Sunday, January 17, 2021

Trans Iowa Stories; A Prank Entry And Registration Madness - Part 2

The very first post cards for Trans Iowa entry are shown here for v3.
  "Trans Iowa Stories" is an every Sunday post which helps tell the stories behind the event. You can check out other posts about this subject by going back to earlier Sunday posts on this blog. Thanks and enjoy! 

Last week I detailed the background on how the Trans Iowa registration process evolved up to T.I.v11. In this post I will detail how registration impacted the shop where I worked.

One of the unspoken tenets of running the Trans Iowa events was that "Permission was not necessary. Just do it." This wasn't how we started, mind you, but it is what we learned after asking permission to do just about everything we were trying that first time. No one seemed to care, from city governments, to county sheriffs, to the residents- No one seemed to give us any reactions or feedback when we sent notices and stuffed mailboxes with notices regarding our intentions. In fact, it would be fun if anyone happened to save one of those sheets Jeff and I were leaving along the route that first year. I'd love to see that again, but I doubt that chance exists anymore.

So, when it came to doing certain things, we assumed no one was going to want to be bothered with it. Besides, Trans Iowa was a transient event in that it appeared and just as quickly disappeared again. Some things we did, like run registration out of the shop, we just did with no permission as well. Right under the nose of our owner/boss too. He was, ah.......shall we say, not really interested in anyone else getting attention. If it didn't have anything to do with him, it was basically non-existent. Once registration was shown to bring attention to his business, and therefore him, he warmed right up to it and sucked in as much of that as he could. This was how we were able to get away with doing registration through the shop. 

The first time we went the post card route for registration was for version 3 when we were going to have a lottery draw. This meant that many would-be Trans Iowa riders felt that by sending in a sheer volume of entries, there would be a much better chance of getting in. When I say 'volume', I mean 100 to 300 cards per person! It was beyond ridiculous! In the end we whittled every entry down to one card, and then Jeff capitulated and said everyone would get in. Thus we averted a lottery drawing until v12.

The very first T.I. t-shirt from T.I.v4 rider Gary Cale
But initially the lottery idea caused a huge ruckus. When the post cards started rolling in for v3 our mailman was asking questions about the sudden increase in our volume. Sometimes he would have a bag that was holding only Trans Iowa entries because there were so many of them. Once I informed him that we were putting on an event, and what that event was about, he was enthusiastic and supportive. In fact, after that he looked forward to us doing the registration every year. 

As time went on, the cards and the gifts became a sort of an attraction as well, especially the floral arrangements I would be sent. Once I made folks aware that I liked these the number of those types of gifts increased, much to the delight of my boss, coworkers, and our customers. Since this was something that benefited the shop, and brought the owner more attention, it was welcomed and was another reason when things got crazier the owner didn't mind. In fact, he looked forward to it.

Once the window of registration for Trans Iowa would open, whomever was working would look for the mailman and wait to see what was coming in for postcards and gifts. Postcards were often customized, or completely handmade, so the mailman and coworkers would often look at them all before I could file them away and tabulate names and what not for the registration. It was sort of like a Twelve Days of Christmas deal for all at the shop back in those days. 

When folks started dropping off stuff in person that generated even more interest amongst the staff and the owner. This all ended up becoming a highlight of an otherwise dead and dreary time of year in the shop. November was, previous to Trans Iowa, an extremely boring, slow, and low business month. We would be fortunate to see anyone walk through the door. Some days the mailman was the only person we would see through the front door all day in November. So, since I often ran Trans Iowa registration in November, it garnered a lot of attention, probably more so than if I had run the registration in September, or another month when we were busier. 

Some examples of flower and plant gifts sent in for Trans Iowa v8 registration.

Deliveries of overnight letters raised excitement at the shop as well. These were for T.I.v8.

When things went nuts for Trans Iowa v11 registration the coworkers and the owner were astounded by the hustle and bustle created by Trans Iowa's energy. However; as we will learn later, things were way out of hand and the way things had been done for eight years had to come to an end. It was a sad thing for my coworkers and a loss of attention paid to the owner so no one liked what I did, but sometimes hard decisions have to be made for the better of most folks. That's how I saw it in the end. 

Next: An example of some of the crazy stuff received for Trans Iowa registration and a look at some of my favorite post cards that I received will follow the week afterward.

1 comment:

Rydn9ers said...

Finally got all caught up, loving the series, thanks for sharing it all. I didn't realize how many entries there were until the TI "page" came to be, lots of little links.