MONTEREY, CA—The Sea Otter Classic, which starts today, is looking to attract more women and dealers for the 2011 edition.
While Sea Otter has done a much better job over the last couple of years at introducing more women’s specific activities, this is the first year it’s been formalized.
“We actually brought on a coordinator for women’s activities,” said Frank Yohannan, president and CEO of the Sea Otter Classic. “She’s working with pro women, women’s cycling teams, and all of our suppliers and exhibitors that want to participate.”
The ladies’ activities will take place on Sunday, April 17, where under a huge tent women’s specific seminars and clinics will be offered among other things. Men are also welcomed to participate.
“Our intent wasn’t to really to focus on women and girls who were already avid cyclists,” Yohannan said. “It was more to reach out to those women and girls who were thinking about getting into cycling as a new sport, a new recreational activity or exercise activity, and encourage them to come to Sea Otter.
“We wanted to do did it in an environment that’s not threatening to them,” Yohannan said, “so they really feel free to really ask questions.”
Women aren’t the only ones being catered to at this year’s Sea Otter. For the first time ever in Sea Otter’s 20-year history registered dealers will get into the event for free.
“We’ve always done a pretty good job of focusing our marketing on athletes, and certainly exhibitors for the Sea Otter Expo,” Yohannan said of its new Dealer Days. “We haven’t really had much of a focus on dealers in particular. In reviewing what Sea Otter means to the industry that became clear and we said, ‘Let’s look at different things we can offer dealers.’”
Dealer Days includes dealers-only demo rides with exclusive access to some of Sea Otter’s famous race venues—downhill, dual slalom, pump track, and cross-country. Many of the demos will be led by top pros, such as a morning downhill demo with world champion mountain biker Eric Carter. Dealer Days demo rides are apart from the public Ride-With-A-Pro program, which dealers can also participate in.
“The key employees don’t often get the chance to get outside the store and meet with manufacturers and suppliers, or to ride with pros,” said Bob Barwick, general manager of Family Cycling Center in Santa Cruz, California. “The demos opportunity is huge. To be able to go out and ride the product in the proper setting—trails, roads—and to do that with industry folks, that’s a very attractive opportunity.”
Yohannan expects more than 100 dealers to sign up for free entry into Sea Otter, and hopes to grow those numbers in the years to come.
Last year Sea Otter featured 350 exhibitors and 50,000 attendees. This year’s Sea Otter runs through Sunday at Laguna Seca Recreation Area in Monterey, California.