The soundtrack for Ironman: Parties Unlimited provides sonic inspiration for thousands of athletes
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It's 6:55 a.m. on Ironday, Aug. 15, 1999, and things are beginning to happen. Somewhere near Mirror Lake beach, a pair of enormous speakers comes to life, pulsing hip-hop music over the water's glassy unbroken surface. As if on cue, a Bell Jet Ranger helicopter thumps its way over the soft gray horizon and takes up post 1,000 feet over the lake, photographers poised for action. And, responding to the cheers of the spectators, the 1,461 triathletes of Ironman USA wade into the cold, still lake, their neon green, orange and yellow bathing caps contrasting sharply with the dark water. *


This was the very first Ironman triathlon for which our company, Parties Unlimited Entertainment & Sound Co., was responsible for all the sound aspects.

We didn't know what to expect that day. I know we were as anxious as each and every triathlete who entered the water. What we found out, looking back on that day, is that we were becoming a part of a very special family, the Ironman family.

Living in Lake Placid, a small community in the Adirondack Park , you may not think that much goes on around here. But with Lake Placid being the winter sports capitol of the world and two-time host of the Winter Olympic Games, it comes as no surprise that organizers of Ironman North America would decide to make this their home base.

This is how our sound adventure began almost 11 years ago. My husband Ron was following his dream to be part of the music and sound world. Starting off as a one-man disc jockey service, catering mainly to local weddings, retirement and birthday parties, he became known as a "weekend warrior."

Then came a few, I guess you could say 'lucky' breaks. After quitting all of his other jobs, Ron decided to hit the sound business hard and opened an office to attract more attention. The business grew very quickly and before I knew it, I had to quit my job to handle the office end so Ron could concentrate on the entertainment end.

Being that Lake Placid is such a small community, word gets around. We heard about a gentleman by the name of Lyle Harris, who was the race director of something called an "Ironman." Not knowing anything about a triathlon, let alone the Ironman, we had no idea that the several meetings, with questions upon questions, would lead us to where we are today.

We are now the official entertainment and sound company of Ironman North America, which includes Lake Placid , Florida , the California Half Ironman and, new for 2002, Ironman races in Wisconsin and Utah .

For us, each Ironman begins on the Wednesday before the race. All day and each day prior to race day, we can be heard playing music and making announcements in the Ironman village. Every race has a different schedule, but typically Thursday begins with several press conferences, which require P. A. systems. In the afternoon, we are responsible for the sound for a kids ?splash and dash," which is a great opportunity for all the children to show off their stuff because let's face it, they're Iron kids!

Friday you will find one of our crews setting up in the banquet facility for a carbo meal that will be held at 5 p.m. Not only will we be supplying all the sound for the banquet, but at most races we also supply two large video screens that will display coverage of previous races. This system also will be used for the awards banquet to be held the day after race day.

On Saturday begins the set up at the beach for the 7 a.m. swim start. This particular system has to be heard by at least 10,000 spectators - just to give you an idea of the magnitude this set-up has! Also Saturday, we set up a system at the bike transition area so while racers get out of the water and are transitioning to the bike, they can be announced along the way.

Then it's here - Race Day! Our day begins at 4:30 a.m., where we begin with a sound check and immediately start coordinating with announcers for the 7 a.m. cannon. The anticipation in the air is heavy and there are always last-minute details to be worked out. Once the race begins, our next move is to fill sound at all the 'hot' corners (typically two or three), which are the areas where the most spectators will be cheering on the athletes.

From there, around 11 a.m., the finish line set-up begins. Again, this system has to be able to accommodate about 10,000 spectators that will cheer on each and every athlete that crosses the finish line until midnight. The excitement here is by far unlike anything we have ever experienced before.

"Just returned from Panama City Ironman and was mightily impressed with your music. It was amazing how much the sounds contributed to the overall atmosphere and the finishing line party in the stands was like being at a rock concert - everyone high but no one using alcohol or illegal substances. A fabulous mix of music! Congratulations!"
-Michael Satchell, senior writer/editor, U.S. News & World Report

Our events don't stop with just the Ironman. We also have supplied all the sound and entertainment for the 2000 Lake Placid Winter Goodwill Games, which is our largest event to date, supplying seven complete sound systems simultaneously with all events being televised.

Other events include the reunion of MTV's Road Rules and Real World that was held in Lake Placid , the New York Lottery's 30th birthday bash and the Papa John's Bumps & Jumps.

Our company is unique because we are not only a sound company, but a full entertainment company able to ignite any party! Parties Unlimited is available for any sporting or other event, and we love to travel! Visit our Web site at www.events-sound.com for more information. So if you're planning to enter a North American Ironman, or maybe you're planning to visit the Lake Placid region, look us up ? or better yet, keep your ears peeled because I'm sure you'll hear us!

* Quote from Adirondack Life Magazine 2000 Annual Guide Article by James Grant