By the time you’re reading this, I’ll be knee deep into speed dating. Let me explain.
I’ve spoken of this before, but… Each year, the Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC); an arm of SEMA; holds their annual Media Trade Conference. It’s here where members of the media; editors, writers, etc.; are invited to attend a conference held at the Embassy Suites hotel in Santa Ana, CA. Member manufacturers rent a hotel room and set up a display of their products after which the media is invited to “visit” each company and discuss editorial projects. Actually, it’s like going to back school.
As a member of the media, you’re given a choice as to which company you’d like to meet with. Obviously, I don’t have much interest in meeting with a company who might have little to offer our readers, or who might not have anything related to drag racing. It might be nice to meet with them anyway to see what they do offer, but time is limited. Starting at 9:00 in the morning, the day is split up into half-hour segments. Spend quality one-on-one time with a manufacturer and a bell is rung for you to move onto the next “class.” Speed dating, motorsports style. It’s actually a very productive time because while you’re meeting, no one else is clamoring for that person’s attention. It’s only you, at which time we discuss any new products the company has along with how they fit into our editorial schedule for the coming year.
I’ve been attending for a long time now and in fact was awarded the Robert E. Peterson Media Award “all the way back” in 2014. Seems like only yesterday and I’m very proud of that award, sitting right up there on my shelves next to the Wallys. It means a lot to me because it’s voted on my each of the manufacturers for assisting them in their editorial efforts.
This year’s recipient was a gentleman I worked a little with when I ran Drag Racing Scene. Like a lot of us, Jeff Huneycutt has been in the editorial world for quite some time with certainly has the knowledge and understanding of getting his point across in print.
Of course though, one of the nominees for the award was Competition Plus.com’s Bobby Bennett and while I respect each of the nominees, Bobby may have been my personal favorite. With the work ethic he has, he will be going home with the crystal ball award one year. I’m certain of that.
Sometimes I feel a little guilty going each year and maybe taking up time from some manufacturers but in this day and age there are few times when you get a chance to sit down with people and discuss things. In general, I’m lucky I get to see a lot of the manufacturers at the races, but often it’s just in passing without the chance to really talk. The MPMC Media Trade Conference is always on my schedule and forgetting the many story ideas we get out of them, it’s a great time of networking.
In addition to discussing editorial ideas, I also get a chance to discuss the state of the sport as a whole, with most stating business has been up in most all sectors of motorsports. The bottom line is the sport of drag racing is healthy for any number of reasons, even some no one seems to be able to put their finger on. Whatever the reason, we’re all glad to hear it.