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RK3DE Cheers and Jeers (beyond course design)

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  • RK3DE Cheers and Jeers (beyond course design)

    This was my 6th consecutive year attending Rolex so I may be considered a newb yet, but I have some cheers and jeers. Since I'm about to write a strongly worded letter, I thought I'd see if others had anything to add.

    First the cheers:

    Cheers for the organizers on pushing the 4 minute interval and skipping lunch due to the weather. Very very smart. I did miss about 10 horses trying to get my butt from HOTL to the field (normally what we do at lunch time) but it was a good idea. The skies opened shortly after we reached our car at 2pm. GOOD CALL!

    Cheers for the communication about Oliver Townend and his status over the loud speakers. In years past, it was all hush hush when a rider was injured or taken away and led to tons of speculation and rumor. THANK YOU for the communication.

    Cheers for the wonderful volunteers...yet again, I am impressed.

    Cheers for the KY State Police...and this year, they even managed to help with the merge lane heading south on I 75 off of Iron. YAY!

    Cheers for the extra garbage cans even in the field. This was a gripe a few years ago.

    Cheers for announcing the asshats who left their dogs in their vehicles.

    Now, if I may...some "Jeers" and some suggestions.

    1) The parking situation was freaking ridiculous. We arrived at 7:05 am on Saturday and spent 2.5 hours trying to get into the park. First we went to the camp ground lot where we were turned away (after parking and hauling our cooler up) because they weren't selling XC admissions tickets there like before. Fine. We THEN went to the other lot where a KY State Policeman told us that you had to have a special pass to enter. We insisted....we got in. We were then informed by a (lovely!) volunteer--Oh yes! They are rerouting people here due to the chance of rain. This is free parking. Communication fail.

    2) So at this point, we've hauled all our crap, including a ginormous cooler, about a mile on foot. We parked again....got our crap together and hoofed it from the furthest lot up to the gate. Bought our tickets. Were THROUGH security when we were asked "Is there alcohol in that cooler?" My reply? "Lots! LOL" No alcohol allowed this year. Would've been good to know AHEAD of time. Not that booze makes Rolex ROLEX, but seriously? We got there at 7:05am so we could get our good seats at HOTL for the morning...by the time we took the cooler back and walked BACK to the gate, we were very frustrated. The REASON we got didn't fly either "There are vendors selling alcohol this year." Yeah, there have ALWAYS been vendors selling alcohol. And we have ALWAYS hauled our own in. Grrrr. It's not the booze that's the issue, it's the fact that we had no idea it was a problem ahead of time.

    3) Obliviots. I really think that they need to spend some time talking about the proper etiquette. Like don't push your stroller into the galloping lane when the whistles are blowing.

    Also...clapping after every fence. You hold your applause til after the combo in XC or after the round in Stadium. You want to read something funny? We got threatened with lawsuit for saying, "Not sure if you guys are aware, but it's considered poor form to clap before they finish the course." Much hilarity ensued... http://forums.horsecity.com/index.ph...topic=47067365

    I think they need to SAY this out loud from now on. Because I think the audience applause caused more than one dropped rail.

    4) Inclement weather prep: Our seats got changed to general admission on Sunday for the WEG Speed test. Why? Because Saturday was put off due to weather. Weather happens. I get that. But if I hadn't had rain gear, I couldn't have gone to the test event I had paid for because my seats...that I PAID for...were filled. I think that the "weather clause" needs to be revisited. As it happened...with rain gear, I was in row 2 (uncovered) and got to see Beezie Madden's nose hairs as she took her two horses through jump offs. So I was all good. But still.

    5) This may sound silly. But when you buy a ticket for Stadium on Sunday? Please make that price reflect the admission. Last year and this year, we've had to buy an ADDITIONAL 25 dollar admission ticket to the park. If you're going to charge that, just charge it as part of your event ticket....please don't require us to pay at the gate 25 bucks just to walk from the lot to the stadium. It's kind of silly. I budget this trip out (as do most of my friends who go)....I should be able to enter the park for the price of my ticket to an event. THat's how it used to be. That's how it is for WEG right? Let's just call a spade a spade. If you want 50 bucks for Sunday's event just charge 50 bucks with the seat ticket.

    Again. I LOVE Rolex. I've been going 6 years and I LOVE it. I drive about 7 hours to go. I take time off work. I LOVE it. It's my "Christmas" on Saturday morning....

    This year just felt a little wonky. It's a wonderful sport and I love sharing it with others. I can't wait to head back next year.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...

  • #2
    I'll restrain myself and refrain from sharing my thoughts on the whole JO@Rolex thing you had going on and simply say that you seem to have some crazy adventures my dear. Can't wait for the book.
    Thus do we growl that our big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!

    Comment


    • #3
      That's weird, we parked in the campground lot Fri, Sat, and Sun and on Sat we were able to buy GA tickets at the gate.
      "Lord if we should fall, my horse and I, please pick my horse up first."

      www.thestartbox.wordpress.com
      www.useaiv.org

      Comment


      • #4
        Maybe I just missed it, but I didn't hear much about Townend and ACM after the fall, and especially notable was the lack of announcement that ACM was at least standing up. That's usually the first thing they announce, I'm pretty sure, so that even if they can't rule on the rider, you at least know the horse didn't break its neck. Did I miss a loudspeaker announcement that ACM was at least standing?

        I agree that it is poor form on the part of the organizers to charge general admission separately from a stadium ticket. If I'm buying a stadium ticket I will automatically need general admission, so just factor that into the ticket price and let those who don't want an actual stadium ticket pay the G.A. fee at the gate! Much easier to budget that way, I agree. Might I add that $25 is a heck of a lot of money just to get into the park? I think the G.A. fee for ticket buyers should be lower than for those that didn't buy actual seats... but oh well.

        I understand why they started stadium half an hour early on Sunday, but I was still disappointed to arrive in time for a 12:30 start and find out that I had missed almost half an hour already. I drove 6 hours from Virginia, and like others, I had spent $50 on my ticket (general admission included), so I wanted the FULL show, not to miss the first 6 riders. Maybe an email update next time if they're making a big change like that? (I know I provided my email when I bought the ticket online). Did it say on the Web site that they'd be starting early? I didn't check it on Sunday morning.

        Pretty crummy that they banned outside alcohol. It's good to know for future reference that if I want to bring my own, I'll have to use the ol' "stick it in juice/soda bottles inside the cooler" method

        P.S. we got to the park at about 8:30am Saturday and were inside and parked within just a couple minutes. We arrived from Georgetown road. Very happy with how efficient they were at handling the traffic.

        Comment


        • #5
          I agree about the people clapping during riders' SJ rounds. People seemed to think it was OK to clap after the horses made it through the triple, and there were still 3 (difficult) fences left on the course. An announcement would have been appropriate to remind those not in the know-same is true about people walking all around the stands and walkways during dressage tests-should have waited to make noise and find your seat until the test was over.

          We were a little miffed that the way we found out the GP test event was "rescheduled" was by a friend who drove over to the park and reported that there was a large sign saying so. Nothing on the Rolex or WEG websites, no announcements made before we left the park after XC...

          Don't even get me started on the "obliviots"...heard more crazy bits of misinformation than ever before while sitting in the grandstand this year...
          No Trouble
          2/2/05 - 7/29/13
          Rest In Peace my quirky brave boy, I will love you forever.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            CA: We saw it on FB--the rescheduling.

            M: What time did you get there? At 7am, there were no ticket sales that we could see (well, the volunteer said there were none and turned us around--perhaps another miscommunication?)

            Again, I am a FAN of Rolex. This is an awesome event. So happy to go! But this year seemed to be very frustrating.
            A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

            Might be a reason, never an excuse...

            Comment


            • #7
              There's always next year.
              Thus do we growl that our big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Kap View Post
                I understand why they started stadium half an hour early on Sunday, but I was still disappointed to arrive in time for a 12:30 start and find out that I had missed almost half an hour already. I drove 6 hours from Virginia, and like others, I had spent $50 on my ticket (general admission included), so I wanted the FULL show, not to miss the first 6 riders. Maybe an email update next time if they're making a big change like that? (I know I provided my email when I bought the ticket online). Did it say on the Web site that they'd be starting early? I didn't check it on Sunday morning.
                The schedule was on the website and iirc was accurate as to the start time well in advance (I first looked at the schedule on Friday, but judging from the get-togethers of COTH'ers to watch the broadcast, the start time was pinned down pretty well in advance, even if it was earlier than normal).

                The cooler issue really rubbed me the wrong way. They were allowed in on Friday. One would think that such a huge change in policy would have been consistent throughout the whole event and much more publicized (there was not even a sign at the entrance to that effect).

                Not that I'm a really huge drinker, but I do enjoy a little beer (and the choices behind the bar in the tent were rather lacking).
                "smile a lot can let us ride happy,it is good thing"

                My CANTER blog.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by caffeinated View Post
                  The schedule was on the website and iirc was accurate as to the start time well in advance (I first looked at the schedule on Friday, but judging from the get-togethers of COTH'ers to watch the broadcast, the start time was pinned down pretty well in advance, even if it was earlier than normal).

                  The cooler issue really rubbed me the wrong way. They were allowed in on Friday. One would think that such a huge change in policy would have been consistent throughout the whole event and much more publicized (there was not even a sign at the entrance to that effect).

                  Not that I'm a really huge drinker, but I do enjoy a little beer (and the choices behind the bar in the tent were rather lacking).

                  Agreed. I heard over the loud speaker several times on Saturday what time SUnday was going to start (which was an hour earlier than "normal". ) It was also online and on the FB.

                  Thing is....I didn't have a laptop with me. Thank God my friend did else we would've been a little lost on a number of occasions.

                  As far as the coolers...again...I'm not saying I have a real issue with booze not being allowed per se (though the fact that the only beer you can get is Bud Lite and I normally haul in my Molson for this event)....but it was a SURPRISE. And I'm not a fan of surprises. Especially after I hoof it in hauling a cooler for a 1/2 a mile.

                  I think that was a mistake to not communicate about the coolers. And the poor security folks were new this year (hired company rather than volunteers.) I was nice about it...but I was really aghasted!
                  A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                  Might be a reason, never an excuse...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    So many things done well...only one thing thoroughly irritated me: Range Rover.

                    Nevermind the struggle of wrapping my brain around why the United States Eq. Fed has a foreign car sponsorship... RR cars completely blocked my view to a stadium fence AND at the Hallows where even standing beside a bleacher you couldn't see anything of the drop elements because there is a car between you and the jump.

                    I understand about wanting photos and video shots with the car in them, but to do so at the expense of paying spectators is really obnoxious. Not that I would buy a RR considering the reliability reports ( http://usnews.rankingsandreviews.com...r/Reliability/ ) but I also won't buy products when they use less than considerate advertising tactics.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I was once again impressed with the folks in eventing. I met some of the nicest people, enjoyed the weekend, and I thought RK3DE was amazing.

                      Karen O'Connor, already a hero of mine, went up several MORE notches as I watched her speak to the PC'ers after her dressage test, letting one girl pet Mandiba. And as I walked out after SJ, I saw KOC and another "pink coat" stopping to pose for pictures with still more PC'ers.

                      What gracious, generous people. Worthy of our admiration.

                      Go eventers!
                      --Becky in TX
                      Clinic Blogs and Rolex Blogs
                      She who throws dirt is losing ground.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by BuddyRoo View Post
                        And the poor security folks were new this year (hired company rather than volunteers.)
                        Andy Frain people have been working Rolex for at least the last few years... I don't remember '04 but the last three years at least they've been the folks manning the tents and restricted areas

                        I will give big cheers to the medical staff and the injured/handicapped shuttle service - that was very well organized. All I had was a blister, and all I needed was some band-aids, but I somehow ended up with a ride to the tent, three people "attending" me, and an offer of donuts.

                        And, since the cooler issue has already been discussed I will also say that the bartenders were quite good, even if they had a poor beer selection. ;p The catering staff was also great, super friendly and very helpful
                        "smile a lot can let us ride happy,it is good thing"

                        My CANTER blog.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          BR, If I had your day, I would be homicidal. Communication and advance notice about policies, particularly if they are CHANGED policies from past years, is not negotiable, particularly for what a Rolex weekend costs us.

                          The website should be absolutely filled with information like which gates you can buy tickets at and whether you can bring in a beer and stuff like that. And you should be able to plan this stuff before you even get in your car to COME to Rolex.

                          Figure out the policies. Communicate the policies. Execute the policies. If you can organize a cross country course, you can manage ticket sales and beer policies in a transparent, advance notice way.

                          We love our sport, but execution matters. Bad execution is like saying to your fans "We don't really care whether we waste your time and money or not." Which is NOT what equestrian sports should be saying to its fans and volunteer base.

                          End of rant.
                          I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
                          I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Kairoshorses View Post
                            Karen O'Connor, already a hero of mine, went up several MORE notches as I watched her speak to the PC'ers after her dressage test, letting one girl pet Mandiba. And as I walked out after SJ, I saw KOC and another "pink coat" stopping to pose for pictures with still more PC'ers.
                            Did you happen to catch the "celebrity round" of the PC games?

                            It was awesome, several eventers joined forces with the PC teams for games - both hilarious and wonderful. Doug Payne landed on his pony's rump at one point. The kids loved it (spectators too!) and fantastic to see some big names lending their support and encouraging them
                            "smile a lot can let us ride happy,it is good thing"

                            My CANTER blog.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I did hear them announce the Oliver Townsend's horse was up and I knew they were airlifting him because 1)I was over that way and saw the fall and 2) heard the 'copter fire up. I did hear them annouce, several times, that Oli was alert & moving in the hospital.

                              I thought moving the schedule up was brilliant in looking out for the horses & riders. I'm sure the vendors were not amused, but it was a great thing to do.

                              I really liked the dressage commentary on the headsets, though I missed Sally OC. I didn't think the show jumping was as informative as the dressage from a training standpoint, but it was entertaining. My headset died during the last 6 rides, so I don't know how that finished up.

                              I was not amused that we could not enter the show grounds through the north campground gate (they didn't have a ticket scanner). We park up on that end and it meant we had to walk twice as far to get where we wanted to go.

                              I would really rather have fewer, longer breaks in the schedule for dressage since the trade fair is now a ten minute one-way walk from the ring. I didn't do nearly as much perusing of stuff this year because of that.

                              Didn't know about the beer thing since I was camping & had a backpack!

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by Lori B View Post
                                BR, If I had your day, I would be homicidal. .
                                I wasn't homicidal...but I really WAS disappointed...and not because of the booze. It was because I got to HOTL so bloody LATE!!! I'm normally there on the ropes by 7:30...usually before they are even taking tickets!

                                I really did almost cry. As it turned out, I still found a good spot. But my in my frustration I was near tears and ready to just tail gate til lunch at the car. Which is saying something...because I think XC day at Roles is pretty much my Christmas.
                                A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                                Might be a reason, never an excuse...

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  The best: 1. the COTH get together at LAZ's trailer.

                                  2. Seeing examples of good horsemanship, when several riders retired, instead of pushing their horses.

                                  3. Volunteering for Karen Kollmeyer, who got together a fun group of road crossing guards.

                                  4. Changing the schedule on cross country day was a good move. It gave everyone an equal playing field. If they had taken the break at lunch, then the later riders would have gone in heavy rain and thunderstorms.

                                  The worst: 1. I was saddened that the Range Rover folks had taken down several very old trees to create their Range Rover Experience.

                                  2. As one of the road crossing guards, I had the responsiblity of moving folks out of the way for the medical personel and horse trailers, which were sent to the Hollows. The folks who were talking on their cell phones or texting were the worst, because they were totally oblivious.

                                  3. Having the volunteer parking lot taken away and put way out in the field was definitely a huge pain. If Karen had not had x-country parking passes for some of us, a lot of volunteers would have been late and wet. We made trips out to the volunteer parking field and brought jump judges and crossing guards into the park. Hopefully, the organizers will figure a better way to shuttle the volunteers for the WEG!
                                  When in Doubt, let your horse do the Thinking!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by LAZ View Post
                                    I would really rather have fewer, longer breaks in the schedule for dressage since the trade fair is now a ten minute one-way walk from the ring. I didn't do nearly as much perusing of stuff this year because of that.
                                    This is a great idea!

                                    Not everybody got to Lexington on Monday night so they could sit down for dressage on Thursday morning knowing that they had already bought everything they needed! Not that I stopped making purchases...I was a little out of control this year as I've had a list going since I moved the ponies home a year ago!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      The parking situation was freaking ridiculous. We arrived at 7:05 am on Saturday and spent 2.5 hours trying to get into the park. First we went to the camp ground lot where we were turned away (after parking and hauling our cooler up) because they weren't selling XC admissions tickets there like before.
                                      Weird. We cruised into the park at 8:50am, parked at the campsite, bought our tickets at the normal campground park entrance, and were at the HOTL at 5 after 9, right on the ropes with a great view.
                                      Click here before you buy.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I agree about somehow announcing proper etiquette. I was ready to feed obliviots a homemade knuckle sandwich everytime a spectator insisted on walking across the laps of the whole seating row while rides were in the arena!

                                        And, I must say, the Rent-a-Cop security (not the actual cops, the guys who took tickets and such) were HORRIBLE. I mean horrible. As in, weren't that interested in putting the effort in to scanning tickets as much as sitting down complaining about wanting a break as spectators lined up behind the poor soul who was still working!

                                        Edited to add: But I love Rolex and this weekend every year is by far the best-run event I go to! Kudos to all involved, esp. vets, med teams, volunteers, and everyone behind the scenes!

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