In 2012 Teresa Burkhauser, CMP, will celebrate a decade at the helm of the Tour of the California Alps Death Ride®. It takes real grit to complete the course, which climbs 15,000 feet over 129 miles and five mountain passes!
It will be the event’s 32nd year, and it all began when one man, Wayne Martin, decided to get his friends together for a biking adventure in the California mountains. That first year just seven completed the ride, for an entry fee of $1.00 each, yet it anchored the event as a go-to annual happening. So much so that registrations have been known to sell out in as little as 90 minutes for the 3500 riders who take part. Now organized entirely by the Alpine County Chamber of Commerce’s Visitor’s Center – more specifically Executive Director, Teresa Burkhauser, and one assistant – it’s probably the only West Coast event for which two highways are closed.
Here are 3 things you can learn about getting your event to the mountaintop from Teresa Burkhauser:
1. Get the entire community involved
Tour of the California Alps Death Ride® is the biggest fundraiser for the County of Alpine and the myriad nonprofit groups involved who provide volunteers to handle everything from course set-up to staffing water stations/rest stops to assisting with the post-ride food. And because it takes place in a rural area – the county has a population of just 1200 – everything needed for that weekend must be trucked in.
The entire community comes together to ensure the event runs smoothly. This includes Caltrans (California Department of Transportation), the highway patrol, search and rescue, local business owners and families. So much so that the Monday after the event one would never know 3500 bike enthusiasts and their families had converged on their placid piece of real estate.
2. Get technology that makes planning easy
“As soon as we wrap up one Death Ride®, we start on the following year’s event,” Teresa notes. The event’s longevity makes typical marketing unnecessary. It’s a word-of-mouth happening that sees registration close almost as soon as it begins.
People wanting to participate in the event click on the Death Ride® at the Chamber’s site and immediately get to the registration page provided by Active Network. The fact that Active is known and trusted by biking enthusiasts makes Teresa’s job that much easier. And she likes the flexibility she has with the software, the ability to fine-tune the data so she gets the demographics she needs to know who exactly her constituents are – some actually come from Japan to participate in the race!
3. Get social
Teresa has been smart about incorporating social media into her event. She has leveraged Active.com’s Facebook channel, which allows riders to communicate with one another. It’s become a source for carpooling to and from the event and has brought an added sense of community to this highly popular, ever-sold-out happening that raises approximately $50,000 yearly for the nonprofits involved.
“The fact that the Death Ride® is a fun, safe, community and family event for all gives me the most pride.”
We are proud to be featuring Teresa Burkhauser as our Event Director of the Month for May!
Read more about Tour of the California Alps Death Ride®