When Bargain Briana offered to hook me up with the good people at RIDEMAKERZ for a free bloggers' event last weekend, I jumped at the opportunity. Briana put me in touch with Natalie who was coordinating the event aimed at bloggers with boys aged 5-13. But Natalie wasn't about to let Annie feel left out and she must have heard about Mike's childlike tendencies as well because she invited the entire family to RIDEMAKERZ on Sunday for a free afternoon of high octane fun.
If you're not familiar with RIDEMAKERZ, think Build-A-Bear Workshop, only instead of stuffed animals with fashionable attire, you get cool cars with totally rad accessories.
Mike and Charlie had actually been to RIDEMAKERZ once before, so they were really revved at the prospect of getting to go again. When we arrived, Natalie greeted us and handed me $375 in RIDEMAKERZ gift cards! Now that's what I call free fun!
Since we already had two tricked out cars at home, we had decided ahead of time that Robbie would get to keep the car he made and the rest of us would make cars that would be donated to the local children's hospital. (For the record, it was not immediately a unanimously popular decision, but Mike got over the disappointment.)
A few minutes later Marilyn -- apparently the head "mechanic" -- gathered all the bloggers and their families, including Angie from Angelica Grace Designs and Eric from IndyDads.com, and gave us the low down on the RIDEMAKERZ process.
- First, we all picked the shell of the car we wanted to build. The shells start at $12 and go up to $29. Robbie wasted no time picking "the fire car." Annie had planned to pick the pink Corvette, but changed her mind when she saw the blue Mini Cooper, which apparently is her "dream car." So I took the pink car, while Charlie chose a blue truck and Mike picked an orange Dukes of Hazzard looking car. (Note: the cars all have official names, but asking me to tell you what they are is pointless, though I do know that the Corvette is the newest addition to the RIDEMAKERZ line-up.
- From there, we moved on to the sound station. Each car comes with a standard tires pealing sound, but for just $3, you can choose a custom sound, which we did.
- RIDEMAKERZ mechanics were waiting at the next station to install the chassis -- which I think is the underbody of the car. I'm sure Charlie could tell me for certain. Anyway, you can choose a street chassis or a jacked up monster chassis. We all went for the street version, except Charlie. This is the station where you can also add radio remote control capability to the car. It's a $25 charge, but absolutely worth it!
- Next we chose tires -- the standard black tires, which suited my pink car or tires embellished with color treads -- and hubcaps. Who knew hubcaps come in as many different varieties as nail polish does?
- Then it was on to the pit challenge where we realized Charlie had already lost his remote control. Seriously? We had only walked 5 feet! But the RIDEMAKERZ crew was totally cool and found it quickly. Apparently, they've worked with their fair share of 9-year-old boys.
Remote safely back in the basket, we set about using the cool pit crew tool (I won't even guess what that's called) to screw in the bolts to lock in the body of the car to the chassis. I think that was Robbie's favorite part.
- Once the cars were assembled, it was time to accessorize. Finally, something I could relate to! The most awesome part about the accessorizing is that you could choose anything -- lights, sirens, turbo jets -- from the wall, try it on your car and return it back to the wall if you didn't like the way it looked. Charlie, Annie and I chose underbody lights for our cars. Robbie went with the turbo jets.
- To finish off, we sat at the computers and registered our cars. When it was time to check out, we got a title and little license plates customized with a name of our choosing to add to the car.
And tonight we headed over to the children's hospital and gave them General Lee, PrtyNPnk, HyperDrive and Dream Car, paying forward RIDEMAKERZ's generosity. Thanks RIDEMAKERZ for making this possible!
We'll definitely be heading back to RIDEMAKERZ -- Charlie wants to celebrate his birthday there. And Annie wants to go back and buy a blue shell to put on the black Mini Cooper Mike made last year.
That's what's great about these cars -- you can go back later and change them. Don't want to shell out the $25 for remote control right now? You can still make an awesome ride and come back for the remote as a reward for say, good grades. Or you can change up the sound for almost pocket change. In fact, you can go to RIDEMAKERZ, choose a body for under $20, select all of the stock items (sounds, chassis, tires, hubcaps), and still have a toy that rocks!
About that giveaway...
And you know what else rocks? (This is the part that you've been waiting for!). In addition to giving me gift cards to use for my family on Sunday, RIDEMAKERZ gave me a $75 gift card to giveaway on my blog! That's right -- you or someone you love can trick out your own ride courtesy of the 4th Frog and RIDEMAKERZ.
And if you don't have a RIDEMAKERZ shop near you, no sweat. You can buy RIDEZ in a box right on the website and get the whole awesome experience in the comfort of your own home!
So how can you get in on the giveaway? Earn entries in three simple ways:
- Earn 1 entry by leaving a comment on this post or other posts I make this week. Be sure to leave your first name and last initial.
- Earn 3 entries by blogging about the giveway on your own blog, then linking back to this post.
- Earn 5 entries by subscribing to the 4th Frog Blog via e-mail (see the right-hand column). If you're already a subscriber, just leave me a comment letting me know you want the 5 bonus entries.