Wheelin’ and dealin’ at Deer Valley
Spokes, speeds and crossbars were all topics of conversation throughout the crowd at the 2012 Dealer Camp, an international bicycle suppliers and retailers trade show held annually at Deer Valley Resort. Brand names flapped in the wind, brightly-colored flags serving as landmarks among the tents. Retailers and press were busy searching out this or that rumored product debuting next year, ready to take test runs down the nearby runs.
As one of Deer Valley Resort’s largest summer events, Dealer Camp brings more than a thousand retailers, suppliers and mountain bike enthusiasts in the industry to Park City hillsides and trails, according to Dealer Camp representatives. Now in its third year, the number of attendees continues to grow, a fact the Park City community is taking notice of.
"For a lot of these folks, it may be their first time here in Park City," said Park City Chamber/Bureau Tourism Marketing Manager Stephen Lane. "They will go back to their shops and spread the message to their customers that this community is bike friendly. That is not lost on the attendees."
Emily Summers, marketing manager for Deer Valley resort added,
"This is a large event with a lot of people involved. I think that Park City is known as a winter destination, but people don’t realize all those great aspects of the town transfer very well to summer products.
"People are seeing how well our trail systems are maintained. It’s an opportunity that can’t be beat."
Lifeboat Events, self-described as the "future of cycling media events," hosts Dealer Camp, which runs through the week. Lance Camisasca, the Lifeboat Events founder and president, created the event as a way to put cyclists in a place where the product could be tested.
In other major cyclist tradeshows such as the Las Vegas Interbike International Bicycle Expo and the Eurobike Show held in Germany, demoing is limited. In Park City, retailers are hitting the trails, he said.
"There’s a lot of potential for attendees to come back with their families for vacation," Camisasca said. "I’ve seen it firsthand. Customers at this event have contacted me after the fact to tell me they came back."
Scott Struve, the director of marketing for the Hayes Bicycle Group, said having the event so close to the trails made sense, and has even led him to take people on vacation to Park City.
"You can’t beat this setting in any other trade show environment," Struve said.
"Instead of spending money for someone else to throw an event the way they want to, why not do it ourselves," he added. "We started coming here, and the access to the trails and roads makes sense for us. I know there are a lot of other companies that have followed suit."
This year, Dealer Camp is hosting dozens of companies representing over 100 brands of bicycles with more than 700 individual retailers attending, but its beginnings were far humbler from what the event is today. Starting in 2010, the event drew in roughly half the number of retailers.
When Camisasca first visited Park City, he knew he’d found the home for his event, calling it a ‘no-brainer’ to hold Dealer Camp in Park City.
"I wanted to see Park City because I was told it was a major resort setting that was within 45 minutes of an international airport," Camisasca said. "That was so unique, I decided I needed to see it. I’ve never seen this quality of cycling, this quality of a town, this close to such a major airport. And that was important for us, for the event."
Since its first year, Dealer Camp has partnered with the Park City Chamber/Bureau to promote the trade show, a working relationship that is expanding lodging options and deals for attendees.
"People can easily get here," he added, "but in larger sense, people have the ability to check out a Gold Level Ride Center," referring to the recent International Mountain Bike Association designation. Lane went on to say he hopes to see the event grow into something where consumers could test products.
"We’d like to see this event grow," Lane said, "and it has."
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“We’re kind of turning the corner … and it’s now time to maybe put out the welcome mat in a careful and thoughtful manner,” said Bill Malone, president and CEO of the Park City Chamber/Bureau.”