An Interview with Joe Reynolds, Owner of Red Frog Events
31 Dec, 2009By: Trade and Industry Development Team
Years in industry:
Years in current position:
What is the mission of your organization?
We create fun and extraordinary events through innovation, creativity, and top-notch participant service, while laughing all the way.
What events does your organization hold?
We offer two types of events, Great Urban Race, which was our first event, and our newest event, Warrior Dash. Great Urban Race is a scavenger hunt in which teams of two race all over a city while trying to solve 12 clues. There's no set course, since the racers determine their own path as they solve the clues, but the length is generally somewhere around six miles. Winners finish in one and a half to three hours, while the majority come in somewhere between three and four hours. The race has grown tremendously since its start three years ago, when we held eight races. We more than doubled that in 2008 with 20 races, and we added a national championship. This year we added another city and have plans to add three more in 2010.
Warrior Dash was inspired by several competitions: Navy SEALs training, American Gladiators, Eco-Challenge and Ironman. The idea is to create the ultimate event for thrill-seeking athletes. We seek out the nation's most demanding and unique terrain and set competitors loose on it, conquering extreme obstacles like fire and barbed wire-covered mud pits, and then we celebrate with music, beer, warrior helmets and muddy shorts. We started planning the first Warrior Dash last year, a test race at a paintball course in Joliet, Illinois, and capped participation at 2000, which sold out. Logistically, it's a challenge to start all those runners at once, so we do waves of 500 racers, then finish with a big party and awards ceremony at the end. After the success of the first Warrior Dash, we planned a series of nine races nationwide in 2010.
Nationally, how many participants do you have?
For Great Urban Race, we anticipate 17,000 in 2010; for Warrior Dash, we expect 60,000.
How many events are held each year?
In 2010, we will host 24 Great Urban Race events and nine Warrior Dash events.
In what regions/locations are they held?
Great Urban Race is held in the heart of the biggest cities across the country. The event begins and ends at a restaurant or a park and can go basically anywhere in the city from there. For Warrior Dash, we look for a facility that offers one-of-a-kind terrain,at least 200 acres of it. Think ski resorts, paintball fields and the like. We're even renting a nudist colony for one of next year's Warrior Dash events.
From an event management standpoint, what is the most challenging aspect of your job?
Our biggest and most important challenge is ensuring every single participant has a positive race experience by thinking about possible problems before they happen.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
Red Frog Events was a one-person business when it started, so seeing it grow into a multi-million dollar business has been very rewarding.
What is your biggest challenge in organizing your organization's events?
We are always looking for venues for our unique events that have a good location and can provide a fun day for participants.