Last night, my brother and I went to the arenacross race at Greensboro Coliseum hoping to get some great shots throughtout the evening. But when we got there, the people at the gate refused to let us in with our cameras since they claim "no professional cameras are allowed". Now the 2 of us shoot with gripped Digital Rebel XTs. He had a small shoulder bag only big enough for his kit lens and my small Sigma 70-300. Understandibly that it would raise eyebrows, I had my 70-200 2.8L IS and my 24-70L in my small Canon backpack. Obviously upset without any justification for the rejection, I asked "What do you consider a 'Professional camera'"? To which the oblivious lady summoned for another gentleman whose only explanation was that MY equipment was considered a "professional camera". I explained that I am NOT a professional photographer and was only there to capture shots like everyone else from my seat, but to no avail. I left it at that and did not cause a fuss over it since I was also there as a motocross enthusiast to watch the race. But when we returned from the car I took note that there was no posted limitations to photography equipment. The only re-itteration I saw or heard was no smoking, no laser pointers, and no video recording equipment (all of which I saw several samples of throughout the evening... so much for thoroughness or consistency). Even on the event ticket itself the only limitation stated, "No video recording equipment permitted". On top of that, once in the complex, I saw a half-a-dozen people with DSLRs like my own (i.e. D Rebels, D40s, etc.) walking about. I was also there about 8 months ago for a freestyle motocross event without my L's (but with my older Sigma lenses and same body/grip) and was given no trouble at all.
I'm sure all of you have run into similar scenarios at events of this nature and am just curious to know what type of questions I should ask next time I'm refused admission in this manor or if I have any justifiable rebuttal to the rejection. It just angers me to see venues and event promoters vilify people who are there to do no harm with no justifiable reason.
Sorry for the rant, but what do you guys do in situations like this?