This topic contains 30 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  Rod Hawkins 5 years, 6 months ago.

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  • #8462

    Bob Baldwin
    Blocked

    Do they still have the KMI show every year out of the Chicago Area or is that a thing of the past ?

    I know the PRI show has some karting displays .anybody aware of any other Kart display shows ?

  • #8466

    James McMahon
    Participant

    There was talk about KMI coming back it doesnt look like the economic climate is quite ready yet.  I would guess the winter kart show in Springfield IL will go ahead though..
    http://winterkartshow.com/

  • #8468

    Bob Baldwin
    Blocked

    thanks Jim .

  • #8522

    Roger Ruthhart
    Participant

    Losing that show was a terrible blow to karting IMO. Darrell has moved on, I believe.

  • #8523

    Keith Bridgeman
    Participant

    Maybe a national kart show should be put before or right after the Supernationals.

    http://bridgemanbroskarting.blogspot.com/

  • #8537

    Bob Baldwin
    Blocked

    Why would they NOT have it the week of the Super Nat’s

  • #8554

    CROSS
    Participant

    Everyone is to busy with the race to worry about a show. The manpower to run a booth at a show and participate in a race like supernats is not feasible for karting teams and companies.

  • #8563

    Tim Koyen
    Participant

    The KMI show was nice, but long gone.  It was at it’s best when at Pheasant Run, IMHO.

    The Winter Kart Show in Springfield is a nice show, albeit considerably smaller than KMI was, but it’s growing, so we’ll see where it goes.

    A show alongside the SuperNats sounds nice on paper, but logistically and financially, I wouldn’t even consider it.

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  • #8590

    Bob Baldwin
    Blocked

    Tim : When you say Logistically and Financially You would NOT even consider It . Are you saying that from the participant perspective or the business owner perspective . also WHERE and WHEN in your opinion should that type of event be held ?

  • #8632

    Peter Zambos
    Participant

    I agree that the Winter Kart Show which, I believe, is put on in conjunction with Mid-States Kart Club, is a good venue.  Their dates are okay, the only conflict could be FWT.  The atmosphere is nice, and I’d really like to see it grow.

    I’ve never been to the PRI show, and now that it’s in Indianapolis, it’s a heck of a lot closer to me.  Since it’s not exclusively for karts, however, I’m sure that many karters are unsure if they should bother, as it’s a gamble regarding how much of the show is geared towards them.

    Bob, if you put a show with the Supernats, you have a couple of issues.  You could put on the show in the days just prior or just after the races.  Then racers and businesses would have to swallow a bigger hotel and food bill, businesses would have to transport more gear, drivers would have to try to get more consecutive vacation time and would likely not spend much at the show, as they just dropped their wallet at the Nats.  You could hold it on the same days as the races, but people do need to sleep at some point.

  • #8659

    Bob Baldwin
    Blocked

    Peter / Tim  : Does your Group / Business display at the Mid-West show ? If NOT where do you display at ?

    Please don’t get me wrong I am NOT trying to tell anyone how to run their group / Business . It just appears to me that that ” KARTERS ” by themselves just do NOT draw enough attention to themselves by NOT displaying at certain events .

    Take VEGAS as an example , full of GLITZ , GlAMOUR etc ; Do you think that the average Vegas resident is going to say ” OH the Super Nats are in town we have to go see this ” or the average guy at the annual ” MUK LUK Trade show in Vegas gives a RATS AXX about karts and would SHOW -UP at the event . Sadly WE as KARTERS are our OWN WORST ENEMY .

    WHY should we not be displaying at the Super Nats or any of the 5-6 large karting events annually staged ? YES I realize VERY MUCH that there is NOT ANY/MANY national business’s involved in karting . No Dis-respect to anyone but it just seems to me that everytime we bought part , service , Karts , it was from MOM and POP type of business’s . If you did NOT see an AD on EKN or SEE someone at the track the average potential karter doesn’t know we exist .

    I’ve tried to get people involved to participate at the Nascar/Indy events , But I am of the mindset that the Tracks could give a hoot about karters and only about the derived income . Starting to go off on a tangent here so WHAT is the real REASON karters are NOT displaying their wares at BIG Karting events . ? IS it the TRACK ? Sanctioning Body ? The Property owner ? I would like to hear anyones Response , I just Ain’t buying the reason It Cost to much to sell my stuff at a Karting Event .

  • #8809

    Roger Ruthhart
    Participant

    I think the Feb. timing of KMI was because 1) many manufacturers didn’t have their new product lines ready and homologated before that, and, 2) It was before the race season kicked in.

     

  • #8856

    Tim Koyen
    Participant

    Bob…

    After being in the karting business for 10 years, I get my share of karting on a daily basis, so I probably wouldn’t just attend a show either way, regardless of where it was.

    As a business, I do exhibits where the opportunities, timing, cost, and market fit with my business.  I do the Winter Kart Show, but I also do swap meets and other kart shows that are geared toward 4 cycles, which comprise a chunk of my business.  Although this forum tends to be 2 cycle focused, there are far more racers out there racing ovals and dirt than there are sprint and road racers.  So while Vegas reaches some of the people with the deepest pockets, its attendees are really not very representative of many karting businesses demographic.  Not to mention that costs at venues like that are astronomical.  The last time I checked, PRI was way out of my price budget as well.  I could do multiple smaller shows that would reach my demographic much better, for the same money.  Glitz & glamour doesn’t come cheap.

    Now all that being said, I like to have some of my product on display at events that I attend.  I just don’t call it a “show”…I call it a race.  Usually being a series sponsor of some type gives you the opportunity to display or sell at events, but for some series, this cost is very high.

    The fact of the matter is, I see the same 300 people at most of the race events.  They know me, I know them.  They know my products.  Some buy from me, some don’t.  Its all good.  We’re still friends.  When I want to market my product, I’m aiming to see people who don’t know me or my products.  For me, that means going to different areas and markets.

    Marketing isn’t about just putting your wares in front of a boatload of people.  I could dump it on the side of I-80 and accomplish that.  Marketing is about getting people who are potential customers to take an interest in what you have to offer, and that task is a little different for everyone.

     

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  • #8862

    Bob Baldwin
    Blocked

    Tim: Continued success in your Business . We as MOSTLY 2 cy. Sprint and RR karters tend to forget there is still another world of Karting out there Dirt , Pavement Roundy Rounds etc . I am just as guilty for NOT attending them Lately . I guess when you INTEREST lies somewhere you stick with it and FORGET the Rest . Again Continued Success to You Guys

  • #8951

    Russ Kemple
    Participant

    I invented the Winter Kart Show as an alternative to the KMI show.  I thought it would provide a place for the karters to see what’s new.  We moved into a very nice facility with room for everyone.  I made the booths very cheap in hope to attract the entire karting community.  Each year since I started this we have doubled in size.  I hope this next year is just as successful.  I attend the PRI show every year with hope to speak with Vendors about the Winter Kart Show, the PRI is for Industry Professionals only.  Not open to the public.  Last year with NO KART race saw almost no kart displays.  I was told by vendors that paid for both shows that the Winter Kart Show was a better venue for the price.  We had close to 1000 karters walk through our door that bought items vs 50,000 non-karters who were not interested.

  • #8960

    Bob Baldwin
    Blocked

    Russ: How much of the new show is Dedicated to New Karts and Karting Products ?

    Is it leased at sq ft rates for vendors ? or HOW would we figure what are costs are ?

    Power included ?

     

    THANKS

  • #8962

    Lyle Clark
    Participant

    And to add to Bob’s question, website?

    I’d be interested. I have done PRI 3 times, and not enough bang for the buck.

     

     

    Lyle

     

     

  • #8997

    Tim Koyen
    Participant

    The website for the Winter Kart Show is aptly named: winterkartshow.com.  The website is not exactly “comprehensive”, but you get the idea.

    The show has a swap portion and a new portion.  Some folks are there to just display, some to sell, and some both.

    KartLift Kart Stands
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    877-777-8020
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  • #9016

    Dan Schlosser
    Participant

    What is the date this year Russ?

  • #9019

    Dan Schlosser
    Participant

    I’ve participated in KMI, PRI, IMIS plus every applicable car/outdoor/powersports show in Pittsburgh and Cleveland.

    Karting specific shows are great fun to get together with everyone in the industry to talk about how hard it is to make a living in the industry while we all take turns trying to give the house away to the few actual consumers that show up at the show. As each additional show comes along it marginalizes the value of the one it broke off from and it becomes less likely that anyone can derive enough value to offset the expense. Hopefully the Winter Kart Show keeps growing and can break that trend at least regionally in the midwest.

    PRI & IMIS when worked properly actually offer a good potential return.  It is hard work though and you get 99 misses for every one hit at best. But the potential to introduce karting to someone that isn’t in the sport now but already has at least a passing interest in motorsports is very real.

    Hands down the best shows though are still the local car/motorcycle/outdoor/powersports shows that connect you with potential NEW customers.  There is never any growth if all you ever do is cater to the same 100 people in your market locally or 1000 regionally. Local shows take a tremendous amount of patience initially and good old fashioned salesmanship after the fact. Something the hobby dealers in the business probably don’t have time for but the professionals need to embrace.

    There are reasons I can find to attend any of these shows but the quantifiable return is going to make it hard to justify participation in many of them. Now what I would really get behind is someone in the industry finding a way to make inroads with the PRI event to secure a karting room/venue in conjunction with PRI that would give us access to the rest of the motorsports community while still having a way to cater to our own karting community.

     

     

  • #9044

    Russ Kemple
    Participant

    Dan, Lyle, Bob,

    The Winter Kart Show (http://www.Winterkartshow.com) is Sunday, January 26th 2014.  We have set-up and Vendor’s only show on Saturday.  There is a BIG racing show in Indy on Saturday and lots of  helmet and parts vendors can’t make both days.  The one day show seems to work best.  I think a 10 X 10 was $175.00 and a 20 X 20 was $250.00.  50% was all NEW items, 25% was Series and Track info and 25% was SWAP.  We have 40,000 square feet.    I plan to update the website soon, right now getting ready for the Route66 race at Mid-State.   Right now Laukaitis, VKP, Kartlift, Streeter, Margay, Top Kart, Franklin have all given verbal commitments to display new products.   FYI, last year we had an Indy Car and a local NASCAR driver’s cars on display.  It was fun.

     

     

  • #9045

    Roger Ruthhart
    Participant

    At this point I like Dan’s idea. We don’t need another show. I like the Springfield show, but its goals are different than KMI and it seems to be developing a niche. The beauty of the KMI show was that it brought everyone in the industry together at one time. LOTS of deals got done in lobbies, meeting rooms and over drinks. Importers met new shop owners, shop owners met new suppliers and promoters met with both. Those who had product on display usually were able to sell what they had so they didn’t have to haul it home, although I think sales were secondary. And we did meet some people from the Midwest who were looking into karting.

    If we had a venue to do all of that — that we ALL attended — and could also connect with the larger motorsports community (for those who could benefit from that), that would be great.

  • #9089

    Bob Baldwin
    Blocked

    Roger : Pardon my LACK of computer skills but as relates to your last paragraph ” Connect with the larger Motorsports Community ” WHAT specifically are you referring to ?

    Are you referencing those getting out of Karting and climbing the so called MOTORSPORTS LADDER ?

    There are companies around that do that “MDD ” Jay Howard comes to mind , I ‘m sure there are others but it would appear that they are targeting a VERY SELECT FEW with-in the karting community .

    At the “PRO” level of Motorsports how do those teams derive benefit out of Karting ?

  • #9187

    John Matthews
    Participant

    I’ve attended KMI as well as displayed there, also Kartfest down in NC.

    Additionally I used to be in the business setting up booths, AV, etc. for many other shows, conferences and the like.

    KMI was great when it was doing well and I really enjoyed it back then, very international….

    Kartfest was a whole different (still good) experience, especially with Mike Clements who everyone wanted to talk with.

    Maybe I’ll pull it together and try this winter kart show since I have a bunch of used and NOS stuff I would like to unload. As it stands right now karting really is more of a “swap meet” proposition as opposed to a big, glamorous trade show kind of industry. Try CES if you really want to see what a trade show is like ;^)

    The point about shows with races has been covered with the obvious exception that the race really is a show. Since everyone agrees that support is king for kart products seeing how manufacturers/importers work under pressure will tell you a lot more than kicking tires at a trade show.

    Karting is a diverse sport so it will always be hard to come up with any event that covers the entire industry. Trade shows are expensive…. For the promoters, exhibitors, and attendees they represent a significant outlay of cash that might not justify itself in the Internet age. Also, not a whole lot changes fundamentally in karting from year to year. It doesn’t take racers long in the sport to figure that out so unless we start seeing some serious innovation in karting I’m willing to say that trade shows without a big swap meet attached are probably dead.

     

    JMHO,

  • #9211

    Bob Baldwin
    Blocked

    john: you certainly raise some INTERESTING points . I am curious to ask if either you or anyone else reading this topic has attended any type Kart shows in Europe . HOW they may be different than what had been known as the KMI  show .?

    most of us have the perception that ” TRADE SHOWS ” are all about networking and marketing . Not on this NEW EKN forum but on the old one ,occasionally the european KART trade shows were mentioned I really am curious if they are any different .

    As bad as it gets for new karters to make choices as to the “BRAND ” to go with ,the universal answer is ” GO with the Brand that is SUPPORTED in your area ” still does NOT make sense to those who CHOOSE to be a little DIFFERENT lol !!

    I guess I tend to RESEARCH things too much ! The TOP 4 or 5 brands always seem to have various GRADES of Quality within there product line Just as example take Tony kart a Quality product ,but they also own MFG Kosmic to me seems like a LESSER grade of karts I am talking from a pricepoint NOT Quality of Build here WHY IS THAT ?

    Then you have the FA kart , the Lewis Hamilton kart , the “Lotus kart built by Wildkart ” and the list does go on . Though I do have a problem remembering WHEN a lewis Hamilton Kart won a National event here in the USA lol .OOPS can’t forget ” ZANARDI ” karts either

    I am NOT sure I ever got an answer on this question but “WHY” are a vast majority of karts built in Italy ? does it have anything to do with Italian Govt Economic Subsidies ? Gosh I miss the days of the “LOUNGE ” when questions like this could be asked and the likes of TOM JENSEN could be reguarded as ” FACTUAL MATTER” lol!!!

    Probably a VAST MAJORITY of karters DON’t even realize that Many of the KART MFG’s are a division of other Industrial Corp Companies . Products like MS kart and Praga Kart come to mind .

    So now we are at the point where the Kart trade shows are considered Glorified Swap Meets ? I am just NOT buying into that notion . I continue to hope that the SHOW presently planned is a Huge Success . But also buy into my point that at the Larger karting events like the Super Nat’s a Display area of Karting Products would be a Success .

  • #9949

    John Matthews
    Participant

    Hi Bob,

     

    I’ve never been to Europe so I can’t say anything about what they do there.

    As for a trade show being a good place to pick a new chassis brand as a driver I think it would be just as easy to ask on here what the “best” chassis is. :^)  Anyone who’s been around long enough knows that the a great driver will win in a shopping cart, there’s just not enough difference between most of the chassis out there to make a difference for the average club racer. That’s why local support is cited as the most important factor so much, someone at your track can look at your setup and the track conditions and help you get to where you want to be….

    For a retailer trade shows ARE all about networking and getting to know some of the people in the industry (I think I first met Rob Howden at KMI). It’s good to be able to meet top management and support people from brands you are thinking about representing. Buying into any brand is a considerable investment and as a retailer I always try to get to at least one trade show in my industry. But…. I don’t need to go every year just to see the same stuff over and over again.

     

    Why is sprint kart stuff mainly built in Italy? Subsidies maybe…. But more likely it’s because they are world leaders in CNC machine manufacturing and the guys who run those shops are nuts about racing. I suspect (and this is just speculation) that kart parts are built with excess capacity in shops where there are much more profitable parts being built, probably for the aerospace industry. The Italians have had huge momentum in karting for a very long time (like way before I started in 1977). Others have done a great job but there’s just something about being where the action is. Just go to North Carolina and see how something like auto racing which is a hobby in the rest of our country is an INDUSTRY there.

    Tim was pretty clear about the challenges of trade shows for karting companies. I think going to Kartfest the first time cost me  close to $10k, and I don’t even want to think about the issues we had the following year when we tried partnering with another manufacturer to do both Kartfest and KMI. The payoff just wasn’t there for us and I’m sure other exhibitors felt the same way.

    All the players do have their stuff on display at the big races, just not in a trade show format where they give away t-shirts and calendars. And swap meets are probably much better for the average racer because they can talk to folks who have actually used the product as opposed to a pretty girl who doesn’t know a tie rod from a bow tie :^)

    IMHO, if KMI had been able to provide things like group insurance plans for retailers, or lobbying efforts to help clubs build new tracks we might have a US karting industry that was big enough to justify big trade shows. It’s not that I don’t appreciate what Darrell did with the organization, I just think that karting in the US is challenged by the fact that we only operate on closed circuits and there aren’t enough of them to attract serious investment from major  powersports manufacturers. Until that happens, or the Italians just want to travel to Chicago in January I can’t see another major trade show coming up….

     

    JMHO,

  • #9953

    Bob Baldwin
    Blocked

    John : your comment is NOTED about the fact that there is NOT much difference between Chassis brands to affect the AVERAGE CLUB RACER . Not sure at WHAT level one becomes an ABOVE average club racer ,I guess that is a matter of Interpretation .

    As I wander through the pits at karting events I tend to keep my eye out for things New and Different and ask a lot of Questions . Sometimes I get the feeling that people are looking back at me as a little Different LOL

    I did NOT know that the Italians were considered the leading country as far as CNC machining went .

    surprisingly if you dig a little further into Kart MFG it is surprising the ” AFFILIATION ” some kart MFG have with the Aerospace industry . either a Division of or whose parent holding has a link to the aerospace industry .

    as relates to your last paragraph You would think that some with-in the Karting community would have formed like a Co-Op for purchasing Quality Insurence a better rates . Not sure HOW that might have been able to help karters with ZONING issues as that is pretty much a local Challenge .

    Not trying to KNOCK any other country but take Germany which has a reputation for QUALITY Machining Mach 1 karts are made there from people that have seen them the Quality is Outstanding .

    CZEK ? spelling Republic as example makes MS karts again Quality MFG and ironicly they are a division of a MAJOR aerospace / Defense contractor .

    In the UK 2 brands that come to mind are Gillard and Wright Karts which were the choice of Jenson Button and Dan Wheldon RIP in their formative karting days

    from those that I have seen and from WHAT others have told me the above mentioned QUALITY is quite apparent and with-in say european countries do quite well from kids karts up to the KF classes .

    other than a Gillard Kart I just don’t see any of the other karts mentioned above here in the USA

     

     

  • #10816

    Rod Hawkins
    Participant

    Wow, no wonder why karting isn’t growing there isn’t even an organized regular national or series of shows to show off the products?

    Maybe this is too bold of a statement but if anyone thinks karting is going to go without significant investment and sacrifice, they are fooling themselves. Consumers get really interested and drop serious coin after they go to events like CES, SIMA, Interbike, etc…

    Maybe I am seeing things different but when I live in SoCalif and I find it difficult to find a kart shop that is open when I am off work, then when I finally do find an open shop but it mostly looks like a mechanic garage with maybe 1 kart on display and a bunch if karts in the back being worked on, it doesn’t invite new people to the sport.

    I get excited and love and have loved walking through showrooms of various sports I am into. Bike shops, moto, surf shops, stereo stores, etc. The eye candy is what motivates people to want to spend money. Even though the economy continues to suck, people buy things that they are really into, they find a way.

    It’s too bad that there aren’t some serious players out there that are willing to invest or give back. Maybe it would need to be a group of race drivers like Hamilton, Schumacher, Zanardi, Tracy, etc… Guys that have money and even have a vested interest in the sport to help it grow.

    I remember as a kid going to stereo stores it bike shops with my dad and getting really excited about equipment. I still do it to this day, unfortunately in karting the only place to get that is looking online or seeing the karts at a race.

  • #10854

    John Matthews
    Participant

    Motorcycle shops have a much bigger market than kart shops will ever have. That’s because the average consumer can walk into a bike shop and finance a bike that they can ride to work, or on a whole series of FREE trails close to their home.

    There’s an order of magnitude difference between the gross revenue of a motorcycle dealer and a kart dealer. They also are required to FLOOR PLAN much of that eye candy you are looking at….

    There are two distinct groups on this forum, those who have run a karting business and those who haven’t. Of course the perspectives are going to be very different between them, but most of us who have run shops or built karts started out as racers so we know a little about that.

    Karting in the US IMHO can only grow from good local programs. If you have a bunch of good local racers they will create the demand for regional and national programs. There just isn’t a good way to do it from the top down in this country.

    As for trade shows, I’m someone who wrote the checks to exhibit so I can only imagine what it costs to actually put one one…..

    I wouldn’t hold my breath :-(

     

    Cheers,

  • #9988

    Tim Koyen
    Participant

    I kind of lost track of the original purpose of this thread and it seems to have drifted off to who makes what and where, but…

    If there were a good Karting Only show in a major US city (with an International airport) where serious industry people could get together to show off their products, meet others, and perhaps make some deals, AND it didn’t cost an arm and a leg, I would be up for something like that.  There is really no need to do it any more often than every other year though.

    As it sits, I’m not paying $3-5k for a booth to be a sideshow at a general motorsports show.  I don’t have an aerospace division.

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  • #11325

    Rod Hawkins
    Participant

    Wrong thread. Ooops

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