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Event Name: Topless for TATAs Annual Wheeling Event
Guest: Chantelle Kern
Date: August 7-9, 2015
Location: Rausch Creek Off-Road Park
Topless for TATAs going into our seventh year and we have raised nearly $100,000 that has been donated to both The American Cancer Society and The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Since 2011, all donations have been given to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation since we learned that over 90 cents of every dollar is put into the hands of the researchers and doctors who are finding ways to identify Breast Cancer markers and possible treatments.
Chantelle Kern started Topless for TATAs in 2009…
Chantelle Q and A:
Q: When did this event start? What is the event’s history?
A: The event started in 2009. Since then we have grown to be the largest wheeling event on the East Coast and this year, since it is our 7th year, we are capping the limit of vehicles to 700! Our goal this year is to raise over $35,000 that will be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Q: How many consumers / vendors?
A: With over 700 registered vehicles participating this year, we are looking to entertain thousands in attendance during the entire TFT weekend. Currently we have over 70 event sponsors with at least half of them attending the Topless for TATAs vendor show on Friday, August 7th. The vendor show will allow companies to come and meet with the potential buyer and have some great one on one time with them and perhaps the ability to wheel with them.
Q: What is the event’s purpose?
A: The event’s purpose is to raise funds and awareness of Breast Cancer. We have candid conversations about why it is important to get checked and to make remind yourself and your loved ones about doing your monthly exams. We try to make it a fun conversation to a topic that some find taboo.
Q: What is the event known for?
A: Our event is known for the organization, the social aspect, the raffle and the experience. Some folks have told us that they plan their entire summer around our event so that they can ensure their participation.
Q: What kind of vehicles? What do they do?
A: Our attendance is mostly Jeep with 80%+ being Wrangler JK/JKUs. We are starting to grow the Willy’s fan base since we have a group that is completely devoted to Willy’s. We also have brand new vehicles with paper tags that join us on the trails.
Q: What are the activities associated with your event?
A: First and foremost we are a trail ride event mixed with several meet and greets throughout the year. For the actual Topless for TATAs event trail guides take you out for the entire day navigating the trails, having lunch in the outdoors and getting back together in the evening for more social interaction with fellow off roaders. Additionally, for 2015 we have a scheduled a 1st Annual Topless for TATAs Show and Shine to take place in September.
Q: What do you have for the kids?
A: In the past we have featured a kids raffle that coincides with the main raffle
Q: Anything that encourages technology or innovation?
A: We do have a lot of folks using GoPros and we have recently acquired a drone for aerial shots while wheeling, etc.
Q: What was one of your favorite stories from a past event?
A: Favorite stories… every year we have at least one couple that gets engaged on the trails. We are hoping for a TFT wedding one year but alas it hasn’t happened yet. Last year was especially meaningful to me as we had a representative from the Breast Cancer Research foundation on hand and we brought up the Survivors we had on hand to be recognized in front of the large capacity crowd. Many tears of joy and encouragement were shed and I doubt there was a dry eye to be found.
Q: What was the biggest challenge of the event and how have you overcome it?
A: Biggest challenge is every year having folks on a waiting list because we sell out so quickly. We pride ourselves on limiting each group to only 10 vehicles so our participants can receive the maximum experience off road while not waiting in excessive group sizes. We have found that 10 vehicles per group is the magic number. While we could overcome the challenge by increasing group sizes that would only take away from the participants experience and that is something that Topless for TATAs will never compromise on.
Q: Any non-profits that your event supports?
A: The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (www.bcrfcure.org)
Q: How has your event supported or helped extend the off-road industry since the conception?
A: Ever year we find that returning participants come back bigger and better. From a budget boost to a full blown long arm suspension, from 33’s to 42’s. We showcase each TFT sponsor in our monthly newsletters and many of our supporters advise us that they only purchase from TFT sponsors.
Q: What is ultimate look of your event? If the world revolved around you…what would you want it to be?A: One day I sincerely hope there is no need for Topless for TATAs to continue as that would mean we met our goal and that a cure has been found for this horrid disease.
Q: What is the strategic difference between your event and others?
A: Our event is unique as it is the best of both worlds as it is a full out vendor show followed by two days of wheeling. We do not have levels or tiers of event sponsorships, which allows small mom, and pop companies to full out off road industry manufactures to take part and receive the same accolades for the same sponsorship base amount. We also have our own trail at the park that is designed and maintained by our volunteers. The trail is one the heaviest used trail at the park and each sponsor has their own tree with a plaque that shows the year they sponsor. We also have a volunteer who paints ribbons to honor those who have lost their battle with cancer or those who are still fighting the good fight in hope of beating cancer. These ribbons are a reminder of what we are doing and make the trail even more special. To see all the ribbons on the trail is truly an amazing site.
Q: Duct Tape or Zip Ties? What is the most important thing you’ve reattached with one of the options?
A: Zip Ties. Not only can you use then to hold things together, you can also use them to play jokes on your friends by placing them on the driveshaft… not that I know anything about that.