Saturday, August 14, 2010

Looks Like Lake Erie Boat Week May Never Leave The Dock

Last year, Lake Erie Boat Week promoter Janie Vogel ignored, then antagonized the local fast-boat community when they tried to offer her helpful advice on how to stage a major powerboating event. The result? The plan fell through, and the whole shebang was postponed and reset to be held this year.

Over the past year, it appears Vogel licked her wounds but did little else to mend fences and reach out to the many people who would have been willing to help her pull the event off. While she did almost manage to get the APR Powerboat Superleague to stage an event, the lack of any funds to buy insurance and the lack of a volunteer list--which needs to be submitted to the city of Huron for background checks--seems to have put the kabosh on this year's planned event as well. Just over a week ago, Vogel stated that she had to unilaterally cancel the APR tunnelboat race because of a lack of funds.
“I’m left wondering why on earth you would sign an agreement when you don’t have the money,” said Sherron Winer, partner in the Powerboat Superleague. “We’re very disappointed. We were truly looking forward to going to Huron and being able to race there and entertain everyone.”
With some of Boat Week's scheduled events just weeks away--including regattas and other competitions--registration forms are noted as "to come" on the event web site. Press releases claim that the "Fastest Boat on Lake Erie" competition is still set for September 11th, but it remains to be seen if anyone will show up, since Vogel and her efforts have been the target of much criticism on the internet's performance boat message boards. While most boaters quickly welcome the event concept she has put forth, the criticism of her approach, her apparent lack of knowledge about offshore racing and her seeming focus on "money first" turned many potential supporters off. As an example, the "Fastest Boat on Lake Erie" competition requires a $100 entry fee -- with no mention of anything the participant will get in return. Not even a T-Shirt

As an example, I was just reading an email exchange with Vogel from last year. I had offered her some advice on using Twitter to help get the word out, and also offered to do a story on the event and at least exchange some advertising banners. At the time, we had at least 1000 unique visitors to our website every week (no doubt a lot more than her site was getting) but the offer was ignored. She said she was too busy...and noted that I could register as a volunteer if I wanted to help.

Of course, the lack of volunteers proved to be one of her main problems, as many boaters said the work and time commitment she was demanding from volunteers was far too much to expect. A "First 100 Club" of $250 contributors supporters never had more than a handful of members (there are four now) and it appears even some of those people changed their mind. Overall, boaters were left with the impression that Vogel had a "me first" attitude--putting the need to make an immediate profit in front of the concept of slowly building an event over the long term, collaborating with her natural support base, and getting people interested and invested in the event's success.

PHOTO CREDITS: City of Huron

Instead, we're left with another embarrassment for the sport. I often ask myself why there are so many people associated with this sport that are all about money--who will sacrifice the health of powerboat racing so quickly if the opportunity exists to get in line for a fast buck. We've seen it on the business side too, as one of performance boating's more popular offshore websites fell victim to it's organizer's willingness to put on a fake front and scam well-intentioned supporters for money. The thing is, there are a lot of good organizers and boaters out there who know how to work together. They put on good events. They raise money for charity, too.

Maybe this will encourage some local Lake Erie boaters to step forward and put together some ideas on creating an event of this type in the future. Clearly, it wouldn't be too hard to show Vogel the right way to put on a performance boating event...there are plenty of folks out there who would be wiling to sacrifice some work and some time to have some fun. And put the sport first.


Anonymous said...

Janie Vogel is a scam artist from Bay Village..

This is at least her 3rd failed attempt to setup such an event.. seems she's tried twice and failed in Port Clinton and now Huron too.

Somehow I knew it would never happen if she's involved. Hopefully, the authorities can recover the money she's managed to scam from the advertisers to date.

Agreed, she's an embarrassment to the sport.

sandra said...

I saw the beautiful picture taking and more yacht
. Great lake..

Follow [B3] by Email

Search [B3], Links & the web

  © Blogger templates ProBlogger Template by 2008

Back to TOP