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The Merchants of Dirt Podcast, hosted by Kyle M. Bondo, is a podcast dedicated to helping you become a successful off-road race promoter.

Each episode provides you with Kyle's exclusive, behind-the-scenes perspective that only his 20+ years of producing endurance, trail, water, orienteering, mountain bike, and adventure races can provide. The result is a show that can help you start a new race, or improve on what you've already started.

Merchants of Dirt Podcast is part of Reckoneer Media and joins the Get Lost Racing Podcast in supporting Kyle's mission to teach race promoters how to start, direct, and grow successful races.

Apr 11, 2017

About the Merchants of Dirt Podcast

The Merchants of Dirt Podcast, hosted by founder Kyle M. Bondo, is a show dedicated to helping you build better off-road races and give you the sports management skills needed to promote successful mountain biking, trail running, orienteering, adventure racing, and endurance events. As part of the Reckoneer Media Network, Merchants of Dirt Podcast joins the Get Lost Racing Podcast in supporting Reckoneer’s education mission to teach race promoters how to build a successful race promotion business. Each episode provides subscribers with an insider’s guide to practical recreational engineering and useful race promotion education from the point-of-view of Kyle’s 20+ years of experience in the off-road racing industry.

Show Notes

Welcome to the Merchants of Dirt Podcast Episode #25, hosted by founder Kyle M. Bondo. This is your insider’s guide to practical recreational engineering where I teach you the art and science of building, promoting, and directing off-road races. In this episode, I talk about what strategies you can use to improve your next events registration numbers.

How to sell out your race

How Pre-Registration Works: Getting an event set up on an event registration site gets your event on their front page, in their search engine, and out on the Internet for your racers to hopefully find. This allows you to generate a cash flow long before your event’s race day.

The Pre-Registration Sellout Myth: Popular events have created a huge mythos around the success of online pre-registration. This has created a false impression for most new race directors that think that pre-registration is the end all and be all of getting folks to their races. Unfortunately, what registration websites do not provide you with is a guarantee that racers will actually register early.

Low Pre-Registration Fallout: Additionally, professional timing companies (especially the ones with those nice radio frequency identification, or RFID, chips) don’t come to races that cannot attract more than 100 pre-registered racers. But to make matters worse, venues like State and Regional parks also have issues with low pre-registration turnouts.

Pre-Registration Tactics

#1 – Create a Brand Identity: Create an event name that is memorable, not boring. A customer that can remember the name of your event will most likely remember it nine months later when it comes time to sign up and race it again.

#2 – Create Collateral: Develop your own trail maps, event flyers, and branded materials that you can give to racers and businesses. Having handouts — both printed and digital — is a quick way to share your event without having to explain it over and over again.

#3 – Have a Real Website: A real event website not only states that you are serious about producing your event but also creates a home for building a branded product.

#4 – Create Advertisements: Now it’s time to get the word out to your audience and inform everyone that one of your event dates is approaching (within three months). This is when you open your pre-registration site or page on your website, advertise how early registration can save them money, and add any new info (videos, blog posts, sponsors) to your website.

#5 – Open Pre-Registration: If you’ve primed the engine of anticipation with your customer base and determined your graduated pricing levels and change dates, you can now finalize and open pre-registration at least two months before your event.

Final Thoughts

The Early Promoter Catches the Racer. Proper planning and early management of your event are critical to giving you enough time to effectively change tactics if things start to go wrong. Without the luxury of a time cushion, attempting any of these steps within only a few weeks of your race will most likely end in low turnout or worse, having to cancel your event. If you follow the above five tactics as part of your event management process, your pre-registration numbers should improve. And now you know.

Coming Up Next

In our next episode, I had the chance to interview Cy Sack from Cy gets into the analytics surrounding Adventure Racing and gives us a view into the State of American Adventure Racing that you will not believe. Unique sports analytics and data-driven decision making that only Cy Sack -- the Adventure Racing Data Scientist -- can provide! You do not want to miss the next Merchants of Dirt Podcast! All that and more on the next Merchants of Dirt Podcast!

Call to Action

Thank you so much for listening to Merchants of Dirt Podcast. If you have questions or comments, please reach out to me @MerchantsofDirt on Twitter. I have a few things I want you to do right now:

Action #1 -- Get my Monthly Newsletter Go to and provide your email, and I will send you exclusive content ever month before anyone else.

Action #2 -- Subscribe to the Merchants of Dirt Podcast By subscribing to my podcast you make sure you never miss an episode and provide me the confidence to keep going!

Action #3 -- Feedback I want to know what you think about the podcast! If you would like to leave some feedback (and hopefully a 5-star rating on iTunes) please do the following: 1. Go to the Merchants of Dirt Podcast iTunes page. 2. Click View in iTunes under the show artwork. 3. Submit a review and give it a 5-star rating!

Join the Conversation on Facebook

If there is a topic you would like me to cover, please join my Facebook group: Merchants of Dirt Race Promoters Group.

Get Lost Racing Podcast

Introducing my new podcast Get Lost Racing (GLR), hosted by me, will help you master the endurance sports that make up off-road racing by teaching you what they are, how they work, and what makes them great -- one discipline at a time! Please check it out at

Thank You for Listening

Now go build better races!