The Superformance Owners Association was born in September of 2000 and since that has held 40 events around the country, and around the world. It was always a dream to have one, huge gathering of Superformance cars at one place, and at one time. Somewhere spectacular. Someplace where the drive to the event would be as memorable as the enjoyment once at the event. A place where nothing else could compare. And at the perfect time so all the owners could make that pilgrimage happen. July 2013 was that time. And the Colorado Rocky mountains, was that place.
Here is a look behind the scenes, from the eyes of the organizer...
This was an undertaking I have personally always wanted to do, and an event gathering I've always wanted to see happen since the year 2000. Not as much as being "a dream", but more like a challenge for myself and the owners... just to see if it could actually be done. The goal was to essentially "hand tailor" multiple vacations for hundreds of strangers, coordinate their trips across the country for them, and integrate other strangers along the way for them to meet up and make this all into something no one has never heard of being done before. It seemed like it would be the "ultimate vacation" for the participants as well as the perfect event and a once in a lifetime experience for everyone. Or to better describe it in a single word, being truly "unique" to anything done before this.
Just still an idea: Now, there were many directions this event could have been taken, and many options that could have been selected. Most of them would have made the event easier to create and assemble, but at the same time they would each take away from the uniqueness of that once in a lifetime experience. So I decided to take the hard road that requires all the hard work to make it happen. However, early on I was aware that even one single detail would have an effect on every other individual aspect of the rest of the event. So even the most minor detail had to be "just right", even though each of those same details may not necessarily seem significant by themselves... or maybe even noticed by the participants. That was the foundation to build what I was hoping to be, the most significant event .
Since the birth of SCOF in 2000, we have held and coordinated 40 events for SCOF members, but none were anything like what this was going to be. And so, on the eve of Superformance's 20th anniversary, we wanted to invite the Superformance world to come along and enjoy it together! And that meant tailoring the event for people who may have never even been on a cruise before, let alone have ever driven their car this far before. So the necessary requirements in preparing this event would be multiplied exponentially.
And it begins: As I entered the first phases of putting this event together in the fall of 2011, I already saw the task was going to be a monumental one, and so m,y wife and I decided to set aside an entire year of our own personal life to make sure the necessary time was there for what this event required to make it happen. It became more complex than anyone imagined, but I knew that going in. Over the years I have held several hundred events for all sorts of venues, however, as the event progressed I realized it was going to be far more work than what was originally anticipated, But it was clear as to what exactly had to be done, and knew it could be done, somehow. In essence, about a hundred different things had to come together perfectly for that to happen. And it would have to be almost by magic, or if anything, a just plain truck loads of luck.
First tires on the ground: In the summer of 2012 several SCOF members volunteered to head out Colorado and test the waters so we could see how this might work predicting the result if there were dozens more cars than just our handful of 7 or 8 test drivers. After that week was over, their assessment for the most part of putting on a similar show but with 5 times as many cars was, "no way" and, "you must be crazy". But I said I was going to try anyway, and even though our advanced test party could not imagine it could ever be possible, they were still on board and 100% behind me. And that level of support is how this event succeeded in the end. Lance and Deborah Stander were also along with us on this mission also saw the great potential of this event, that is, if it could be pulled off. Everyone had their doubts, but I already had played it out in my mind a thousand times in a thousand different ways and was confident this could be pulled off. The only thing left to do, was to actually do something about it. And that meant the real work was about to begin. A quick poll amongst the SCOF membership quickly revealed that this is something they would be interested in attending, and this location was the most favored above all the rest. So, this was it.
Getting ready behind the scenes: From opening of the first intro web page I spent over a year and a half averaging 6 hours each and every day creating the master website and the entry website as well as all the different databases. These key elements behind the scenes were the two most important items that became the center point in making this event possible. Decals, name tags, credentials, lanyards, logo artwork, packets, guides, maps, routes and directions were created and printed while the phone was off the hook contacting the hotels, city and county chambers of commerce, auto transport carriers, vendors and making arrangements for all the activities that I wanted to take place. In the process my wife and I passed over many vacations opportunities and family gatherings along the way to make darn sure we could accomplish this. After all, a lot of people were counting on us. In addition, many SCOF members passed over their winter vacations building up their days off and bank accounts so they could make sure nothing would stop them from attending.
Opening up to the world: In February of 2013 we launched the registration in stages to keep the flow of participants smooth and even. Once the registration was underway, an average of 3-4 hours each day was spent adding, changing and updating participant data. I also made it a point to send out weekly announcements, news updates and simply keep all the participants up to date on what was going on both amongst other participants as well as what was happening behind the scenes. The registrations came in very quickly and over 100 hotel rooms filled almost immediately.
While it might seem as the above was one step away from being near chaos, I made it a point to go out of my way to make the creation of this event "look smooth and easy"... and there was a purpose for that. From the very beginning I wanted participants to feel as if this were a "carefree loosely formatted vacation" in which they could enjoy it on any level they chose, their way. It was all about making the participants feel "comfortable" from the very beginning, including providing as much information as possible to prepare them and their car for this journey, and to let them know what to expect along every step of the way. Only a scant few knew how much of a daily struggle this event was. However, I did not view these issues as obstacles, but rather as necessary way points to reach, address and wrap up on the way to the success of this event. And in the end all those little nuances this event needed to be looked after, is exactly what made this event so very special and unique.
Another feature of this event that had not been done before to this level, was the event was intentionally custom tailored to each individual attending in some way or another. Each travel route to and from the event was either suggested or coordinated for them to some degree. Meeting places along the way to the event were scheduled, listed and coordinated. Each individual participant's departure and arrival times were listed so others who were coming that same way could coordinate a meet up and perhaps share the rest of the journey together. The closer the travelers traveled to the destination, the more travelers would be converging. If a traveler might need assistance along the way, they could simply look on their paperwork to see who and when the next travelers would be coming up behind them, and give them a call.
If the huge and detailed website was at the heart of this event, then the event packet and guides to be used at the event itself, were going be it's soul. Everything possible needed to be included in it so if anything was needed, the participant could simply open the packet and find the answers to just about any of the really important questions or needs that might come up. And they were.
The location: Before even going in we knew already that the Eastern owners would want the event located on the east, and the Western owners would want it on the west, and so on. Colorado was in the relative center of the ownership population and it was a lot better than having it in Kansas since that may have been more central. SCOF members were polled and they decidedly agreed with Colorado due to the location, the scenery, the roads, the cooler temperatures and because it was a destination worthy of driving half way across the country too. And after all, the true spirit of the SCOF SuperCruz event which this event was modeled after has always embraced the journey as a huge part of the excitement and enjoyment. So putting on a few miles was not a detriment to participants, it was an added bonus.
I have been to Colorado at least 40 times before this, and being so familiar with the entire State, it was just natural for me to be able to set up and organize this event in there even though I myself am 1,100 miles away. Knowing where to go and what to do was just a matter of choice from the many areas in my past experiences. I could easily do this at home using just memory and experience. Now, to be able to explain to other people where they should drive, many who have never been there before, was an entirely different challenge all together. Since cruises were either led by a volunteer, or you could go on your own with a few friends, just simply following someone for 250 miles meant someone was going to get separated. However, a map alone would not work very well unless it was 3 feet by 5 feet. But on the other hand just printed word directions alone would mean if you missed one turn, all the rest after that were just getting you more and more lost. A innovative solution had to be created.
The meat and potatoes: The final solution was an incredibly detailed turn by turn, distance measured and coordinate driven direction sheets were created which was accompanied by a detailed map for reference on the back. And to keep the maps smaller and more detailed, there was a different set of directions and maps for each day's tour. The only problem was, that these maps and turn by turn directions could not be finalized and printed out in advance... not if they were to be as accurate and current as needed for this event. Each route had to be pre-run only a few days prior to the event to ensure the route was what we needed it to be. The data coming back from the returning test drivers would inspire the final last minute changes, alterations and any rerouting that was required. As it turns out, every single route had to be modified and changed to avoid road construction, detours, undesirable road surfaces, excessive traffic, and even to drive around the next day's weather forecasts. That meant each day's maps and directions had to be printed out at the event itself, the night before the next day's cruise. It was this level of detail and effort which made the event seem seamlessly smooth throughout the week, and was well worth it.
The focus on making sure all the details were completed to the best of our ability, even the name tags and credentials were thought out with as many beneficial features included as possible. Such as being sealed in a heavy 20 mil waterproof laminated cover and printed on both sides allowing it to be read even if it flips around. The appearance itself was designed to be easily readable and tastefully designed in appearance that would make participants proud to wear it. While it might have looked simple, it took 3 months to design all those features and get the exact right size, being not too big yet easily readable by only those wanting to read them. And it took another week to fill in all the names and information into each of the nearly 200 tags... all manually, one by one. Simple common white name tags pinned on their shirts would have sufficed, but it would not have added to the grandeur in which every other aspect of this event inspired. It was all coming together, the best ideas, the best location, the best event, the best cars and the best people who would be attending.
I know this all did not have to be done to this level and the participants would have enjoyed the gathering no matter what level it was ultimately taken too, but all of these features put together into one gathering were indeed a huge part of what made this event so different and so special and so unique from anything else before. now, if you were wondering up to this point, let me tell you that I enjoyed every minute of it! And one of the reasons I was able to enjoy it so much, might have been knowing that I would never have to do it again! Or... so I thought.
A huge amount of success this event had was due to a lot of work, an enormous amount of pre planning and a tremendous amount of nurturing needed every step of the way. The rest was just pure luck, coincidence and maybe even chance. I doubt that this level in which this amazing event reached, could ever be replicated exactly the same and most likely would never play out that well again. It was a plan that just all came together, perfectly. And one of the reasons it all came together was the cooperation, dedication and enthusiasm of our guests, the participants, the owners of the Superformance cars.
In retrospect: I have been to Colorado many times before this so I was not concerned about enjoying the roads and high country for myself this time around. Because this time, my real enjoyment was seeing others enjoying what I have been for so many years before this, and particularly those who would be seeing this area for the very first time. Sharing that experience with so many other people was my real dream for this event, and I'm glad to have been given the opportunity to do so. Maybe, just maybe they will come back again on their own. And for me, THAT would be the ultimate success from this event.
With help from my friends, support from the SCOF members, Superformance and the supporting dealers, the Standers and some very enthusiastic Superformance owners and of course the welcoming arms of the people in Colorado... this historic landmark event took place on July 21st, 2013. And what a memorable week it was. So while there may be others, nothing will ever quite be like the very first Superfest 20th anniversary event in 2013. It was amazing.
Superfest Creator & Coordinator