Red Frog Events

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Red Frog Events
IndustryEvent planning
FoundedChicago, IL (2007 (2007))
FounderJoe Reynolds
Ryan Kunkel
HeadquartersChicago, IL, United States
Area served
Key people
Joe Reynolds
Ryan Kunkel

Red Frog Events, LLC is a privately owned (one-member LLC with Joe Reynolds as the sole member) event production company founded in 2007 and based in Chicago, Illinois. The company's current events and services include Warrior Dash, Firefly Music Festival, ShamrockFest, American Beer Classic, EventSprout, and Red Frog Food and Beverage. Joe Reynolds and Ryan Kunkel are the co-CEOs.


Mirroring the television show The Amazing Race, Joe Reynolds organized and launched Great Urban Race, LLC, and hosted the first race on September 15, 2007 in Chicago.[1]

In December 2008, Reynolds brought on four event coordinator interns ("Tadpoles") and moved the business into an office in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood to help keep up with the planning and organizing of Great Urban Race.[1] In 2009, Ryan Kunkel joined Reynolds to expand Great Urban Race and develop new events.

In the summer of 2009 the company was renamed Red Frog Events, LLC, and the first Warrior Dash was held in Joliet, Illinois.[2] In 2010, Red Frog Events moved from the Lincoln Park office to the current location at 320 West Ohio Street.[3]

On November 13, 2010, the first Beach Palooza (later rebranded as Beach Dash to maintain consistency with the Warrior Dash race series) was held at Daytona Beach, Florida.[4] In 2011, Red Frog Bar Crawls were launched. The first event, a Halloween costume bar crawl called Nightmare on Clark Street, occurred on October 15, 2011 in Chicago. Snow Day in Washington D.C. was the next in the series, on December 17. Two more bar crawls were introduced in 2012: Bright 'N' Tight in San Diego, California, and Derby Days in Charlotte, North Carolina.

In 2012 the Firefly Music Festival was launched in Dover, Delaware, and Farm to Fork, a "farm style dinner," took place on September 22 at McDonald Farm in Naperville, Illinois.

In 2013 Red Frog launched three new running events: Iron Warrior Dash, Urban Warrior Dash, and Illuminite Run[5]. It also launched the American Beer Classic beer festival and the Candy Cane Express.

In 2014, Red Frog launched the Bacon Chase in Atlanta, Georgia on March 22, 2014. It also bought DC-based ShamrockFest from GoCity Events and began offering its ticketing platform, EventSprout, to third-party event organizers.

In 2015, Red Frog Events launched Big Barrel Country Music Festival[6] and Red Frog Food and Beverage.

On July 21, 2015, Red Frog laid off 29 of its roughly 105 employees.[7]



  • Warrior Dash - a 5k mud race with 12 obstacles. Since the inaugural race in 2009, more than 2.5 million people have competed in Warrior Dash.[8]
  • Great Urban Race - an urban scavenger hunt held in cities across the United States. In a typical race, teams solve twelve clues and complete a variety of tasks while exploring the city. In 2011, there were 37 U.S. qualifying races, and qualifying races in Australia and Canada. The championship race was held on November 12, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. There were a total of 21 races across the country in 2012, with the championship race held in Las Vegas, Nevada on November 10.
  • The Beach Dash (formerly Beach Palooza) - a 5K race with 12 obstacles along a beach. Red Frog Events has hosted 11 Beach Dash runs across the nation. Because of low registration numbers in the US, Red Frog sold the event name and concept to an Australian events company in 2012.
  • Iron Warrior Dash - a longer (12+ mile) version of the Warrior Dash race series,
  • Urban Warrior Dash is an urban version of the Warrior Dash race series that takes place downtown in major metropolitan areas.
  • Illuminite Run is a nighttime run featuring lights and EDM music.
  • The Bacon Chase is a 5k and .05k un-timed run that features bacon at the water checkpoints at the finish line.


Bar crawls[edit]

  • Nightmare on Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois
  • Snow Day, Washington, D.C.
  • Bright 'N' Tight, San Diego, California
  • Derby Days in Charlotte, North Carolina


  • Farm to Fork is a farm dinner in Naperville, Illinois. The inaugural Farm to Fork featured chef and Chicago native, Valerie Bolon. Farm to Fork took place on September 22 at Naperville's McDonald Farm, which is also home to The Conservation Foundation as well as the Green Earth Institute.
  • Candy Cane Express is a holiday-themed train ride through various parts of the Chicago area, featuring milk and cookies.

Platforms and services[edit]

  • EventSprout[13] is an online registration platform. Red Frog began developing the system in 2009 and now offers it to third party events.
  • Red Frog Food and Beverage is a food and beverage operation service formed when Red Frog acquired long time partner DJ’s National Food Service in 2015.


  • The company was selected as St. Jude Children's Research Hospital's "Corporate Partner of the Year" and committed to raise $25 million for the organization to open the St. Jude Red Frog Events Proton Therapy Center.[14]
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year[15]
  • Chicago Tribune Top Workplace[16]
  • Chicago Innovation Award[17]
  • Inc. 5000, Inc. Magazine, #9[18]
  • Outside Magazine Best Places to Work, #16[19]
  • Forbes' Most Promising Company in America, #18[20]
  • 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For[21]


  1. ^ a b "Entrepreneurs Unpluggd". Interview with Red Frog Events. Archived from the original on 27 October 2011. Retrieved 18 November 2011.
  2. ^ "Chicago Tribune". Joe Reynolds, Ryan Kunkel: Lead Warriors. 19 June 2011. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
  3. ^ "Illinois State Business Magazine". Red Frog Events. Archived from the original on 28 May 2012. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
  4. ^ "Timetoast timelines". A history of the Red Frog Family! timeline. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
  5. ^ WRITER, Katy Healey WORLD-HERALD STAFF. "Warrior Dash creators to light up Omaha with 'Illuminite Run'". Retrieved 2019-01-25.
  6. ^ a b "Big Barrel Country Music Festival canceled". delawareonline. Retrieved 2019-01-25.
  7. ^ "Red Frog Events lays off nearly a third of Chicago staff". 21 July 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
  8. ^ Perez, A.J. (November 2, 2015). "Obstacle races going mainstream, more popular than marathons". USA Today. USA Today. Retrieved November 2, 2015.
  9. ^ Peters, Mitchell. "Firefly Festival Director: 'We Want It to Be Talked About 50 Years From Now'". Billboard. Billboard. Retrieved 2015-06-15.
  10. ^ DeLuca, Dan. "Review: Big Barrel country fest, with Blake Shelton, Sturgill Simpson and more". The Inquirer. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  11. ^ Bernot, Kate. "American Beer Classic plans first festival for Soldier Field". RedEye. RedEye. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
  12. ^ Clabaugh, Jeff. "D.C.'s ShamrockFest sold to Chicago events producer". Washington Business Journal. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
  13. ^ Sweeney, Brigid. "Chicago event firm Red Frog buys D.C.'s ShamrockFest". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved 5 December 2014.
  14. ^ Arnold, Ed. "St. Jude receives $25 million commitment from fundraising partner". Memphis Business Journal. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  15. ^ U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year
  16. ^ Chicago Tribune Top Workplace
  17. ^ Chicago Innovation Award
  18. ^ Inc. 5000, Inc. Magazine, #9
  19. ^ Outside Magazine Best Places to Work, #16
  20. ^ Forbes' Most Promising Company in America, #18
  21. ^ 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For