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The dirty secret of rally organizing: most of it could be done by a wedding planner.

Rallies are fantastically large and complicated events. Most racers, even racers that have been competing for years, would answer "I wouldn't even know where to start" if asked the question "Could you organize a rally?"

However, it turns out, that MOST of the work of putting on a rally is really very similar to putting on a wedding. Let's start with what's not the same: getting permits from the local government to close roads. Yup, you usually don't have to do that for a wedding. Usually. But proportionally,the permit portion of the work is usually 5% or less of the total time spent getting a rally ready. Sure, there are some detailed forms, and probably some meetings to go to, and it's spread over a long time period, but getting the roads is not the big time suck.

How about what is similar?

  • Deciding when the (race/wedding) starts.
  • Making a schedule of when people arrive.
  • Figure out where they are all going to park when they arrive. Then, after (registration / the wedding) providing directions for everyone to drive to (the service area / the reception).
  • Arrange multiple facilities for (registration & tech & awards / the ceremony & reception).
  • Arrange food for the party.
  • Figure out exactly where everyone is going to be in (the start order / the seating chart). Then deal with the complaints and shuffle them. ;)
  • Create documents detailing the exact times and locations of each activity.
  • Contact the headquarters hotel and come up with a room block with a reservation deal for the attendees.
  • Handle the (media / wedding photographer). Vet them, manage the pictures they submit, host them online.
  • Invite lots of (racers / friends & family) and carefully track who is going to be able to attend, probably using some sort of online (registration / RSVP) system.
  • Manage a budget, decide on which items you absolutely must have and which are optional that you don't have the budget for.
  • Recruit (volunteers / bridesmaids & groomsmen). Finesse a million details that have to do with exactly when they arrive, how they are travelling, where they are staying, and who is assigned to which task.
  • Clean up when it's all done.

And ta-dah! It's done. :)

So yes, it's a lot of details. But while many racers would say they are scared of organizing a rally, most would bet that they could organize their own wedding. So if you just imagine a rally as a wedding plus a few meetings with the city council, and a lot less cake tasting and dress color choosing, it suddenly becomes a lot more believable that you could pull it off. And NASA Rally Sport will be your best man through the whole process!