How Far Have You Traveled for a SQL Saturday?

A few of you might have seen the recent announcement from PASS about SQL Saturdays. I don’t like the decisions, especially the new 600 mile radius limitation for events on the same day (or consecutive weeks). Kevin Feasel performed an interesting analysis, looking at the potential conflicts with events. It’s worth a read, and if you want to run your own analysis, please feel free to do so.

I know lots of you have gone to a SQL Saturday. I’m sure most of you that have attended one have gone to a local event. However, what I’d like to know is the answer to these questions:

  • How far have you traveled to each event? (multiple numbers in mi or km)
  • where were the events? (city, year if you want)
  • Are you a speaker? (yea, nay)

Please, please, take a minute and drop a comment. Or send me an email (sjones{at}sqlservercentral[dot]com). I’d really like to get some data on travel. Note, I’m asking how far you have traveled. Not what you’re be willing to do. I thnk plenty of people think they’d drive a long way, but I’m not sure many of you would.

My contention is that most people wouldn’t drive 50 miles, much less 100, for a SQL Saturday (or Code Camp, etc.). I know some of you would, but 50 miles is probably an hour+ in most places, plus an hour back, plus 7-8 hours of conference talks. Is that worth your time?

Sure. Sometimes. If you don’t have family commitments, or you’re not too tired, or the weather isn’t too bad (or good). Even if the event is once a year, I see no shortage of people that can’t, or won’t, attend. Lots do, that that’s great. I love seeing SQL Saturdays grow, especially with lots of first time attendees.

I have seen people go a few hundred miles, even one guy riding down from the mountains west of Denver to Albuquerque, but that’s rare. That’s the exception. At least, I think so. Let me know today. Actually, let us all know. I think the data will be really interesting.

As an aside, I’d like to get more people performing some analysis of how limitations affect the growth of SQL Saturday and also how we might actually grow to 200+ events a year in the US. I am open to listening to arguements for the changes, but I’m more interested in finding ways to continue to grow SQL Saturdays around the world.

Steve Jones

The Voice of the DBA Podcast

Listen to the MP3 Audio ( 4.0MB) podcast or subscribe to the feed at iTunes and Mevio .

About way0utwest

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21 Responses to How Far Have You Traveled for a SQL Saturday?

  1. pianorayk says:

    I responded on SSC, but I’ll post here as well so it’s a little more publically viewable.

    To the best of my memory:

    New York City (several times — I’ve lost track of how many — approx. 150 miles)
    Albany, NY (my hometown SQL Saturday! — about 8 miles — next one is tomorrow; come on out, folks!!!)
    Providence, RI (170 miles)
    Rochester, NY (230 miles)
    Philadelphia, PA (250 miles)

    Also, I signed up to speak at Pittsburgh in October. That is over 450 miles away (driving). If I’m chosen to speak, that will be the farthest I’ve ever traveled for SQL Saturday.

    I’ve been a speaker since last year (2015).


  2. SQLSoldier says:

    I had quite a few long distance travels as well as more local SQLSaturday events when I lived in the Seattle, WA area. I was a speaker at all of them.

    Charleston, SC 2,927 miles
    Pensacloa, FL 2,785 miles
    Sacramento, CA 760 miles
    Houston, TX 2,432 miles
    Portland, OR 166 miles
    Redmond, WA 29 miles
    Vancouver, BC 160 miles
    Olympia, WA 53 miles
    Austin, TX 2,309 miles


  3. kbaker91 says:

    Chicago, IL, 300 miles
    Columbus, OH 120 miles
    Lousiville, KY, 120 miles

    I live in Cincinnati, which interestingly doesn’t have one (SQl Saturday). Have not spoken at one.


  4. Before I became a speaker, I had travelled to these two SQL Saturdays from Chicago.

    148 mi – Madison
    183 mi – Indianapolis

    After becoming a speaker, I began travelling further.

    472 mi – Nashville
    414 mi – Minneapolis
    221 mi – Iowa City
    346 mi – Cleveland

    Anecdotally, I’ll add that at every SQL Saturday in Madison, Indianapolis, & Iowa City, I always run into 5-10 Chicago-area folks (non-speaker) who also make the drive. If you include Chicago based speakers, that easily adds another 3-5 Chicago area folks who travel a bit.


  5. Not a speaker. Live in central WI. Nothing out my back door and all have been well worth the drive.

    100 mi – Madison, WI
    187 mi – Minneapolis, MN
    272 mi – Iowa City, IA


  6. SQLTex says:

    as an attendee\volunteer
    San Antonio to OKC 467 miles
    San Antonio to Dallas 273 miles
    San Antonio to Austin 80 Miles
    San Antonio to Houston (x3) 197 Miles
    Houston to Austin 165 miles
    Houston to Dallas 239 miles
    Houston to Baton Rouge 272 miles

    As a speaker
    Houston to Austin 165 miles
    Houston to San Antonio 2 weekends away 197 Miles
    Houston to Baton Rouge Next weekend yea! 272 miles


  7. sqlsanctum says:

    I am not a speaker, the farthest I have ever driven for a SQL Saturday is 200 miles, and even that included a weekend vacation in the area.


  8. OK, as promised, here are some details of SQLSaturday events that I have visited, or will be visiting. Distances are from my home west of Düsseldorf/DE.

    Copenhagen/DK, attending precon + volunteering on Saturday, 800 km
    Mechelen/BE, attending, 180 km
    St Augustin/DE, several times, attending / speaking, 110 km
    Cambridge/UK, speaking, 600 km
    Munich/DE, attending (submission pending), 660 km

    I also went to SQLNexus in Cph as a speaker as well as to the SQL Konferenz (Darmstdt/DE, 300 km) and SQL Days (Erding/DE, 680 km) as attendee (those are out of the competition, right?)


  9. Wayne McDaniel says:

    There are no SQL Saturdays close to me (Jonesboro, Arkansas), so I regularly go to Baton Rouge (5th time coming up in a week) and Dallas (more times than I remember), which are both 450 miles away. I also try to hit Nashville (only 300 miles) when I can, and this year I think the schedule might let me get to St. Louis (a mere 250 miles)


    • way0utwest says:

      We are talking and thinking to try and get one in Little Rock if we can. I may come down just to support that one if I can. Feel free to try and help organize one. I’m sure you can make it work.


  10. Sandra says:

    I started working with SQL Server a little over 3 years ago (2012) and SQL Saturday training has been invaluable. I’ve attended SQL Saturdays in:
    290 miles to Richmond (twice)
    170 miles to Raleigh (twice)
    80 miles to Spartanburg
    10 miles to the local event each year


  11. Brian K says:

    I’ve done:
    Toronto – 32 km
    Rochester – 237 km (three times)
    Detroit – 363 km
    Cleveland – 442 km (twice, should’ve been three times but a precon got cancelled)
    Pittsburgh – 494 km (twice)
    Albany – 580 km

    Basically I will do up to a 4 hour drive most of the time, and if there’s a good precon (like Albany last weekend), I’ll do a longer drive and make an extended trip out of it. The family comes along about half the time if there’s a hotel pool to take advantage of.

    The fact I love road trips comes in very handy when looking at SQL Saturdays.


  12. Pingback: Dreaming of SQL Saturday | Voice of the DBA

  13. sqlvariant says:

    Longest distance: 4,604 mi for SQL Saturday Denmark.


  14. rdameron says:

    I live in Tampa, FL and I’ve only been to SQL Saturdays in Florida.
    193 miles to Jacksonville – only once
    110 miles to Orlando – multiple times
    273 miles to South Florida – only once.
    9 miles to Tampa – multiple times


  15. Solomon says:

    Raleigh, NC — 2.6 miles — 2014 — speaker
    (same would have held true for 2015, but had pneumonia 😦 )

    I would generally be able to go as far as Charlotte, NC (170 miles; 2.75 hours) or Richmond, VA (145 miles; 2 – 2.25 hours), or Virginia Beach, VA (200 miles; 2.25 hours). So far I have not done any of these.

    However, due to family obligations, I cannot travel farther (i.e. anything that would require more than 1 night away — Friday or Saturday) or travel during weekdays. So attending the annual PASS Summit is out of the question.


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