other larger, possibly arena events before changing the Bitter Cold Showdown much. It is just a name but to me the Bitter Cold Showdown represents too much of what rollerblading currently is and where we have come from to whore that out too much once more money would be involved.
drew_amato: Anything set up to divide media from the spectators scattered throughout the park?
Yes, yes and yes. It has been our main focus to be able to completely clear the course and limit it only to assigned media this year. I do not want to go into detail about this quite yet because we are still working it out. If everything goes to plan however, this will be the most media friendly BCSD to date.
Dre: Is it possible to have the park open longer on Friday night for all the pacos that are arriving late and want to skate?
No, because we (myself, event staff and park staff) need sleep. While everyone else is sleeping we are all there early Saturday morning getting the trade show ready.
ross anthony: I know this isn’t a dog show but, I have a pup that I can’t really leave alone for the weekend… If he is leashed, pays for a spectator ticket and is good can he come inside?
Last year Sean Cullen’s dog was all over the trade show so I don’t see why not.
Dre: Will there be an afterparty at a local venue? Drinking outside in the cold is cool and all but it would be nice to not have to freeze or hotel hop.
Yes, Al Dolega will be opening up his loft to the masses and have the Nimh Team Video World Premiere along with the infamous Drew Bachrach rocking late into the night with a DrewTube performance. More details coming soon on the website.
adam samurai | PHC: Would you consider bring a summer comp back like you use to hold with the Steel Valley Meltdown?
Yes, I would. I always enjoyed the Steel Valley Meltdown because it was a much smaller and manageable event. If I had more time on my hands this is something I still might do. Just have not found the right opportunity to do so yet.
adam samurai | PHC: What made you get rid of the “you enter the park, you’re a competitor” idea from the first Bitter Cold?
The event got large enough that there was no way to keep track of competitors, have everyone sign up in time and it was just an overall giant pain in the ass. The current online registration and payment system saves so much time and prevents so much confusion during the event.