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Discussion: CascadeOC vs. Quantico 2015 Starts

in: Pink Socks; Pink Socks > 2015-12-19

Dec 20, 2015 3:09 AM # 
Pink Socks:
Today, CascadeOC broke our record for most starts in a year! Yay!

And by spending 15 minutes on QOC's results page and an Excel sheet, it looks like we're 87 starts short of them this year.

But we have one more event, and they don't.

But it's the Bog Slog on the day after Christmas. It's gonna be close.

(I don't know if these two clubs are aiming for the top spot this year or not. I know a few years ago, QOC was #1, so I just looked at them, since it takes a while to add 'em up.)
Dec 23, 2015 9:49 AM # 
Congrats! If I recall correctly you had just over 4000 starts last year. So how big this year?

DGL had just under 3000 this year for our 10 races with 1150 of those being the schools race. However, we don't include our weeknight X-League ARX numbers in that. I'm pretty sure that this year is a starts record for us in a year not hosting a champs race. We last hosted a champs in 2013 and won't host again until 2018 so its good that our race starts are healthy though races aren't our main source of revenue. Out of curiosity what would your revenue be on 4000+ starts? I guess that DGL race revenue is probably tops for NorAm O clubs (even after accounting for the massive drop in the $CAD recently).
Dec 23, 2015 6:22 PM # 
Pink Socks:
We're currently at 4316.

2010: 3960 (A-meet)
2011: ???
2012: 4015 (A-meet)
2013: 3685
2014: 4046 (summer series*, training starts**)
2015: 4316+ (SART)

* Sammamish OC was shutting down and we inherited their summer series starting in 2014. It was only 194 starts.
** We started counting official club trainings in 2014 so that they'd be covered by insurance in case something happened. We didn't have many of them and they were lightly attended (71 starts total).

Comparing 2014 to 2015, the short story is that we're essentially even, but then SART added 455 starts.

We have 4 annual series:
--Winter Series & School League (down 6% in 2015)
--Ultimate Series (down 5% in 2015)
--Choose Your Adventure Series (down 1% in 2015)
--Wednesday Summer Series (up 77% in 2015)

The Wednesday Summer Series is the one that we inherited from Sammamish. It makes sense that it grew because it's getting a lot more visibility on our calendar now that we own it, and we added an extra event this year. (It's not just the extra event that put us up so much. The average per event increase was up 42%).

The Winter Series is the big one, though. Each one of the eight events is about as big as an entire other series (~360 starts per Winter Series event, about ~360 starts for each of the other series). The 6% loss in 2015 pretty much came from really low attendance in Jan/Feb.
-- Jan/Feb 2014: 367 per event
-- Nov/Dec 2014: 365 per event
-- Jan/Feb 2015: 315 per event (even removing one outlier, it was still 331)
-- Nov/Dec 2015: 369 per event

It's hard to compare apples to applies with the Adventure Series. The Campus Adventure was really small this year because it piggy-backed SART, and most people did that one. Corn Maze was significantly smaller because we moved it up. But we didn't have a Paddle-O this year (even-numbered years), so the replacement earned us a lot back.

Anyway, if you look at all four series together (not including SART, Bog Slog, or training), we're 1.6% down this year from last year's record-setting year, which is in the noise. Add SART, and you get a sizable new record.

2016 should be even bigger. Cascade is hosting the Navy JROTC National Champs in March. (The Army, Air Force, and Marine JROTC programs piggy-back on the O-USA Interscholastics. The Navy doesn't. It's weird.) Both of those events are open to the public as part of our Ultimate Series, so that series will be significantly bigger this year. I think Winter Series will be bigger because of the lower Jan/Feb numbers they'll be replacing. The Adventure Series will have a Paddle-O, but we're adding a new event (invited to be a part of a big summer festival) which could be potentially big. It's very possible that we'd hit 5000 next year.
Dec 24, 2015 6:36 AM # 
We started counting official club trainings in 2014 so that they'd be covered by insurance in case something happened.

While it helps OUSA pay for insurance, AFAIK, all club events are covered, regardless of whether their starts (or participation) are reported.
Dec 24, 2015 6:55 PM # 
Pink Socks:
I think the club's rationale is, "if looks like a start, sounds like a start, acts like a start, then it must be a start." (It's also small potatoes; just 1.1% of starts this year)

When we have training events, they get posted on the calendar, mentioned in email, newsletter, and social media, and there's a registration page for them. The differences are that there's no money changing hands and results aren't posted online.

But if money and posted results are what makes it a start, what about the few clubs who have an annual membership fee and all events are free? What about clubs who don't post results? Could a club decide to save hundreds (or thousands) of dollars by not posting results?

For example, there's a big community event in July that draws several thousand people, and CascadeOC has been invited and we're participating by having a Choose Your Adventure Series event there. It's like a regular event because it's part of an established series, but it's also like a training event because it's free and it's pretty open-ended (there will be no mass start, no time limit, no e-punch, and perhaps no official results). There's a pretty good chance that we'll have 500+ participate, and that's $500 we could save by not saying that they are official starts.
Dec 27, 2015 2:11 AM # 
Pink Socks:

Good because that *may* be enough to get us #1, assuming Quantico is what I figured (perhaps they have other starts out there?). And assuming nobody else is up there.

Bad because it actually wasn't a great turnout.
Dec 28, 2015 12:29 AM # 
It might not have been a great turnout, but it was a fun event. Kean designed a good course (Short Advanced, in my case), given the constraints of the venue, map, and event.

Glen Rogers, in a rare appearance, provided two bits of entertainment: first, bringing to the finish a pair of bong pipes that he claims to have found in the forest, and then donning some apparel that was far beyond the bounds of being "tasteful", "gay", or outright outlandish and outrageous.
Jan 3, 2016 5:10 PM # 
Congrats on the total numbers! OK had a record breaking year, too, at 226 starts. Using the Metropolitan Statistical Area populations of 3.6 million for Seattle and 116,000 for Douglas country, I see that OK had 0.19% percent of the population orienteer this year, while Cascade had 0.12% :)
Jan 4, 2016 6:12 PM # 
Quantico has a training series, the Summer Short Series, that doesn't count in our starts totals. If QOC counted those, as COC counted your training events, QOC would be well ahead.
I don't know what the numbers were--we don't keep records or results--but there were definitely more than 89 ...
Still, great numbers! And, yeah, we hosted the NJROTC Champs a couple years ago (didn't open it to the public, though); it was really interesting to be involved in it. Great to see all the kids out there in the woods.
Jan 5, 2016 7:50 AM # 
While I wish the NJROTC Champs were part of the Interscholastics, the biggest barrier to that is the fact that schools/units need to qualify he former, while the latter is open. In fact, they have a whole bunch of "Area x" championships which serve as qualifiers. I believe the GNC is one, though very few are A- national events.
Jan 9, 2016 1:05 AM # 
Pink Socks:
Cascade had 0.12%

We should be higher, given the general outdoorsy-ness of the city. We don't spend any money on publicity, though. One conundrum is that our least popular series are in the summer when the outdoorsy-ness of Seattleites is too strong: everyone would rather be backpacking, camping, kayaking, sailing, or whatever. And in the winter when people are cooped up, our events are giant (350+) and I don't know if we'd want them to grow quickly.

Training Series

Our training is pretty lax. We only had 46 training starts in 2015, 32 of them were from our pre-season School League (WIOL) training. I just tabulate our starts, I don't define them, but I wonder how a "start" is supposed to be defined? If a tree falls in the forest, but the result isn't posted, then nobody heard it?

NJROTC Champs open to the public

Yeah, this one is a little interesting. In January 2015, one of NJROTC commanders on Whidbey Island (that has a team in WIOL) wanted to have the navy champs come west (using our mapped venues on Whidbey Island), and they wanted to organize it, so they requested it and got it. But they weren't prepared or experienced enough to organize it, so they essentially asked CascadeOC to do it. The analogy we used was like a teenager asking his parents for a car, then receiving a car, but then asking his parents to drive him around in it.

Anyway, the crew on Whidbey backed out, and CascadeOC is hosting it down south (Fort Steilacoom & Lincoln Tree Farm). The event directors, the course setters, the e-punch crew are all CascadeOC. So we figured that since the club was doing all of the leg work for the event, we might as well have it be open to our club members, so it is. We're essentially having a two-day B-meet this March.

I wish NJROTC joined the others. It's kinda weird that they aren't, actually.
Jan 9, 2016 2:30 AM # 
Very impressive numbers. And once you have quantity, shift to quality improvements too.
How's your record in major Relays?
Jan 9, 2016 2:53 AM # 
Pink Socks:
Cascade won its first national relay champs in 2014!

We continue to have kids going to JWOC, especially on the girls' side!

The Men's League is crazy good at the top (Will, Eric, Jourdan, & Peteris). I'd put those guys up against any other local foursome in the US right now!
Jan 9, 2016 3:06 AM # 
Then in the words of Bart, think harder Homer.
How's your results at Jukola or 10-mila?
Jan 11, 2016 7:29 PM # 
Pink Socks:
How's your results at Jukola or 10-mila?

Obviously, we don't have any. But it would be a fun exercise to think about this. A Jukola team of Will, Eric, Jourdan, Peteris, Nikolay + two more would be fun.

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