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Toyota Put It In Play

Put It In Play hosted by Toyota.

Targeted at a younger audience, this event was unusual in the fact that it had driving games rather than just pure driving or lightweight-low-calorie-autocrossing. It was further unique in being 18+ as a part of is target at a younger crowd for the Toyota Matrix, Celica, and Corolla. You competed in 3 driving games against/with your friends, and the fourth game was vehicular dodgeball against huge swinging balls.

Registration was a standard affair. Go inside and the scope of the non-driving activities is quickly appearent: dodgeball, musical chairs (using a car for chairs), hula-hoops (!), karaoke (inside a Celica), tetherball, and a stand where they sold food instead of the free food we're used to. Participate in enough events and you can win prizes bigger than just the usual t-shirt or hats... interesting.

The driving events:

Vehicular Dodgeball: drive a Celica around a low-speed autocross course. Stopping (!) is permitted to dodge swinging objects. We should have done this one-- it looked interesting-- but the lines got too long by noonish, so Nick and I gave up. Side interest was people being able to throw sponges at your car after you've finished the course (funny but lame...).

High-Octane Red Light/Green Light: 5 Matrixes racing simultaneously. They flash red and green lights, you stop and go just like normal-- only you're competing against 4 other people. Kinda fun, but it would have been 100x more interesting with manuals-- driving an automatic Matrix XR is sllllooooowwwwww. Just remember to brake torque.

Capture the Flag: Two teams of three on one course. There's a stack of flags at either end. Each team drives halfway around, grabs a flag, then drives all the way around--. You then change drives and repeat this three times total. The teams compete against each other. To keep it interesting there is a short slalom course on both sides of the course, and you must buckle in fully before you can drive off. Definitely the most interesting event, since even non-fast drivers have a chance of winning.

Pro-Driver Speed Tag: we skipped this one too-- although some other friends may have done it. Essentially a short autocross course. Team of 3 runs the course for every driver, then the total time including switching drivers is matched up against the day's index set by a pro driver. This one looked fun, but the lines were long...

The event was a bit of fun, but it was just too crowded by 12 noon. They issued single-use "fast passes", giving access to a second "VIP" line for each event to everyone so people would not have to wait as long. That broke down by about noon, as the event just got too crowded. Great concept for a big event, assuming your individual events can cycle fast enough. In the mornings it worked fine, but it broke down quickly after 11am as the crowd got bigger.

Supposedly early Put It In Play events had low attendance, so Toyota did a radio blitz in time for the Pasadena event. While attendance may have met Toyota's standards, it worked a little bit too well as far as attendees were concerned. Waiting in line for 45 minutes at one of these events is just TOO LONG.

A final note on the theme: the 80's theme was funny to a point. The employees dancing around and stuff was bizarre enough to be hilarious. It was also a great reminder that some 80's fashions are dead for a reason! = o_O

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