We appreciate your thoughts and suggestions but I do have some thoughts on several of them. These are my thoughts and may or may not be shared by the other Summit directors.
Most wheeling events across this country are set up on a similar schedule rather than as an all week event. It makes it easier for the trip to and from and easier to fit in with just one week of vacation. The idea of wheeling every other day to alleviate trail crowding sounds great but it would not work. Most people would hit the trails every day even if not on organized runs because that's why they made the trip. Besides, we've said time and time again that our permits have limits.
In regards to the vendors, they have jobs too and getting away for more than a few days even to setup as a vendor can be tough. Yes, with more space we could set up install booths for vendors and turn this into a wrench fest instead of a vacation. They would have to bring more people out of production to make this happen. They would spend time wrenching rather than spend time talking to people and making connections. More of this kind of thing happened at early Summits but it was my observation that vendors did not like carrying the extra goods or spending time crawling on asphalt until the wee hours of the night.
More classes. Yes, we could dedicate more time and space to do more classes like the Overland Expo does. But wait, they don't have any trail runs to organize or offer.
It seems that most of these suggestions are centered around making the event bigger and bigger. We're one of the bigger events as it is and we do this all with volunteer organization and labor. We have a great relationship with the town of Ouray and the area forest service and BLM offices. Relocation would affect all of this goodwill and would be a potential downfall. Far more time would be spent managing it and the same problems would have to be solved again and again.
Would it be a better event if it had a 500-600 vehicle limit but never sold out ? I don't think so. That would make it a nightmare for planning. Is our event perfect ? Of course not. We've made changes over the years and you can expect changes in the future.
Since our formula has worked pretty well for eight years (through an economic downturn at that), I would not be expecting any big changes. While some other events have faltered or had trouble selling out over months of open registration, we have grown a little and continued to sell-out faster and faster each year. Based on the popularity it is clear that we are doing something right.
FJ Summit Co-Director since 2013 email: james at fjsummit dot org
2008 Sandstorm FJ Cruiser
2019 White TRD Premium 4Runner
I am the Woodsman...the four-wheelin', tree-farmin', custom-furniture-makin' descendant of Olaf "The Woodcutter"