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NSR Congratulations and Feedback

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NSR Congratulations and Feedback

Postby Nic1234 » Mon Mar 07, 2016 11:43 am

All,

A massive well done on a brilliant Rodeo. This was my first year not on a radio, so I have no idea of any inevitable behind the scenes stresses that went on (and I'm sure, as always, there was plenty), but as an observer from the outside it seemed incredibly smooth! Events ran well, and on time, lots of sponsors present, great atmosphere and a a punctual prizegiving... seemed good to me! The Rodeo is such an incredible event as it is run by students, and for students, so really, really well done, I know from experience it is exhausting!

I found it so refreshing to be back around kayakers this weekend - such an optimistic, enthusiastic and positive group of people! Today at work has been a come down - major post rodeo blues, and my voice is completely non - existent which makes teaching a noisy class of Year 8 challenging!

As always, we reflect backwards to move forwards, so I really encourage people to give constructive feedback as well as the much deserved praise and congratulations - I'll have a think of any thing I might have to add in this respect, for now, a massive, massive well done!

Nic Underhill
(ex, ex, ex, ex, ex Rodeo Boss!)
"you must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find eternity in each moment" Henry David Thoreau

RIP Emily, always in my heart x
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Re: NSR Congratulations and Feedback

Postby oldwill » Mon Mar 07, 2016 12:34 pm

hi all

hope it all went well, sounds from Nic's post above that it did!

Make sure you use this thread to capture stuff for next year that you could change

One thing that came up when I saw Simon on Friday lunchtime was the cost of hiring a stinky ditch in Nottingham having increased dramatically - I'm really worried about this. We need to have discussions with Serco sooner rather than later as this could affect the long term future of the event.

Have next year's bosses been appointed? If so, would be good to have a chat about this - keen to help.

cheers

oldwill

(ex-ex-don't know how many ex-s but it's a lot - ex- rodeo boss)
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Re: NSR Congratulations and Feedback

Postby Nic1234 » Mon Mar 07, 2016 4:14 pm

I think it could be useful to set up some sort of 'Friends of NSR' group in order to support with this. There are loads of people with experience of different areas that could be useful in negotiating this, and various people who may look to have 'clout' when it comes to putting the pressure on. One of the amazing things about NSR is that different people organise it each year, and generations of students have gained really useful experience from it (I referenced NSR in an interview just the other week!) but it also makes it really tricky when these big issues crop up every now and then.

I know there was a proposal for an amendment to the constitution regarding the size of the rodeo committee, and having non students on it... even if it isn't in the constitution there is no reason this can't happen informally. The most important thing is that the rodeo continues to happen, this weekend has confirmed to me what an utterly phenomenal event it is, and it would be a damn shame if the course throwing their weight around could threaten this.

I reckon we get someone there next weekend counting just how much rafting business they are getting on a cold weekend in March...
"you must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find eternity in each moment" Henry David Thoreau

RIP Emily, always in my heart x
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Re: NSR Congratulations and Feedback

Postby Pyro » Mon Mar 07, 2016 7:06 pm

What those two up there said...
"Sometimes you dig your own."
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Re: NSR Congratulations and Feedback

Postby oldwill » Tue Mar 08, 2016 9:51 am

I know there was a proposal for an amendment to the constitution regarding the size of the rodeo committee, and having non students on it... even if it isn't in the constitution there is no reason this can't happen informally. The most important thing is that the rodeo continues to happen, this weekend has confirmed to me what an utterly phenomenal event it is, and it would be a damn shame if the course throwing their weight around could threaten this.



I've suggested in the past we should create some sort of formal organisation (that is ultimately controlled by LUUCC) to manage NSR. This would allow stronger negotiating on the commercial side, and give the Bosses freedom to focus on the actual event planning and execution.

I also hear that Extreme Events have called their last rodeo - another thing that will need to be planned ASAP

Having worked professionally as a raft guide (at Tryweryn) I can tell you there is no way they are making the sort of revenue they are claiming on the first weekend in March!!

Committee - when is your next meeting? Are you up for having an old man gatecrash it for a chat?!!
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Re: NSR Congratulations and Feedback

Postby Canavan » Tue Mar 08, 2016 11:02 am

I think I remember having a chat with Struan (new boss) and a River Legacy chap about having a meeting (but I won't lie, I wasn't sober at the time) and I think it was discussed that the bosses want a big meeting with as many bosses as possible to discuss ideas and solutions etc. And then a smaller number speaking to river legacy and possible Serco about the future. So there are cogs in motion and I'm sure Struan and Beth (new bosses) will be getting on top the event as soon as they have recovered from this one.

Also I'm terms on feedback, did the medical forms have somewhere to write down and existing conditions or allergies? I don't remember it on the form but I did fill it in very quickly.

Finally the infamous Nottingham local, Ms Dianye Walker, has not acknowledge us this year. Clearly too busy fighting the establishment and calling people peadophiles to deal with a bunch of immature students whom like vomiting in people's bushes.

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Re: NSR Congratulations and Feedback

Postby Laurent's Bitch » Tue Mar 08, 2016 11:18 am

I have felt for the last couple of years that litter on the course has let us down.

For members of the public this is not a good impression to get of our sport.

So bin bags on all the posts next year please.
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Re: NSR Congratulations and Feedback

Postby Gilo » Tue Mar 08, 2016 1:12 pm

One suggestion I've heard (please step up and claim your idea!) is that we have a gazebo of our own on the hillside of the course as some of the sponsors and other unis do. As we don't always get lucky with the weather having some extra shelter from the elements could be very welcome. And that's something that we should buy on the rodeo account rather than hiring it, perhaps get it NSR branded while we're at it? Speaking of which, maybe the NSR could use a brand - a generic brand / logo that we can use every year regardless of the theme (slash re-render every year in a new theme). I believe it was Andy who suggested buying some festival flags like the tall ones Palm and Dagger have to add to the atmosphere, that would go hand in hand with a bit of a branding effort. Maybe the odd Leeds flag too?

There's also been a suggestion that as things are now running smoothly from one event to the next through the day that maybe we don't need to start so early in the day. Whether this gets a few more people on the water in the morning or not would probably also be affected by the party, and if more people do get on the water after then we have to allow for that. I'd hate to think, and I'm sure I'm not alone in this, that the numbers on the water are dropping because the party has become so big that it's become the most important part of the weekend and everyone's too, erm, 'tired' to compete.

Concerning the price escalator we've apparently been put on by Serco, I would like to think that they'd plough that money into improving the facilities on the site instead of fluffing up their profit margin. The tech hut is ready to be carted off to the scrapyard, right alongside the giant scoreboard that's controlled from the brick DJ building opposite. And employing some poor schmuck to extract parking tokens from people at the entrance to the site, having lengthy negotiations with every car that goes through because it's more than his job's worth to not collect his shiny precious is a cynical commercial exercise at best and adds no value to the facility.
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Re: NSR Congratulations and Feedback

Postby Pyro » Tue Mar 08, 2016 2:24 pm

I'm going to mix and match the good and the bad stuff. To add the standard disclaimer, nothing here is aimed at any person or group of persons in specific, so please don't take offence anyone.

Good: A lot ran pretty smoothly this year. There didn't seem to be any noticeable scrambling between events, most things ran pretty much on schedule, I know Giles and the Techies seemed to be very on the ball and ahead of the game when I popped my head in a couple of times.

Bad: I didn't see heats in all of the categories, but in Women's Inter there seemed to be no definition as to when heats began and ended, who was in what etc. People just seemed to turn up and paddle, and I know Beth & Kate's heat seemed to end very quickly when the judges just got up and started walking off.

Good: I didn't hear a single complaint from the Safety guys about feeding or watering. A few mumbles of "If another cuppa appeared I wouldn't say no", but never "Where the hell is the food/drink?!". We've had difficulties with the toastie supply since we were forced to move that offsite, but everyone seems to be managing the situation really well.

Bad: Rob J's already mentioned rubbish on course. The plastic mugs bought a few years ago only seemed to get put into circulation on Sunday - the first year we had those we used 1,000 less paper cups. Heavy duty bin bags, taped to posts and cleared when they need to be, would be perfect, but also we need to minimise the amount of stuff going out there. We can't necessarily account for other uni's crap, but we can police our own easily enough.

Good: We had a handful of incidents on the course, the girl with the knackered knee being the biggest, and all were dealt with quietly and professionally. Most people only knew about that when the big blue flashing bandage wagon appeared. There was a minor miscommunication on the radio with that (partially my bad, sorry!) but otherwise, it was dealt with calmly, out of the way and out of any fuss. That's how it should be.

Bad: When said big blue flashing bandage wagon appeared, we had a minor scramble to remove vehicles blocking the evac route. We deliberately left the Safety teams cars at the bottom of the hill on the lakeside to avoid clogging up the hill, but other than for rig and de-rig, there was no need for the vehicles parked on the gravel to be there. Everyone loves the convenience, but the lakeside area is a minute's gentle stroll downhill. That could be better policed next year. Midlands Ambulance Service getting themselves bogged down is entirely their own fault, though.


My big observation/criticism, and I've said this to some people already: This year was the lowest attendance we've ever had from LUUCC.

Whether you tag that down to price, communication, clashes with other stuff, whatever, but as the organisers, we should have nearly everyone there. We've only won boats in the past because we got a lot of people to the event and put a lot of them onto the water. NSR needs to feel like a "must do" weekend, like the Lakes and Tyne Tour, not just a "here's this thing we do, maybe think about coming?". LUUCC are the lifeblood of NSR; the organisers, the staff, the cogs in the wheel. But those cogs need to feel like they've got a personal investment in the event, not just an vague expectation that they'll turn up and do stuff. ANY ticket price is going to feel like a lot of money if you don't know what the event is, yet you're being expected to work on it all weekend. The club are a massive, integral part of the NSR, and we need to make sure they definitely feel that way, not just like a bunch of lackies.

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Re: NSR Congratulations and Feedback

Postby KirstyS » Wed Mar 09, 2016 10:57 am

I agree that rubbish always seems to be an issue. The clear up afterwards seemed to be pretty quick this year but I think rubbish bags around the course is a good idea as it will hopefully prevent a lot of the littering.

Having the toasties offsite always makes it difficult to get a constant supply. I heard a few reports of people that had not been fed but other than that there didn't seem to be too many complaints. I think most of these were chased up. I tried to be in some sort of contact with the toastie team (via phone) but it was often difficult to work out who was down there doing stuff (and answering phones can sometimes be difficult) so I don't know whether it would be useful to have them on the radio (even if it's a different channel ) so there is more direct communication with the team down at the rugby hut and their progress. I seemed to be constantly walking round the course and tried to check in on safety but in hindsight I could have done this more periodically.

There seemed to be much less faff with the scoring system this year which i think helped things run more smoothly.

I think the cost thing has been covered by other people and hopefully having some sort of extended group of people / friends of NSR group will help address this. I don't think we can afford for the price to go up any more as it just won't be viable as a student event.
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Re: NSR Congratulations and Feedback

Postby Robbing » Wed Mar 09, 2016 6:53 pm

I think Andy makes a good point with the medical forms. I can't remember seeing anything about allergies and the like either?

To save a ton of printing and faff at registration, could you get uni clubs to fill out the forms before turning up to the event?

I think Giles suggestion about a gazebo is grand. I was thinking about making a similar suggestion this year. When it briefly rained i noticed that a lot of people disappeared off the course but the only ones who stayed found shelter under a sponsors gazebo or their uni's gazebo. If people are supposed to be helping out, it would be a good idea to make them want to stay on the course. I also think some form of shelter should be provided to the judges/scribes.


With a response to a couple of things that Carrick said, I was in a team who didn't receive a drink until lunch time on Sunday and we had only received one toastie until mid afternoon. I know that the toastie team were trying their hardest but it's not perfect. Will's bike seemed to do a great job at running Rashmi between the course and the rugby club. Would it be worthwhile to get an NSR bicycle with a trailer or a tricycle, where the toastie team can run toasties and large containers of water between the rugby club/where ever and the course efficiently with minimal effort? It might help speed up the whole process. Obviously the bicycle/tricycle could be used to move over things around where a motor vehicle is a bit of an over kill or can't be used for one reason or another.

Secondly, the length of the women's intermediate was decided by the judges literally moments before it started. It seemed an arbitrary period was chosen out of the air. I was in the safety team that manned the event - one of the judges discussed it with a couple of the members of safety.

I also agree with Carrick about the number of people who came to NSR. It seems shocking that we had less than 30 people. Previous years that i've been, we've had 50 people minimum! Since we have to volunteer, more people means that the work load across everyone is lowered and everyone can enjoy the weekend a lot more! Not to mention that it's generally more fun because there are more of us! I hope this years NSR bosses go absolutely mental on trying to promote the event within LUUCC. In the past, we've had an NSR film to attempt to get people hyped.


Friday night food was awful. Everyone who i spoke to said that what ever River Legacy claimed to be a burger, was god awful. I saw a number of people who only ate half of the burger and gave the rest away or threw it in the bin. They were cold, very minimal, and was tough. Which is strange because Friday night food has never been an issue in the past few years.

On the flip side, i think that Saturday night food is probably the best i've experienced. It was delivered very very quickly! And whilst the actual spaghetti bolognese was a little bland, the garlic bread and muffin definitely made up for it. But that could just be fixed by adding more herbs, spices, general flavouring. I also thought that this year's food is the most filling i've experienced too.


I was speaking to one university, and they stated that they were camping in the spot that they do every year and they swapped with another university. I don't know whether that was agreed or forced. Maybe universities could be contacted before a camping plan is made to ask where they always camp? This might help to keep universities where they've been assigned and to stop any confusing/faff/disagreements on Friday evening. New universities to the event will have to go where there is space, likelihood is that not many students will attend from their university.
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Re: NSR Congratulations and Feedback

Postby Nic1234 » Fri Mar 11, 2016 8:30 am

A rodeo bike might be a bit excessive bearing in mind the cost challenges we have facing us next year - maybe we just borrow a kiddy trailer from someone for the weekend that can be used to tow food behind the bike of any member of the club - you're welcome to my commuter bike.

I vaguely remember we did medical forms etc beforehand - the idea being that we sent them out to clubs and got them to print and bring with them. There were of course always people who forgot but it did speed things up.

A gazebo is a great idea, but again cost is a consideration - we need to be careful to be building up financial reserves.

A couple of suggestions -

Could there be a permanent radio at key judging points? At times during my 4 hour stint at the inlet gate on Sunday we needed to find something out, and megaphoning the crowd to find someone from Leeds wasn't always practical.

I think there needs to be greater incentives for getting on the water Sunday morning - or more aggressive wake up calls ... Katy and I sat for 1 hour and saw 2 competitors, and had to send one of them to try and recruit more people for a heat. Its not a massive issue, but for novice heats the comedy comes in the mass approach, so it seemed unfair on those in the early heats.

Duos - is there any benefit to having the races? There were discussions amongst judges that the ability to get quickly down the course has little bearing on your ability to pop out entertainingly. Could we not just have heats and fewer people go through to the final? I know its always been done this way, just a little unsure as to why!

Again I'll repeat the comment already made about numbers of LUUCC - we need far more there, never mind from an organisational perspective but to have a chance at winning something! I have no idea how it was sold so can't comment on that, but rumour has it the club is at a real strong point in terms of membership and committee strength (well done!) and so lets have a real push on recruiting to the event next year. A film night can be a really good way to build excitement - could you get some guest speakers in as well to make a real night of it. There are some big names in kayaking who bloody love the rodeo, showing the film alongside a talk by someone inspirational who also advocates the event early in the year could really build excitement.

Sorry if this post seems negative, I said most of my positives in my initial post! It was a fantastic event, and god knows how it was so bloody good when you were on a limited team size, so again, a really big well done!! A big shout out to the tech team - who appear to have run an incredibly tight ship this year! I've been living on a post rodeo buzz all week at work and even went kayaking in a cold wet dark ditch in Teeside on Wednesday night after work, so you must have inspired me!

Well done all and lets continue the efforts to keep this as the biggest and best kayaking event in the world!
"you must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find eternity in each moment" Henry David Thoreau

RIP Emily, always in my heart x
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Re: NSR Congratulations and Feedback

Postby tjclare » Fri Mar 11, 2016 6:36 pm

Hey guys, just wanted to offer an external perspective, I am at Nottingham, and you may have seen me over the weekend wandering around with my camera.

To start, it all seemed to run nice and smoothly during the days, which is nice! Thank you for all of your hard work on organizing and executing the event.

A few things that I thing could be done to improve:

- More provision of places to put litter. a stinky ditch in Nottingham is woeful for bins at the best of times, lobbing that many students on makes it awful. There is plenty of Pole dancing poles, light poles etc that could have bin bags taped to them.

- A more accessible "NSR Presence" on the course. Maybe a marquee or something up on the flat by inlet, but it can really feel very tribal at times down the course with all the unis split off - something where they can mix more/maybe coord with legacy/serco to get some kind of hot drinks etc thing going on.

- Uni camping location map. Good idea, but caused a bit of angst when it was found out about. Now that it is known about, I'm sure people will deal with it in future.

As regards the serco price increases, I work at the center as a photographer and can tell you that their rafting "estimates" for course hire are utter rubbish. They assume a full day of summer rafting (4x8 rafts) in their calculations. On a winter weekend there might be 3 or 4 rafts in a day, if they are lucky... They are still trying to claw back what they had to outlay last year repairing the course I think, as there has been general price rises (plus the utterly stupid barriers). I think they see you guys as a relatively easy one to bump up the prices on as unlike BC/HPPCC their contact with you changes year on year. If some kind of more fixed arrangement could be set up (possibly with legacy?) I feel you would have a much stronger position. If your folks have any queries about course stuff, drop me a message on FB.


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