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56 West Main St.
Norwich, NY 13815

Quarterly Strike Newsletter Volume 14

Sun Screen

Protect yourself, period! The effects of the sun are the single greatest hazard to this business. Be sure to bring sun screen lotion, hat, umbrella and I recommend a towel to cover your legs while sitting. And don't be fooled by cool days. My girlfriendran the booth one day in May that was actually very cold but the sun was out all day. I have never seen someone so dangerously fried as she was after 8 hours on that mild May day. Keep your customers in mind as well. Many of you know that I often offer beverages like Snapple or Gatorade as outdoor summer prizes at the booth. having plenty of cool refreshments is a welcome prize and important for you as well to prevent dehydration.

Rain Screen

Rain can't really hurt you but it's important to protect your expensive equipment. At some events that are very crowded, customers will pitch in light drizzle so it's good to have a plastic bag to place over the gun and a clear plastic bag if you have a large display. A towel come is handy to dry off wet baseballs. Puddles on uneven pavement or soggy flooded and muddy grounds will keep people away even after the rain stops so consider having a broom available to sweep away problem spots.

By Example

My home region, Chenango County in Upstate New York is a collection of sleepy villages around one small City. The total county population is probably under 20,000. So, how come between my home town of Sherburne and the county seat of Norwich there's so much summer work for this pitching booth stuff. Below I am going to outline a summer full of actual events all within a 15 mile radius of my home in a non large city environment.

Memorial Weekend Auto & Antique show - County Fairgrounds - Norwich, NY fee-$100

I've usually done Soccer Tournaments this weekend but I took this year off and attended the county auto show. Along with a full field of antique cars there was a tremendous amount of antique and craft vendors. the pitching booth would have been the only game concession. This event easily brings in over 8,000. The only down side for me would be no real order to the vendor space. I like knowing the pattern of the crowds. I'd say the income potential is between $350 and $500.

Pageant of Bands - June 7th - High School Lot - Sherburne, NY fee-$100

Great event I do every year. About 20,000 people watch the marching band competition through town and then go to the field competition at the highschool. I'm set up with other food & flea market vendors at the high school parking lot. There are kids in droves from the moment I arrive at 9am until my day ends at 4pm. I've never made less than $500.

Chenango County Air Show - June 14th - County Air Field - Norwich, NY fee-$50

I attempted to attend last year but it rained. Along with the air show activities there's a vendor strip. again no competition except the Orbitron ride. The attendance is usually around 5,000. I'd estimate making around $250 for about 6 hours work.

July 4th Activities - July 3rd & 4th - County Fair Grounds - Norwich, NY fee-$100

There are 2 days of carnival rides and vendors along with the big fireworks display on the 4th. This is pretty much a mini version of our county fair. On the 3rd I usually make around $100 and on the 4th it's slow until evening then I'm cranking. I expect top walk away with between $400 & $500.

Gus Macker 3 on 3 basketball - July 12th & 13th - Downtown Streets - Norwich, NY fee-$75

City streets are closed off and numerous basketball courts are set up to accomodate this street basketball tournament. I have not set up at this event due to my schedule but there are vendors in the downtown parks and tons of people including athletic types with nothing to do between games.

Chenango County Fair - August 5th - 10th -County Fair Grounds - Norwich, NY fee-$150

I'm sure you all have been to a county fair. the rides, the food, the entertainment... the hours! Yes, if you work a county fair it's usually 10 hour days with lots of peaks and valleys. Many factors contribute to the success of the county fair and location & weather seem to be big ones. At my best, I've made $1,500... definitely worth it. For $150 over 6 days, who can go wrong.

St. Bart's Summer Carnival - August 21st - 23rd- St. Bart's Parking Lot - Norwich, NY fee-$150

The local Catholic Church annually hires the services of a small midway company to hold a carnival on their grounds. This tends to be more of an event for families with younger children and it's difficult when the little ones have to divide their limited funds between rides and the other midway games. However, even at $1 for 3 trys you can make some decent weekend spending cash.

There are of course a host of craft fairs, flea markets, small festivals and pleanty of sports leagues to keep me busy locally if traveling is not my style.

Personality Profiles

... beyond the norm, look out for 'em!


The "I threw 90 last year" Profile

Expect this person to in no way resemble Randy Johnson. They tend to be over weight or simply of non athletic stature. They either travel in large groups (with girls that are atleast 5 years younger) or are loaner types trying to impress me. Surprisingly, most accept their eventual below expectations speeds yet will of course attribute it to their time off from this activity. A few can get hot headed and blame a faulty gun. I actually enjoy this accusation because I'll pull out my trusty tuning fork which tells me exactly how accurate the gun is. Those that can accept their slow speeds tend to pitch again.

The "I've gotta beat that score" Profile

Smells like money here! I must admit it is agonizing to watch some kids try as hard as they can yet always come up 1 or 2 MPH short of the record. They also have a tendency to get stuck on a numbers like 59, 69 or 79. They'll play again and again yet they just can't get to there. Be sure to duck out on a bathroom break if their parents are coming because they'll want to know where all their kids money went! these of course are the cousins of the "I've gotta win that prize" profiles.

The "Must I do this" Profile

Girl friend prodding tends get these types up to pitch. There are no in-betwens here; either they pitch really fast or really slow. The female motivations vary as well; they either want their guy to impress or make a fool of himself. What's great here is that the tables get turned and the guy eventually makes the girl pitch.

The "I feel stupid doing this" Profile

Again, either prodded or the curiosity is just killing them. They tend to be as indecisive as Emelda Marcos picking out a pair of shoes for dinner. 75% of your female participants fall in this category. They usually will wait until a slow down in customers to pitch. I've actually had to make spectators turn their heads so not to bother the embarrassed participant.

The "Let me pitch for free" Profile

Smart ass kids at the booth...No can't be, of course I jest. They usually have great reason to want a free pitch. They seriously tell me they want get a free pitch only so they can see how fast they can throw. Now, I guess that's opposed to the other reason people pitch which I guess is that they are concerned I may not make my car payment this month and they are simply donating money to my cause. Can anyone guess if these types actually get free pitches from me?

The "NO!!!!" Parent Profile

I'm customer-less at the time and little Jimmy wants to pitch. A quick yank on the arm and firm "NO" bellows from the disgruntle parent. He gives no reason to not let Jimmy pitch but for some reason, a customer-less booth seems to imply this is a colossal waste of money. Fortunately, Jimmy and parents come strolling bye later when the booth is in action. For some reason daddy has lost his leverage. It makes no real parenting sense but it's now Okay for Jimmy to pitch. It's like clock work!

The "??????" Profile

What can drive you crazy about this type is that it's mostly spectators not paying customers. Question after question or tales of their great sports memories. "I really don't know what the fastest pitch ever recorded was or who's better, Sandy Koufax or Vida Blue." "I'm sure you did have a great arm in your day and it is a shame a hang nail prevented you from pitching in the Yankee's farm system." "Yes, I get to keep most of this money and this was my idea" "Thank you, I think I'm smart too."

Just a personal note:

I'm having a bit of fun here! It's easy to get sarcastic about some of your customers but I'm grateful to all of them, well, most of them. Please realize the importance of respecting all who play at your booth.

from the files of... You Never Know!

Turn That Car Loan Into cash

Okay, it's a stretch but follow me on this one. Last May I bought a sport utility vehicle which can easily transport my booth equipment (note: most cars can carry the equipment as well) About a week later I get a call from the loan officer who processed my application. Oh no, not loan problems, I've got great credit. Actually it turns out he was reading my employment description on my application and happens to be involved with the local baseball teams.

Since our talk last year they have currently ran 3 Pitch-A-Thons, rented the booth for a local fair and invited me down to run the booth at their league championship game. Now this is a work relationship that will probably continue as long as I run this business or convince them they can make more money by buying a booth. Either way, you just never know.

What's funny about this is that we all have to fill out applications for credit, medical and a host of other purposes and I still have not come up with a specific description of my business. Plus I always get a little hitch when I have to describe it over the phone. None the less, any time you have an opportunity to make mention of your pitching booth, do it up proper. Just as there is a great curiosity for people to pitch, the mere description of this business is bound to solicit a response. When people start asking you questions, the opportunity opens up to solicit them about any places you can generate business. So, apply for all the credit cards, car loans and home loans you can, It's FREE ADVERTISING!

Big Prize!

One prize idea I've been toying with is offering one big prize through a raffle. This would be an ongoing raffle over a number of months with the winner getting a weekend vacation to a theme park,tickets to a professional sporting event (with weekend accommodations) or a high priced ticket item like a TV. I'd consider budgeting maybe a $500 value on the prize plus some extra banner promotion. By guessing a speed or beating a high score they would win raffle tickets. You must be sure you have a full schedule of events to afford this and be sure to check with any raffle gaming laws that may be in affect.

News & Notes

Every league that participated in Pitch/Kick-A-Thon last year re-did the program this year so thanks again. We've currently raised over $10,000 for youth sports leagues, it makes me feel GREAT about this business!