Two Gatorbacks?

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8/31/2017 5:07 PM

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8/31/2017 5:23 PM

Sounds like they will not be drinking a tasty beverage together anytime in the future......

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8/31/2017 5:25 PM

I would hate to see another track called Gatorback. I just can't see having a track that legendary being called something else.

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Take it to the limit, one more time!

8/31/2017 5:27 PM

Interesting that unlimited sports' special use permit was denied.

I bet someone is already trying to slide into the old park.

Can ww host the olympics?

Is it difficult to defend a trademark when someone else has been using the name for 20 years before you show up?

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8/31/2017 5:34 PM
Edited Date/Time: 8/31/2017 5:37 PM

It would be kinda cruddy to have both tracks named the same thing but that's good that another track is opening, can't argue with that, although I hope they get things sorted out.

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8/31/2017 6:45 PM

I'd bet the landowner has a few friends on the city council...

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8/31/2017 7:32 PM

Hmmm. So Newberry denied Unlimited sports. That explains some things going on here this week.

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9/1/2017 7:58 AM
Edited Date/Time: 9/1/2017 8:00 AM

JustMX wrote:

Interesting that unlimited sports' special use permit was denied.

I bet someone is already trying to slide into the old park.

Can ww host the olympics?

Is it difficult to defend a trademark when someone else has been using the name for 20 years before you show up?

When the news broke that the MXGP was moving, it was mentioned that a new generation of LAND owners were involved and wanted to increase the lease rate something like 10x, effectively forcing the BUSINESS (and trademark) owners of "Gatorback Cycle Park", Unlimited Sports, off the property. It now looks like the LAND owners are going to try to run the track themselves. Basically, a hostile takeover of a business that Wyn Kern and Unlimited Sports built.

A bit of speculation here, but from what the article says, it sounds like the "new generation" of owners are Jeff Leivonen and his sister. So they inherit their share of the land, see it as a potential money maker (especially with the MXGPs plans to host an event there), and since their high-dollar demands to renew Unlimited Sport's lease didn't work out, decide to try their hand at running major motocross events at the now-abandoned track that sits on their property. If that scenario is true, that's a shitty way of doing business and I hope the events that have historically run at Gatorback move elsewhere. I also hope that the two aunts - who now have zero lease-income from the property - whip their nephew's ass for presumably convincing them that this was a good business decision.

As for the name, it is my understanding the trademarks are claimed by USE of a name, which Unlimited Sports has been doing with "Gatorback Cycle Park" since what, the 80's? 70's? To draw a parallel, you can't own a plaza and have Publix (grocery store) as a tenant, not renew their lease, and then open your own grocery store called "Publix" in the same space with hopes of retaining their customers and capitalizing on what they've built - oh, and keep their sign up while you're at it.

Article
He and his family have owned the property which houses the motocross track for the past 45 years.

"It means a lot to my two aunts, and my sister and I," he said.

You know who else it means a lot to? Wyn Kern, the City and business owners of Newberry, and the families that have raced there for generations.
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9/1/2017 8:18 AM

What JustMX was saying is that it was Gatorback long before Wyn took over, so your analogy to Publix doesn't apply.

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Take it to the limit, one more time!

9/1/2017 8:23 AM
Edited Date/Time: 9/1/2017 8:36 AM

mx317 wrote:

What JustMX was saying is that it was Gatorback long before Wyn took over, so your analogy to Publix doesn't apply.

That's EXACTLY what I was thinking! Wyn Kern has been involved since 2000-2001 or so! Hell, I watched my first pro national there in 1985-86. It's been Gatorback since the 70's....

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9/1/2017 8:45 AM
Edited Date/Time: 9/1/2017 8:47 AM

mx317 wrote:

What JustMX was saying is that it was Gatorback long before Wyn took over, so your analogy to Publix doesn't apply.

ty159 wrote:

That's EXACTLY what I was thinking! Wyn Kern has been involved since 2000-2001 or so! Hell, I watched my first pro national there in 1985-86. It's been Gatorback since the 70's....

Ah, my bad. I misunderstood both which 20 yrs your were talking about and who you were talking about showing up. Who ran the track before Wyn? Who named it?

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9/1/2017 9:13 AM

tingo wrote:

Ah, my bad. I misunderstood both which 20 yrs your were talking about and who you were talking about showing up. Who ran the track before Wyn? Who named it?

The first time I went was in 1978 It was Bill West running it and it was Gatorback then.

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Take it to the limit, one more time!

9/1/2017 10:24 AM

mx317 wrote:

What JustMX was saying is that it was Gatorback long before Wyn took over, so your analogy to Publix doesn't apply.

Actually the Publix example might apply.

If the business owner retains and owns the rights to the name as indicated by filing a trademark, the landowner needs to get permission to use the name.

"The business owner has the Gatorback Cycle Park name trademarked, and wants to open up a new track in southwest Newberry off of CR 337." - From the article

Even if the name existed before he owned the rights, in the past however-many-years he's owned the name, he's built the business associated with that name and isn't necessarily obligate to forfeit the use of the name even to the land owner.

The land owner could use the name but would need to pay the business owner a royalty of sorts to use the name. The landowner should have never relinquished the rights to the name.


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9/1/2017 10:26 AM

if you guys haven't listened to it, check out this week's Pulp Show where Matthes interviews Wyn. Sorry i don't have a time stamp but it was probably 3/4 through the show?

Wyn mentioned a few of the family members were fine and accommodating (probably the Aunts) but one guy was horrible to deal with, probably the guy quoted in that article, Mr Levionen. Wyn mentioned that years ago Bill West had similar problems over lease terms with that guys father and now "it's just more of the same". He said the city was great to work with and were expediting the process for permits etc. He seemed very confident on the way things were going. This interview was done sometime before Mondays show, looks like things didn't go as smoothly as Wyn thought.

From what I gather Wyn took over the track and promotions from Bill West and at some point also took ownership for the Gatorback trademark name? So I don't think the landowner people have any case for continuing to use the name. I wonder if they will try to find another lease holder to run the track?

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9/1/2017 11:18 AM

The dick of a landowner is going to find out real soon he should have just took the lease money and profited. He will find out real quick hes not going to make anything trying to run races.

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9/1/2017 11:21 AM

If I remember correctly, wyn bought everything from what was then "worldsports", which was kind of the amateur division of west's promoting empire. They ran 4 or 5 supercross events, the gator back national, and monster truck and arena events under other companies.

I would be willing to bet that when wyn bought worldsports the naming rights for the mini olympics, winter ams, gold cup, and gator back were all included.

I worked for the wests back in the late 80's/early 90's. Bill was a shrewd and smart guy. The guy I remember them dealing with at gator back was "big gene". I am betting that is mr. Levionen's dad or uncle. Bill didn't talk specifics about their dealings but even I could tell it was a contentious business relationship. I remember him being pretty mad several times after gene visited.

They are in for some hard lessons if they think that they can step in there and run races. I could see somebody trying to slide in there kind of like the deal with ponca. That would be interesting to watch.

I am sure there are all kinds of deals going on behind the scenes. The big questions are how obstructive can the old property owners be to the new park getting permits. Perhaps they have convinced officials that they are the horse to bet on.

Also how supportive will the motocross community be to the owners running events. Even if they get experienced promoters involved I don't see them getting much support from the industry or riders.

I am not sure that they could convince any quality existing events to come there. They already have aquired a reputation for being difficult to deal with, And certainly look greedy in this episode.

I don't think that with a lack of experience there will be any qualifiers or regional in their future. Even though mx sports was not directly involved in what transpired I doubt they will want to be a part. MX sports also tends to be fairly loyal to people they deal with, which they have done with unlimited sports for several years with LL qualifiers, atv nationals, and bringing the usgp to the states this year.

I doubt even the gps would deal with them after this year's fiasco.

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9/1/2017 11:26 AM

JustMX wrote:

Interesting that unlimited sports' special use permit was denied.

I bet someone is already trying to slide into the old park.

Can ww host the olympics?

Is it difficult to defend a trademark when someone else has been using the name for 20 years before you show up?

tingo wrote:

When the news broke that the MXGP was moving, it was mentioned that a new generation of LAND owners were involved and wanted to increase the lease rate something like 10x, effectively forcing the BUSINESS (and trademark) owners of "Gatorback Cycle Park", Unlimited Sports, off the property. It now looks like the LAND owners are going to try to run the track themselves. Basically, a hostile takeover of a business that Wyn Kern and Unlimited Sports built.

A bit of speculation here, but from what the article says, it sounds like the "new generation" of owners are Jeff Leivonen and his sister. So they inherit their share of the land, see it as a potential money maker (especially with the MXGPs plans to host an event there), and since their high-dollar demands to renew Unlimited Sport's lease didn't work out, decide to try their hand at running major motocross events at the now-abandoned track that sits on their property. If that scenario is true, that's a shitty way of doing business and I hope the events that have historically run at Gatorback move elsewhere. I also hope that the two aunts - who now have zero lease-income from the property - whip their nephew's ass for presumably convincing them that this was a good business decision.

As for the name, it is my understanding the trademarks are claimed by USE of a name, which Unlimited Sports has been doing with "Gatorback Cycle Park" since what, the 80's? 70's? To draw a parallel, you can't own a plaza and have Publix (grocery store) as a tenant, not renew their lease, and then open your own grocery store called "Publix" in the same space with hopes of retaining their customers and capitalizing on what they've built - oh, and keep their sign up while you're at it.

Article
He and his family have owned the property which houses the motocross track for the past 45 years.

"It means a lot to my two aunts, and my sister and I," he said.

You know who else it means a lot to? Wyn Kern, the City and business owners of Newberry, and the families that have raced there for generations.

I would imagine that it could very easily come down to the lease paperwork. If it said that they were leasing "Gatorback Cycle Park", then the landowners probably owned the name. If it said that they were leasing something else and perhaps the renters are called "XYZ dba Gatorback Cycle Park" then the renters probably owned the name. Looking back at some of the land use apps, it looks like Kern was acting as an agent for the owners of "Gatorback Cycle Park", and the landowners appear to also be the owners of that "Gatorback Cycle Park"......

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9/1/2017 11:53 AM

I am willing to bet west had it trademarked and it passed to wyn kern when he bought worldsports.

I don't think the property owners were ever involved in running or naming the facility.

It will be interesting to watch.

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9/1/2017 12:18 PM

Sounds like Kern and Co. better plan on running the Mini O's at WW for at least this year. Thanksgiving will be here before you know it.

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9/1/2017 12:25 PM

There is currently no registered trademark, but a trademark does not have to be registered for one to claim legal rights to it. It is the use of the name in commerce that matters. In any case, it will be for the lawyers and courts to figure out should it come to that. For what it's worth, a simple Tess search shows that Wyn did attempt to register multiple trademarks in the past

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9/1/2017 12:38 PM

My take is there is two sides to every story. Not too many businessmen will run off a good tenant. In fact you will bend over backwards for them. I also think that he didnt want to do biz with wyn anymore thus the high price. I believe he can call it gatorback as it preceedes the trademark unless at some point in the past those rights were relinquished.

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9/1/2017 1:19 PM

Wait..... I thought it was a done deal about the Mini O's going to WW Ranch.

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9/1/2017 1:23 PM

JustMX wrote:

I am willing to bet west had it trademarked and it passed to wyn kern when he bought worldsports.

I don't think the property owners were ever involved in running or naming the facility.

It will be interesting to watch.

Just call it "The Real Gatorback" and carry on. JustMX, you probably had the same name pop in your head as me about coming in to help or run the track.

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Take it to the limit, one more time!

9/1/2017 1:31 PM

Purchase of land contingent on approval of permitting, zoning, etc.

The committee is only an advisory committee, so technically the city commissioner can say "screw it" and still sign on for a special permit. If that did happen, I wouldn't be surprised if it became a legal mess real quick.

Sad state of affairs for Florida motocross. Wyn is in a tough spot, little time to plan ahead of Mini-Os and few places that can host it. Hopefully MXGP goes off well this weekend; still wouldn't be surprised if Mini-Os still do land at WW.

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9/1/2017 3:00 PM

I went on a little bicycle ride to Gatorback on Wednesday, the signs saying Gatorback are all torn down/removed , I also rode past Diamond Back, its all already overgrown with weeds.

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9/1/2017 6:43 PM
Edited Date/Time: 9/1/2017 6:47 PM

Probably gonna be some torch bearing folks at the next town meeting fighting wyn to the death.......tough sell in most places.

If I was wyn I would be calling Florida Tracks and Trails.;...Perfect place for his events. Problem is they spend zillions of dollars on that place, so they probably wanna get paid big bucks. Based on the sad condition of gatorback, if they made any money there, it didn't go back into the facility. My guess is also this is part of the story.

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9/1/2017 9:46 PM

As a local resident, myself and a local group of racers tried contacting Unlimited Sports as to doing some local races there, or even a practice day schedule. All attempts at contact were unanswered by Unlimited Sports. So I'm not a big fan, so to speak. After contacting locals shops in the area, I was told who the main guy (Kern, same last name as mine, no relationship) was, and that he was not interested in local racing, or the racers themselves having a practice day(s), as there was no money in it. I was told the only non big event (Sanctioned), was an FTR race they held there due to a prior commitment of some kind, and that was a Hare Scrambles that used part of the MX track. Unlimited Sports will never get a conditional use permit for a new track. If the applicant owned 1000 acres, maybe they could, with some powerful attorneys, get it through, with a lot of guarantees of revenue, it might pass, with a lot of restrictions. That area is primarily Agricultural use. They control the world out here. A large investment builder group tried to convert a local grass strip airport into a residential airpark development with golf course and retail area, they bought up the surrounding properties and everything. County denied it, and denied several appeals. Agricultural community just would not have it. The property has been since put back on the market, unsold for the last several years. That's what Unlimited Sports is up against. Time to move on, or renegotiate a new contract, but I'm sure he's not gonna give up any $$. That said, track ownership / operation costs so far outweigh any real profit. Unless you are Nascar...

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9/2/2017 5:09 AM

If I remember correctly, at one time gatorback was limited to 18 days of riding/racing events in a calendar year.

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9/2/2017 7:43 AM

Not too often does a race track close, and then re-open successfully. Gatorback is in the death spiral.

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9/2/2017 7:48 AM
Edited Date/Time: 9/2/2017 7:49 AM

Nobody that races the races Wen promotes at the old gatorback track goes just because it's gatorback, for example the winter ams are held as a series so riders are gonna ride that series wherever it is staged.

The new promoter of the old track will have to create something new on new race dates, that's not easy!

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