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Why is there prize money in Amateur Racing?

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Why is there prize money in Amateur Racing?

Old 04-23-07, 11:52 AM
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merlinextraligh
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Why is there prize money in Amateur Racing?

A couple of comments about lousy prize money in another thread, leads to this thread. Why have prize money at all(other than for the Pros)? Surely, no one spends all the money they do for a bike and expenses to race because they are really after the $50 for winning the Cat 3 race at the local crit.

Wouldn't it be better if we simply eliminated prize money, and in turn lowered entry fees? It would help make the sport a little more accessible to more people. And I can't imagine it would decrease the quality of racing. ( Wouldn't you try just as hard to win, even if you're not getting the $50?)

To my understanding other amateur sports don't give prize money. (i.e. running races don't have prize money except at the elite level)

It seems really silly for a bunch of Masters racers, on $7,000 bikes, many with 6 figure incomes, fighting it out for $50.
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Old 04-23-07, 12:02 PM
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I never really gave it much thought before, but I'd rather spend $10-15 on an entry fee and get a medal or something than spend $25 and cash if I won. Particularly since I probably won't be getting cash prizes anytime soon .

But yeah....I see what you're saying, and I agree.
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Old 04-23-07, 12:23 PM
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It's really up to the promoter to do whatever they want and what they think will get them the most riders.

Some races have high entry fees and no cash prizes, some have low entry fees and just t-shirts for prizes. I always thought it was silly awarding $5 or $10 to the lower places in some races.

In races I'm never thinking about the money, but just want to win or place as high as possible. Occasionally winning a little money is nice though, especially on the rare occasion when it's more than my entry fee and gas money.
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Old 04-23-07, 12:23 PM
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agreed.

i ALWAYS hated racing in big purse races back when i was really into racing. too many stupid risks taken (by 20somethings, but half-assed cat 2/3 amateurs such as myself).

i remember a crit i did in upstate CT (iirc) that had a 1K prize for 1st place. I raced the entire crit in the 1st 10 men, but on the last lap it got so hairy that i sat up. guess that's what i get for not growing up hungry.

these days the prize money for the majority of my races is 10€
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Old 04-23-07, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by GuitarWizard
I never really gave it much thought before, but I'd rather spend $10-15 on an entry fee and get a medal or something than spend $25 and cash if I won. Particularly since I probably won't be getting cash prizes anytime soon .

But yeah....I see what you're saying, and I agree.
It would probably be more like paying $20 instead of $25, not $10 to $15. If a race with 50 people pays $200, that's $4/person. I think those are pretty reasonable numbers.
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Old 04-23-07, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Pizza Man
It's really up to the promoter to do whatever they want and what they think will get them the most riders.
and I think that's why races have prize money, even if the prize money is often chump change. For whatever reason, prize money is the historical norm, and if only one promoter didn't offer prize money it might be difficult to attract a field.
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Old 04-23-07, 01:26 PM
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Not that I have ever been, but it seems to me if you are in position to win and you have a choice between racing for $300 dollars or nothing that you would chosse the race that has a $300 prize. So prize money attracts the best riders to the best events.
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Old 04-23-07, 01:28 PM
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I managed a win in the sport class racing mountain bikes this weekend. Won a really cool mug (pottery I guess) with the name of the race / year / class and position finished on it. It's pretty cool. It will last me much longer than $30 or $40 I would have won at a road race.
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Old 04-23-07, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Pizza Man
It's really up to the promoter to do whatever they want and what they think will get them the most riders.

Some races have high entry fees and no cash prizes, some have low entry fees and just t-shirts for prizes. I always thought it was silly awarding $5 or $10 to the lower places in some races.

In races I'm never thinking about the money, but just want to win or place as high as possible. Occasionally winning a little money is nice though, especially on the rare occasion when it's more than my entry fee and gas money.

Well said. Yesterday I took home a whopping $25 and a big container of new sports drink mix to try (prime). I went for the prime because I was trying to get a break going or at least break some sprinter legs, and the $25 was used for a nice 6-pack to enjoy on the deck with the family in the evening, and lunch today, but it had no bearing on how much I was trying in the race.
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Old 04-23-07, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by LowCel
I managed a win in the sport class racing mountain bikes this weekend. Won a really cool mug (pottery I guess) with the name of the race / year / class and position finished on it. It's pretty cool. It will last me much longer than $30 or $40 I would have won at a road race.
i think i know what you mean. at one of the best races of my 1st career as a racer, i finished 2nd (it was a pro/1/2/3 and i was a 3).

the year before i was 3rd in the same race and got a trophy, which is what i wanted. i 'only' got 250$, which was nice, but i wanted that damn trophy.
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Old 04-23-07, 02:00 PM
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I'll be in only my second race this weekend, but it seems to me that real motivation would be good practical prizes. Maybe there could be a table of prizes like new pedals or wheels or something, the 1st place rider gets first choice, second place gets second choice, etc.

Even for Cat 1/2/3, it seems that the cash really just goes to future races or bike maintenance. I would love to make some money racing, but from what I hear, that will likely never happen.

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Old 04-23-07, 02:05 PM
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I'm not sure that dumping prize money would change anything. Whether it's for money or a box of expired GU packets, some people just lose perspective in races and suddenly are willing to endanger everyone around them for prizes that just aren't worth it. It's supposed to be fun. I've honestly never even paid attention to how many places pay out--I just try to race a good, smart, safe race each time and not take any stupid risks.
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Old 04-23-07, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by djembob02
I'll be in only 5 second race this weekend, but it seems to me that real motivation would be good practical prizes. Maybe there could be a table of prizes like new pedals or wheels or something, the 1st place rider gets first choice, second place gets second choice, etc.

Even for Cat 1/2/3, it seems that the cash really just goes to future races or bike maintenance. I would love to make some money racing, but from what I hear, that will likely never happen.
The primary sponsor of the team I race on is an LBS. We've tried having merchandise prizes, but it's difficult ... if you offer tires or tubes or something similar, then they often arent the prefered brand, can I have something different. Jerseys or something like that - heck everyone has too many jerseys as it is. Things like pedals or wheels are too friggen expensive for worthwhile models to use as prize money, and again, you end up with a bunch of stuff that the folks who win might not use. To give gift certificates mitigates the ability of the LBS to use their suppliers for better pricing on merchandise for prizes, so to offer those just results in giving away money. We've concluded that cash is just the easiest way to have a prize list for folks who do well, but our race is the district road race championships, people want to win that regardless of how much cash or schwag we would/could give away.
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Old 04-23-07, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by djembob02
I'll be in only my second race this weekend, but it seems to me that real motivation would be good practical prizes. Maybe there could be a table of prizes like new pedals or wheels or something, the 1st place rider gets first choice, second place gets second choice, etc.
That is how most of the mountain bike races do around here. The pro / expert class gets cash. The rest of us get to pick from the prize table. At a couple of races there are really nice prizes, however at most of them they seem to have items that the shops were having trouble selling. I honestly couldn't even begin to tell you how many camelbaks I have won.

You would be suprised at how many prizes I have won just to hand them over to someone that I know.
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Old 04-23-07, 03:18 PM
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Great question, I have asked it myself - many factors in the answer, most of which have been covered above. We are a two day three race stage race. Last year 380 entrants. Budget about $36,000, purse $8,000. Entry fee last year was $60 which included a post race BBQ and T-shirt. Our highest cash prize is $400 and lowest is $50 and total munber of cash prizes is 81. So at a minimum that rewards one in five racers to travel to our rather remote location to race. The bottom line in our race is that if you did away with all the prizes it would lower the entry fee by $20. Remainder of income came from merchants, sale of t-shirts etc. Expenses are too numerous to cover (as an example of the little things - we spend $1,000 on bottles to hand out at the feedzones), but we do have some money left over each year which goes for things like a kids bike skills clinic, free helmets for kids etc through the local bike club
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Old 04-23-07, 04:36 PM
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To see what racing is like with no prizes, just look at collegiate racing. In the As, these races are at least as aggressive as USCF events, and there's no cash on the line. Prizes really are a race promotion necessity - I just thought that a token amount, i.e. first basically paying out the entry fee, is a little silly. The fun of the race and getting results really are much more valuable than a little cash. I shouldn't complain.
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Old 04-23-07, 04:45 PM
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Well, here's a different take: I'd rather have a few extra bucks than the trophy, unless it's for a win, and even then it would depend on the race.

When I quit motorcycle racing I had probably close to 70 trophies and plaques. I ended up keeping one or two that really meant something to me and donating the rest to the local Boys/Girls club (they can just get the tops and plates switched and save 80% of the cost per trophy). I'm just not a trophy room person.

It's also kinda hard to split up a trophy with your teammates, or pool them to pay for lunch or dinner.
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Old 04-23-07, 04:56 PM
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Just to throw out there:

Cat 3 purse for GC is $1550 and $360 for a stage win.

Last season, I pulled $142 from a two day stage race. Paid for hotel and gas.
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Old 04-23-07, 05:10 PM
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guess this debate really breaks down between the subsidizers and the subsidized.
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Old 04-23-07, 05:25 PM
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I was actually thinking about that this weekend, because the Conquer the Canyons race had prize money in multiple categories. I figure it just gives people a reason to duke it out at the finish line, or maybe even to justify their obsessive participation to their spouses/friends/family. It's like betting $50 on a sports game or playing poker for chump change. It just makes things more interesting.

It could also be a competition between other events as well. If someone wants to race a certain weekend and has a choice between race X and race Y, the words "$5,000 cash purse!" might make the decision for him/her.
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Old 04-23-07, 10:47 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
guess this debate really breaks down between the subsidizers and the subsidized.
Or between the people who've already won 70 trophies (Vino!) and the people with none (me ).

Although I'm pretty sure all of my races (Cat4, lowest ACA Cat) this year don't have cash prizes, so the cash vs. non-cash debate is kind of moot for me in the forseeable future.
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Old 04-24-07, 12:58 PM
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In the Cat5 race I did this weekend I got 2nd, I didn't even realize there was a prize until an hour later my teamate asked what I won. I went to the table and I got a medal, 2 bontrager race lite tires, 2 tubes, 2 water bottles and a $20 gift cert to the LBS who sponsored the race. I was pleased with that.

In the Cat4 race, my teamate won and he got $50 plus a set of bontrager select(I think) wheels. I thought that was pretty cool even though the wheels aren't great. He can just sell them or use them for the winter.
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Old 04-24-07, 01:43 PM
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After my winter cyclocross season I was up $8.00 Thats after hotel, gas food ect...

I like prize money because trophies for me just take up space and collect dust. I did win a spotted jersey and framed it once, that was kind of nice but it's also kind of nice to buy your team mates dinner or help reduce the costs of your already expensive hobby. As far as making money racing fugetaboutit.

I too though don't think it matters what kind of money is on the line. It's all about good competition and trying to advance.
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Old 04-24-07, 02:24 PM
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As a former track race promoter i have seen the ugly side of Cat 3/4 riders *****ing about not getting at least $5-10 for a Thurs night race with fields of 5-10 guys TOTAL and no paid spectators because they all whined if their mom/gf/roommate didn't get in free. I say if you're not a pro 1/2 you need to STFU.

I have been cornered by 4-5 women racers who wondered why they got nothing for doing something they supposedly did for fun anyway. Their argument was their entry fee essentially paid their prize list. The reality was their $10 entry fee didn't even cover the race sanction fee and cost of officials. SPECTATORS cover your entry so next time you want to know why you're racing for free have a look at the people in the stands (all five of them) who didn't pay anything to be there.

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Old 04-24-07, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Dial_tone
As a former track race promoter i have seen the ugly side of Cat 3/4 riders *****ing about not getting at least $5-10 for a Thurs night race with fields of 5-10 guys TOTAL and no paid spectators because they all whined if their mom/gf/roommate didn't get in free. I say if you're not a pro 1/2 you need to STFU.
I have been cornered by 4-5 women racers who wondered why they got nothing for doing something they supposedly did for fun anyway. Their argument was their entry fee essentially paid their prize list. The reality was their entry fee didn't even cover the race sanction fee and cost of officials. SPECTATORS cover your entry so next time you want to know why you're racing for free have a look in the stands at all the people who didn't pay anything to be there.
I agree, I am not racing my bike for money, it's for competition and fun. I am grateful there are enough good races within an hours drive for me to race. $25-$30 for a race everyweekend sometimes twice in a weekend is not bad, I would spend 3 or 4 times that easily on a friday or saturday night at the bar before I started running and riding.
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