Merchants of Dirt

Merchants of Dirt

Merchants of Dirt, hosted by Kyle Bondo, is dedicated to helping you start, create, build, and direct outdoor and endurance events. Learn what it takes to build an outdoor events business based on customers who enjoy the challenge of water, trail, mountain bike, adventure, and endurance races. I just might be the inspiration that keeps you outside for the rest of your life!... Show More

Episodes

June 30, 2020
Merchants of Dirt Episode #55

Kyle introduces Event Yak podcast dedicated to talking to event industry veterans who live, eat, and breathe live events.

Introducing: Event Yak

As Race Promoters and Directors trying to keep your Event Business alive during this unprecedented time, you need to find all the help and ideas you can get! Introducing: Event Yak -- a podcast hosted by my good friend Terri Walters from Moonfish Production. T...

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May 4, 2020
Merchants of Dirt Episode #54

Kyle talks about why building a community online with membership content is a better strategy for survival than replacing lost races.

Build a Community

Don't replace your races with a virtual equivalent. Instead, use this time to finally build your community. Spend time in developing online membership offerings that focus on daily, weekly, or monthly challenge content. A loyal following that is in...

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Merchants of Dirt Episode #53

Kyle explores The Lockdown AR-style virtual activity challenge designed by Rootstock Racing and what you can learn from this experimental four-day event.

Race Invention is the Mother of Necessity

Rootstock Racing, based in Philadelphia, PA, is hosting The Lockdown: an AR-style virtual activity challenge designed to bring what they are calling "a little bit of normalcy" to an Adventure Racer'...

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Merchants of Dirt Episode #52

Kyle explores how a virtual event can be organized and ideas for creating your own membership club to survive the shutdown.

Does a Virtual Race in the Woods Make a Sound

The pandemic is not going away anytime soon. So what is a racing company to do? Virtual Events! Explore a virtual event being produced by the Central Virginia Orienteering Club (CVOC) and take a deep dive into what it might mean for y...

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Merchants of Dirt Episode #51

Kyle challenges race promoters to pivot quickly towards asynchronous competition and virtual events if their business is to survive this pandemic.

Keep Racing with Asynchronous Virtual Events

The world has been turned on its head with the pandemic of COVID-19. What is a race promoter to do when every event you direct requires people to be in close proximity to each other? The hard truth is that an even...

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Merchants of Dirt Episode #50

These 50 race direction lessons learned can help you build your roadmap, refine your checklists, or just help you find a place to start.

50 Lessons Learned - The RD Roadmap

Welcome to an information-packed 50th episode of Merchants of Dirt and thank you for listening!

Listen along as I help you take the mystery out of outdoor race direction with 50 lessons learned from being a race director.

After it&#...

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Merchants of Dirt Episode #49

Racing Support Services is an entire industry that exists to make your racing business easier to manage, provide you professional services that you do not have to do yourself, and can free you up to build your business and think up new racing experiences.

Racing Support Services

Look like a professional without any staff by hiring a crew or renting one for a race day. How do you do that? By outsourcing...

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Merchants of Dirt Episode #48

If you invest your time in teaching and encouraging women to become better riders today, you can create an environment that promotes women to try racing for the first time and encourages more women to attend your events.

#1 — Make your sport more appealing to women

This seems like a no-brainer until you sit down to do it. Then you start to struggle with what exactly does “more appealing to women” mean....

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Merchants of Dirt Episode #47

The reason bad crews have worse leaders has everything to do with a race director that hires their friends, allows them to say and do anything they want, and approves of their bad behavior by doing nothing to stop them from ruining their business.

Observation #1

Problem - Deserted Finish Line
Your crew wants to leave early? Tough! All of your crew needs to stay until the end, even if it's all packe...

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Merchants of Dirt Episode #46

Consider how creating spectator friendly events could create new customers while the untapped benefits of having an excited crowd could help your bottom line.

Three Formats to Consider

This episode of Merchants of Dirt is about spectators. Or more specifically, three types of events that make spectating fun:

  • The Relay
  • The Short Track
  • The Intergalactic Pond Crossing
  • In an age where every dollar counts, ...

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    Merchants of Dirt Episode #45

    Your accountability to your customers begins when they arrive at your venue, and only ends when you are certain they have left your venue safely.

    Head Counts Matter

    This episode of Merchants of Dirt is about race director accountability. More importantly, your accountability when it comes to a simple thing like head counts. And if you’re not sure what a head count is, this is the process of knowing how...

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    Merchants of Dirt Episode #44

    Insurance is the minimum financial protection a race director needs to protect themselves, their staff, their volunteers, their business, and their family from other people’s injuries.

    What is Insurance

    Insurance is a contract, represented by a policy, in which an individual or entity receives financial protection or reimbursement against losses from an insurance company.

    Insurance policies are used to...

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    Merchants of Dirt Episode #43

    Collegiate sports clubs can give college kids a platform for racing while serving as your personal laboratory for testing your race direction ideas.

    The Collegiate Club Laboratory

    College Club Sports are their own animals. They can be hard to form and even harder to control. But once you get one off the ground, they can become your very own race direction laboratory. That is if your experiments don’t t...

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    Merchants of Dirt Episode #42

    There are certain levels of outreach where the marketing of each endeavor depends on how much time you have or what kind of impact you want.

    Three Kings of Outreach

    Today I answer listener emails regarding three very unique outreach strategies:

    Paul wants to know if 4-weeks is enough time to effectively market an event that is experiencing low pre-registration online.

    Brian was curious about what my pl...

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    Merchants of Dirt Episode #41

    Jennifer "Jelly" Crawford from The JellyVision Show walks me through the strategies and struggles of directing a conference from the ground up.

    Enter the Jellysode

    Jennifer "Jelly" Crawford from The JellyVision Show is the founder and event director of DC Podfest, a small but scrappy podcasting conference held once a year in Washington, DC.

    Jennifer started DC Podfest in 2015 with a vis...

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    Merchants of Dirt Episode #40

    Don’t be the single point of failure by being the only one with all the gear by building a few gear redundancy strategies into your plans.

    Single Point of Failure (SPOF)

    When someone has all the gear — all the tents, tables, and computers — then you have a single point of failure. In systems architecture, a single point of failure (SPOF) is when a part of a system that, if it fails, will stop the entir...

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    Merchants of Dirt Episode #39

    There are some hidden challenges that hide within the multi-day slogfest that few one-and-done race directors have experienced.

    Directing a Multi-Day Race

    The multi-day race is a special kind of challenge that requires more than one plan, better communications, and hopefully a few hours of sleep. In this episode, I’m going to give you the five (5) takeaways I learned after directing a Multi-Day racing ...

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    Merchants of Dirt Episode #38

    Exploring a new trial on a holiday like Thanksgiving can be very rewarding so long as your plan includes these 7 important tips.

    Tips for Visiting a New Trail
  •  Do some research
  • Bring the right gear
  • Talk to the locals
  • Plan for disaster
  • Take a moment to enjoy the scenery
  • Expect to get turned around
  • Get back before sunset
  • If you have a plan, exploring a new trail solo can be very rewarding.

    Happy Thanksgi...

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    Merchants of Dirt Episode #37

    Break your race out of obscurity by announcing your event at other events using the roadshow concept to get the word out.

    Take Your Race Promotion on the Road

    Did you know your race is a product? Well, it is! Your race is a time sensitive, exclusive product that can only be experienced the one time it is offered. If you miss it, you miss the experience of the product until next year. Maybe there will b...

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    Merchants of Dirt Episode #36

    When you compare your local races to championship races you learn that it's the same plan, course design, and processes, only on a bigger scale.

    Merchants of Dirt Podcast Turns One!

    Merchants of Dirt Podcast released Episode #1 on On October 13th, 2016. It all started after I built Reckoneer.com into a strong blog about off-road race direction and event management. I was looking for another way to ...

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