I began the "Old Fartz" movement (no laxative jokes, please <g>) in 1995 as a way to help grow the sport of autocrossing through mentoring by veteran drivers. (I credit George Ryan for coming up with the Old Fartz name.)
When Patty and I began autocrossing in Seattle in 1983, we were taken under the wings of folks like Ron and Karen Babb, Mark and Jill Snell, Wayne and Sharon Reuter, Bob and Sharon Wallace, and Joy Cottier Kriek. Without being made to feel welcome by these folks, we might never have stuck around long enough to truly understand what a wonderful sport it was. It has truly changed our lives.
Old Fartz is intended to supplement the SCCA's Speed Freakz® program which is designed to recruit newcomers through reduced entry fees and an identity package. The aim of Old Fartz is to be sure newcomers get to taste the full flavor of every aspect of our sport of autocrossing and keep them coming back.
I began producing Old Fartz decals prior to the 1995 Solo II Nationals and handed out more than 150 pairs at that event. I soon began keeping a registry of all those who requested decals over the internet and assigning "membership numbers" for those that requested them. If you wear Old Fartz decals on your car, but never received a membership number and would like one, just drop me a note.
At the time, I had access to a plotter and could make the decals relatively inexpensively. Despite many offers I have never accepted any money from anyone.
What I choose to "charge" for these decals is a promise from all Old Fartz to spend at least 60 minutes helping a newbie at a local event sometime within the next 12 months. I also ask Old Fartz to voluntarily "renew" their dues every year, too.
And by "helping a newbie" I mean...
...- 10 minutes helping them fill out their registration forms and helping them through the tech line;
...- 10 minutes walking the course with them;
...- 10 minutes talking about and helping to analyze their runs; and
...- 30 minutes by having them join "the gang" for pizza after an event.
From my experience, the last 30 minutes is the most important part -- feeling they "belong" means much more to most beginners than winning a trophy.
I know from personal experience that after being in this sport for many years I often become a bit wrapped up in my own needs at an event. It was only recently when I began bringing some friends who had never autocrossed that I once again fully understood how intimidating someone's first event can be. And at the same time, I realized how much I could help my friends relax and have fun, just because of the experience I had and was able to share.
Old Fartz has become a mentoring program at several Regions around the country and it has the potential to grow at many more. It all depends on how many Old Fartz want to put something into it.
If you have any questions, want more information,
or would like to join Old Fartz, just drop
me a note.