Spotlight: Alex Gren

Monday, September 30, 2013
As many of you know, Alex Gren won the Magnolia BMX pick for the Yeah Zine video contest. I absolutely love this edit, and it's certainly on my "get pumped for riding" collection. I thought it would be fun to do an interview with this lady. Alex is 21, from Salt Lake City, Utah, and you can read on to learn more about her.

Alex Gren from Day May on Vimeo.

How did you get into BMX? I started racing when I was about 8 at the local track (Rad Canyon) and when they started doing indoor races, they built a "pro section" and I just watched all the local pro's jump it and do all sorts of tricks over it. I began to fall in love with the freestyle scene, so I started riding at local parks. After I turned about 17, I stopped racing and stuck with parks and dirt jumps and stuff.

Ah! I'm going to cry! There are not a lot of girls in their 20's who are still racing. Why did you stop? 

I stopped racing not because I didn't enjoy it, but I never had a class at the local races, so I would get stuck riding with the 17-18 expert class, which those guys are fast! And thanks to money, I couldn't make it out to a lot of the nationals as much as I used to. So it was time to move on for me. I think females in their 20's or even just getting out of high school, tend to drift off of racing because of other things like college or jobs and stuff that tends to get in the way. Racing takes a lot of dedication, but I definitely learned most of my riding skills from racing.

I’ve seen your most recent edit and your older “I’m a girl” edit. Both displayed really beautiful scenic images of Salt Lake City. Aside from the landscape, does Salt Lake City have a lot to offer for riders if someone were to be in the area?

Not a lot of people realize how big the scene is here in Utah, We have some of the worlds biggest pro's such as Mike Aitken, Matt Beringer, Cameron Wood, Fuzzy Hall, Shawn "Elf" Walters, and so many more. There has to be well over 20 parks in Utah, most of them are super awesome. As for street, downtown is one of the best places as well as the University of Utah has awesome spots, and all over the valley theres always stuff to find. For dirt, theres tons of places, PC Dirt jumps, Tanner park, and lots of people have trails in their backyard. BMX is huge in Utah, and I'm stoked to be apart of it! If anyone is in town and wants to ride some awesome places I'm always around haha.

In addition to your riding, your video also had excellent editing in it, and the music selection was perfect. How did this all come about, who was involved, how long did it take to film everything, etc

Well, I haven't made an edit in almost 3 years since this most recent one, and after getting hit by a car in 2012, I really wanted to show my improvement after recovering from that. The Yeah Zine video contest motivated it a little more, so with big help from my buddy Day May (who was behind the lense on both this video and the "I am a girl" video) we were able to film this edit within a couple weeks. Big shout out to Day, he has awesome skills with a camera, and he also does amazing tattoos! Lol.

Do you have any plans coming up, another edit maybe or travel plans?

I'd love to make another edit, definitely in the near future I'll have one. As for traveling, I'd like to explore outside of Utah, I've been all over the west coast for racing and such, but I'd like to head east to see what it's like out there, and I'm also planning a trip to Texas here towards the end of the year. I'd like to get to some contests and stuff, but haven't had the money to get there quite yet.

Is your life 100% BMX or just a portion of it?

I'd say my life is about 90% BMX. Unforunately I don't get paid to ride my bike so aside from BMX I do have a full time job, (gotta pay the bills somehow haha) But I ride everyday whether its around the streets or somewhere adventurous.

If you could choose who to be sponsored by, who would you choose? and to make it easier on you, let's say it was just flow - no money involved. Are there any companies out there that you believe in, morals and all?

If I had my choice, S&M or FIT would be awesome because I look up to all the riders on those teams, not to mention a lot of them are locals too lol. I've ridden a FIT frame since I started riding. But a shoe company would be rad, Vans especially, I love shoes haha. There's a lot of awesome companies out there, I'd take almost any opportunity that got thrown my way. It would be a dream just to be able to represent someone.

Flatland Forward - 2014 Video Contest

Saturday, September 28, 2013
Here is a first of its kind! Please tag/tell every girl flatland rider you know. Entry is FREE, Registration opens OCT. 1st 2013 on Details to come.

So You're Sponsored Now?

Monday, September 23, 2013
I'm assuming you've all read my article on how to get sponsored and either got sponsored from it or gave up entirely. In case you were wondering what being sponsored means (from the perspective of the rider), I've got some great people below and different levels of sponsorship for you to live through. So go make yourself some popcorn and glue your eyes to the screen because there's a lot of reading for you to go through before next week's test. (There's no test..)

Peta Shepherd (Brisbane, Queensland, Australia)
Current Sponsors: Colony BMX, Primary Threads, Magnolia BMX.

Tell us about the first time you were sponsored: 
Colony was the first company to help/support me. I've been riding for them since 2005 (or 2006, can't quite remember). Clint Miller and I were just out riding a skatepark one afternoon, right before the first Colony frame prototypes were due. He just asked if I would want to run one, I was beyond stoked. Of course I said yes, and then later when other products started coming out, Clint just kept helping me out and I'm still riding for them today.

What are your responsibilities being a sponsored rider?
I'm only on the flow team with Colony, which just means no contact. They help me out with my bike, trips and other things that they can. In return, I just get to have fun on my bike, rep Colony at comps and other events, web edits, photos and web site updates. The same goes for my other sponsors.

Camila Harambour (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Current Sponsors: Novik Gloves (USA), MegaRamp (USA), Bodaciuos Clothing (Arg) and GoPro Argentina.
Photo by Andres Harambour
Tell us about the first time you were sponsored: 
Well, the first sponsor I had was an Argentinian brand called Eighties Bike Co in 2008, if I'm not wrong. Then I started riding for the Czech brand 34R from 2010 till this year in June. Now I'm not riding for any bike company, but got hooked up by Total BMX with the bike I'm riding today.

What are your responsibilities being a sponsored rider?
I really appreciate the support I've been giving not only from my sponsors today but from all of them that have helped me throughout these years. Although its something great, it comes with a big responsibility as well. You are not only supported by them, but you are also representing them. Nothing is free, even if they only give you products you still have to give something in return and that's where comes all the media stuff and participating in contest or just being everywhere u can.

I've had some misunderstandings with companies in the past where it was not clear what was that they wanted from me and what I was suppose to get, and that just make things hard. I'm learning from that and therefore trying to have a good communication with the team manager or whoever is in charge.
To be honest, I don't live from riding. I don't get paid to ride my bike and I'm studying in university as well, so is hard to get a job at the same time. I do get financial help some times though or I just try to figure out a way to travel and survive haha. Anyways, I try to be grateful with the support I get from my sponsors and therefore represent them the best way I can.

Drew Bezanson (Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada)
Current Sponsors: Red Bull, Toyota, Fox, GoPro, DK Bicycles, The Shadow Conspiracy, Skullcandy, POC Helmets, Ethika and Ryder distribution.

Photo from
Tell us about the first time you were sponsored: 
My first sponsors were Seshin BMX and Unified clothing. Just two small companies out of the east coast of Canada. At that point I just got a few bike parts and a few T-shirts, nothing changed I just continued riding my bike everyday. I just got to tell people I got helped out by both companies. I ended up moving on from both companies a few years later when I got the opportunity to ride for United flow and Ryder distribution. They were bigger and more established companies that had more opportunity. Both my sponsors prior understood, at first it was just friends helping friends not really sponsorship.

When was your big break and how did it happen?
I think my big break was when I got the opportunity to ride for DK bicycles. I had meet ''Catfish" Zack Yankush which was the DK TM at the time, he announced contests as well. After meeting him and riding a few more contests he called me up with an offer to ride for DK. With that came a little bit of a travel budget and a huge weight off my shoulders. I didn't have to worry so much on how I was going to get to the next contest or afford it. I was able to focus more on just riding my bike.

What are your responsibilities/ expectations being a sponsored rider?
Expectations from my biggest sponsors aren't overly demanding but I want to do my best to represent them for allowing me to live my dream. Each one has different expectations, whether it be from appearances, autograph signings, road trips, social media, filming projects, etc, there is definitely more to it then just riding a bike now.

How has this changed your life from the little kid who had a sponsor to who you are now?
It has changed my life completely, It went from just a childhood hobby to a job but that was my dream. I had to make a lot of sacrifices to do so. It keeps me busy 365 days a year now whether I'm on my bike, in an airport or on social media. I live in Southern California now but am usually in an airport going some where. It's definitely been a wild ride so far, I've missed out on some stuff with friends and family but I also gained a lot from it. Life experience, learning who I am, learning about different cultures, different parts of the world, experiences that money can't buy. I owe it all to a BMX bike and a passion.

Morgan Wade (Tyler, Texas, United States)
Current Sponsors: Hoffman Bikes, HeadRush Clothing, Empire BMX, Maxxis Tires, Ethika, FiveTen Shoes, MegaRamp, Elite Bike Shop, S-1 Helmets and Atomic High Performance. I also get a pretty sweet hookup from United, Profile, GoPro, and Shadow so I like to show them some love every chance I get too.

Tell us about the first time you were sponsored: 
My first actual sponsor was Mutiny Bikes. Steev Inge is the guy that started Mutiny back in the day. He's from the DFW area so it's only natural that we ended up bumping into each other. I say bumping. He saw me ride at an ASA demo back in 2000 and asked one of the other riders who I was. The guy he asked happened to be one of my buddies so Steev asked him to put us in touch. I agreed to ride for him and in return Steev sent me a frame and a few other things like bars, shirts, and stickers. That was about it at the time. All that was expected of me was that I ride his frame, run some stickers, and wear a shirt if I could. He actually almost dropped me within the first month of hooking me up. I broke the first frame he sent me in about two days I think. Then I broke the second and third ones shortly after! His wife actually told him to stop giving me frames because I was too hard on them. Needless to say Steev decided to stay with me anyway. Things got a lot better after that. I stayed with Mutiny for about eight years. Steev was no longer involved with the company. When I left, Mutiny Bike didn't represent who I was and I didn't represent the image they wanted for the company anymore. People change and companies change. Sometimes a sponsor that used to be a good fit doesn't fit anymore and it's time to move on.

What was your transition like becoming a paid professional? When was your big break and how did it happen?
I think my "big break" so to speak was actually the 2003 UGP Roots Jam. That was the first major contest that I did really well in and actually stood out. I ended up getting second place, and no one had seen anyone do Superman Tailwhips quite the way I did them at the time. The rest of that year just kind of fell into place. I got second place at the CFB that year too, which qualified me into the X-Games. I got the cover of RideBMX Magazine that year, and I went on to Finish 3rd at the ASA Action sports Championships. It was a good year for me. All the exposure I was getting made me prime sponsorship material. I started picking up sponsors that paid a few hundred here, a few hundred there, and started to realize that I could actually do this for a living. The next year I won the Roots Jam, the CFB, the Gravity Games, and did well at just about everything else I entered. The rest is history so to speak.

What are your responsibilities/ expectations being a sponsored rider?
Big deal sponsors like Levi's, Etnies, and Amp Energy definitely expect a bit more than the smaller industry sponsors, but it has still always been really laid back. The main thing is when someone is paying you a lot of money to represent their company they expect you to do just that. It's always been no brainer type stuff for me, but I know a lot of guys that have lost support because they couldn't be bothered to wear the correct clothes, shoes, or hat when they were riding or doing interviews. The bottom line is this, if someone or some company is willing to support me to do this for a living, then I'm going to do whatever I can, within reason, to keep them happy, even if that means wearing wacky colored jeans at every contest! I mean hey - everyone is wearing those colored jeans now so you're welcome! Haha!

Caroline Buchanan (Canberra, Australia)
Current Sponsors: DK Bicycles, Oakley, Musashi, Stromlo, Subaru Motors, Box, Tioga, Champion System, Unit Clothing

Tell us about the first time you were sponsored:
I started racing BMX at the age of 5years old on a beat up 10 sizes to big neon yellow Walmart bike. My first race bike at the age of 7 was a Mongoose Superegoose pro. At the time BMX for me was all about fun and I never even knew I could one day be sponsored. The first race team I was selected on was in 2004 when I was 14 years old along with two other London Olympians Brian Kirkham and Sam Willoughby. The team was team O'Neal race clothing and that launched me into the world of sponsorship. From there I got my first free bike at the age of 15 when I signed to race for the Freeagent BMX Team.

Where you are now, do you have to work a 9-5 still?
The past 6 years of working really hard on my profile, image, brand and sponsorships has progressed to where I am at now with bout 24 sponsors in total. The level of sponsorships have progressed over the years from free bikes, to product deals, signature clothing line with UNIT clothing & selling the range at events, bonuses, endorsements right up to now signing contracts with major corporate companies like Subaru Motors.

My 9-5 job is being a full time professional athlete. There is a lot that goes into pedaling a bike very fast around the world and the behind the scenes is not all as glossy and fair tale as the outside world sees.
The growth of support from sponsorships over the years has changed my life and helped in so many ways without this support I would not be able to do what I am currently doing.
Its very important at a young age before you have any sponsors and relying on support from parents or a job to work on your brand and your profile which is key in setting up a solid base to grow sponsors from. This can be anything from local media, social media, personal image, setting up a website or setting up a mailing list of sponsors media and support to send updates to.
The biggest key I have found with sponsorships and media etc in the bike world is you only get out what you put in and you have to work 10times harder for years to snowball the effect of sponsorships and support in the future.

What does it mean to be sponsored by huge companies like DK?
I signed early this year with DK Bicycles and was the first race girl in about 20 years that they had signed with their brand so it was a huge honor for me and exciting times for the future.
The best thing about a brand like DK is they have a solid base, name and history in the sport. DK is a brand that I would love to ride for life with as they are a close knit family brand with a great image that suits me. Being sponsored comes with huge responsibilities its not just what sponsors can do you for you but more so what you can do in return to service your sponsors correctly and give back to them for the support they are giving you.
When you have sponsors its important to remember to you are representing their brand and their image and anything that you do or say can affect their brand and your future with that brand.

I have been lucky to have a Dad in marketing to teach me from a young age some key tips. I started my own website and writing race reports after each major event at the age of 15, creating a mailing list and sending them out to all of my support network, media, friends, family and sponsors. Over the years this mailing list has grown along with sponsorships and the design element has progressed into a photoshop layout. Sponsors love getting kept informed how your sport is going results, media and what your up to. They also love getting the logo recognition on these reports/website/social media, media stories and any time you can remember to thank who makes it possible for you to be doing what your doing.

I think a lot of riders don't realize that it's a job...
Sponsorship is definitely a job and something to be treated seriously and its never just handed to you on a plate. There are multiple levels of sponsorship from local bike shop support, discounts, freebies and product deals, bonuses, endorsements right up to corporate sponsorships.

One thing I have found is it definitely a full lifestyle package especially when signing corporate sponsorships like my Subaru deal. Having a high profile and constantly being in the spot light everything you say, do, post on social media, party you attend is watched by the world and influences past, present and future sponsorship opportunities. A clean image and name is key for helping raise the opportunity of sponsorships and giving a brand every reason to support you and no reason not to support you.

Along with sponsorships comes scarifies, media responsibilities and everything from media crew taking over your house and having mum worried about the nice wood flooring with cameras and people everywhere to attending media campaigns, award nights, charity events, running coaching clinics, attending trade shows, annual sales meetings, guest speaking, team events, signing sessions as well as endless amounts of amazing opportunities and support.

What are the ups and downs of sponsorship?
Sponsorship can be very overwhelming if you look at the big picture. One thing that has helped me is to just tick away and every little stone turned equates to rolling a boulder at the end of the day.
You are capable of more that you know and one thing or commitment now that may stress you out will not in the future as you adapt to the work load and progression.
Sponsorship especially for females in male dominated sports is a constant uphill battle but don't let that set you back. It is also so rewarding and so important to your future and career results.

Some key things to remember:
- Research your favorite celebrities or sporting heroes…look what they are doing and learn from others success.
- Where do people put logo placement to be most seen by people and media.
- Work harder than sponsors and people expect so the chance of the sponsorship deal having more product, more media involved or more salary or bonuses is greater.
- Think out side the box and be different.
- Ask for help I have been very lucky to have a Dad in marketing but also have never been afraid to ask for help and advice.
- Find a mentor someone that you can trust. I have had the help and support from a mentor for 6 years now Tim Chadd who has been the instigator of so many things I have done. As well as 7 time World Surfing Champion Layne Beachley and Olympic Marathon runner Robert De Castella.
- Most important regular communication with sponsors past and present so every year you can continue the relationship and resign with them.
- Never give up and keep pushing!

Purchasing A Flatland Specific BMX Vlog

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Trying to pick out a BMX to start riding flatland can be overwhelming and confusing because there are so many different parts and companies.  This months vlog is all about choosing your approach when it comes to purchasing your first flatland specific bike as a girl rider.
This is a longer vlog but there's a lot of ground to cover on a flatland specific BMX.   We missed August, so consider this a twofer! 

Calamity Jam Festival

Wednesday, September 18, 2013
@Skatepark De Grenoble Skatepark
November 9th & 10th, 2013 At the Grenoble Skatepark

As the emblematic "Calamity Jane" was famous for her
strength of character and tenacity during the conquest of the American West, the Calamity Jam Festival wishes to pay hommage to those girls and women passionate about the Urban Riding Sports and its related culture, who "fight" to create their place in a very masculine world, despite proving day after day that they have no cause to be envious of the guys!

Miyuki Dezaki at VanCity Jam 2013

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Check out this update from our flatland rider Miyuki Dezaki: 
On September 14th, VanCity Jam was held here in Vancouver again. There were about 20 to 30 riders gathered and enjoying the atmosphere. This annual jam was smaller than last year and a few staple riders weren’t able to attend, Travis collier being one, Corey Strat and Percey Marshall. Even though some home town guys couldn’t make it, some new riders came down to check it out and take part in it.

I've attended this jam two years in a row and this time, one of my Japanese friends, a female rider named Kaho Arimura visited me from Japan. Another girl, a street rider named Misae Yoshida came by too and from the USA, some riders drove up from Portland, Seattle and some even flew in from Toronto, Canada. Anthony, a presenter of Flat Web TV -which is the most popular web TV program, came down with his baby and filmed some riders. The edit will be released later on.

At the jam, riders were jamming and getting to know each other. It wasn't very intense, but I felt good in the calm atmosphere. Some riders were showing their progression to each other, and some were talking about their bikes.

About my riding, I almost got a new combo at the end of the jam, but felt very frustrated when I figured I wasn't going to land it that day. I feel ok now because I’m sure I got something new, and I did progress a lot during the jam. What excited me the most was when Cory Fester - who is one of my favourite riders, happened to see me landing a combo and gave me a compliment. This motivated me a lot! I’m now living in Vancouver and a part of Vancouver riding scene, so I will be here next year again for sure. Hopefully, some staple riders can make it then.

Photos by Nelson Yeo.

2014 Flatland Calendar Photo Shoot Update 9/13

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Here's a tiny preview on what we were working on last night for the 2014 flatland calendar. We came across some issues with our original location but we did find a back up that will hopefully come through in the pictures. Our back up had it's own set of issues... the public. Although most people were smart enough to walk around us, some walked right into the shooting area. I even had to fake cough, so that people would get the point and go behind me.

I can't thank Adam Mrowka enough for being our photographer, and being apart of this meaningful project.  Hopefully tonight's shoot will be the last and we won't need to do retakes! Rebecca was amazing. I know there were times when she was discourage but she was willing to do her combo over and over and over again, into the night.  She pours her heart into the flatland and it's just something you can only understand once you meet her.

To some, this calendar is just another marketing tool but to us, it's a milestone for women in BMX. If we're successful, Rebecca would be the very first female to be featured in the calendar. So as you can see, a pretty big deal to us. If you want to help or get involved, click here.

Flatland Rider Araceli Coronel

Friday, September 13, 2013

Flatland for me is a lifestyle.  I simply grab the bike, put headphones on and it seems like I'm alone in the world.  Every time I ride on the bike I feel free, I forget, I leave it all behind, I focus.  Sometimes I can not really be focused because of all the people who stare at me, but then I remember it does not matter.  If you practice you will be great and you'll be used to all those people you admire.  

Despite not having my own bike, I'm very happy because I'm trying get a bike together and learn it with all my friends who ride too.   I feel very safe with them because I found a family to help motivate me a lot in flatland.  The phrase that I use myself is that even though people disappoint you, your bike is always there, haha.  

Falling also does not matter because if you do not work hard, you will never have fun.  Flatland makes me happy and it's great the the sport exists.  It's sad that so few girls are apart of one of the best sports that exists but you have encourage them, and that's all you can do!
~ Ara Coronel

Thanks to Nikita Duccaroz for helping with translation!

BMX Saved Me

Thursday, September 12, 2013
Photo by Nina Davis

In April of 2013, I decided to quit my corporate job of 4 years. I was unhappy, I had no life outside of my job and I stopped riding BMX. After quitting, I spent a lot of time reacquainting myself with my bike, I had forgotten how much I loved riding. Ever since I got my Haro complete a decade ago, I never got the hang of parks, I could ride the ramps but I never really caught onto doing or learning tricks. In late June of 2013, I found myself watching a friend race and rest was life changing.

In a span of 3 months, I've collected 4 trophies, 3 plaques, 5 ribbons and a sponsor! Quitting my dead end corporate job and getting into racing has been life changing. I am so much happier these days, now that I've found a new passion, I guess in some ways an old passion rekindled.

I knew I always liked going fast, so I tried mountain biking, but I hated the rocks and logs. There's nothing more beautiful to me, than a nicely manicured track to ride on. Magnolia BMX is a reflection of my life and what I'm interested in, so thank you for following along and being so supportive. Both Rebecca and I, have big things planned ahead and we can't wait to share them with you.

New Camila Harambour Edit

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Check out this new edit from one of my favorite riders! Camila has been through some hurdles with injuries but it looks like she's back in action, here is what she had to say about her video,

"A year ago I started filming for a street edit, but in the meanwhile I broke my leg pretty bad.. That put me off riding for almost half of the year. Once back on my bike I continued filming and also got the chance to travel to the USA, Europe and South America. I decided, therefore, to make this edit with the street clips and other stuff I filmed during my trip, including some shows and contests."

Remove sweat stains with hair spray!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

I'm getting ready for race day, I have a load of clean laundry and to my dismay, I find sweat stains on my jersey! Frig! I'm going to look gross with these orange stains, and it's already so hard to look half decent in a full face helmet!

So I email Hannah from Team Wrex, asking her how to remove the stains, and she responds with HAIR SPRAY!  She goes on to say "Spray the area generously and rub it with another white, clean piece of fabric. Blot it off and rise. You have to work fast, the hairspray dries." And it worked!

The magic is really in the alcohol, so if you don't have hair spray on hand, try rubbing alcohol. Below is a before and after picture, there were better examples but by the time I thought about posting this, it was too late.

I hope this is helpful for you sweaty monkeys out there. I have a long day of racing tomorrow so wish me luck!

Apparently, I sweat in little dots?

How To Get Sponsored in BMX

Tuesday, September 3, 2013
It's bitter sweet when I get emails like "Are you looking to sponsor anyone?", "Will you sponsor me?", "How do I become pro?"'.... It's sweet because they're emailing you but it's annoying when you get those emails so often (especially from guys, common!). The title is a bit misleading, there's no actual formula in getting sponsored or getting the "pro" status. You might be the best rider out there, but if you have a rotten attitude, it's not going to work out. As you continue to read below, you'll get to see what companies are looking for in a rider, and what they're not. With us, we wanted talented ladies who were passionate about bikes, a good head on their shoulders and similar morals and beliefs. Being friends and getting along with others also played a large role as well.

So around the same time that Ryan Fudger from Ride BMX was contacting industry people in regards to the same topic, so was I. Just to set the record straight, it was purely coincidental that I was working on the same subject. To read Ride's article, click here. To see what some of the big guys in the industry had to say about this topic, continue below.

Magnolia BMX rider Peta Shepherd
Chris Moeller from S&M Bikes

"The most important thing in our book is that someone in our inner circle knows the rider and likes them as a person. That inner circle includes our shops, team riders, distributors, friends, etc. Of course you've got to have skills on the bike too, but being friends with someone we know and trust is key. Then once we're involved that way we'll start to connect the dots and eventually if things go well we be teamed up forever hopefully."

Gaz Sanders from Mutiny Bikes

"We've never gone out looking for riders. It's always been about the right piece for the puzzle and those pieces normally comes from ideas from the guys on the pro team and people they are stoked on who are coming up. This just works for us, we've never set out looking for a certain guys that rides a certain way to suit market needs. It's rad when a teams works together. It's not something you can try create, I think the mixes of so many different characters can create a good vibe on the road and some good times. Also anyone that's looking to make it or step up their game by getting sponsored is normally to likely here a no from us. Enjoy your riding and don't worry about putting the pressure of sponsorship on top of it. If it's going to happen, it will. Just let is come organically and it will be a better experience for both parties."

Jim Cielencki from Sunday Bikes

"There's really many questions a sponsor will ask themselves when looking for a potential team rider. Are they good on a bike? Are there personable? Are they good on camera? Do they look good on and off their bike? Are they confident in themselves? Will people like them? Are they progressive? Are they a self-starter? It could seriously go on and on, nitpicking all the little details.

I'm lucky to have hindsight plus a seat in the industry so, here is what I would do to be a "pro" in today's BMX world. First, I would get really good on a bike by learning what tricks are popular today, but I would add my own twist to it. Nearly every rider emulated someone else's style at the beginning, but they go off in their own direction later on. You will never make it far if you're completely copying what the others are doing. You have to put your own spin, personality and creativity into your riding, so you stand out amongst everyone else doing smith to nose wheelie to barspin. People gravitate to what's new and different not the same tricks they saw in the last 4 web videos they just watched. This doesn't mean you should learn the popular stuff, but don't stop there.

Next thing, I would do is make the most epic and banging web video possible. It really needs to stand out, so spend a lot of time working on it and perfecting it. Remember you only get once chance to make a first impression. For this video, think Danny MacAskill's Inspired video. I know it's MTB, but it's the perfect example of what I'm saying. When that came out, he immediately vaulted ahead of so many other riders who had more sponsors, put in more time and did the "traditional" sponsored route. To borrow a line from Steve Martin, make your video so good that it can't be ignored. By putting out an epic video, you will be on the radar of all the companies in a single day.

At the same time as you are making your video, make sure you are on top of your social media platform. Don't be one of those guys that says "Oh, I don't do this so and so media platform." That doesn't help you one bit and it doesn't make you look good to potential sponsors. Remember this is a new age where you have to be good on and off the bike. In the hardcore BMX world, it's sort of frond upon to promote yourself, but it's becoming less and less of an issue. The big thing is you must be genuine, the world can see through someone who is fake.

Sunday Bikes Rider Jake Seeley

The next thing I would do is to plan and start the next project. Actually, I would be doing this even before the first video drops. Actually, before you do any of it, make sure you monetize your YouTube account, so you can make money off your "epic" videos because in this modern age monetization of videos will be one way for you to get paid as a "pro". By being a self-starter and having your next video idea, you immediately stand out. Companies want to support successful, unique and cleaver ideas. If you have an "epic" video already then you would be able to approach any company about sponsoring your next video project. Maybe not BMX companies, but companies outside of BMX. How cool would it be to get someone else to fund your next video of you riding the Trans-Siberian Express across Russia, driving the circumference of Australia or riding igloos near the Arctic Circle? I keep saying this, but it's a new age, if you can think of it then you can probably do it.

The biggest misconception is that the top of the sponsor chain is the bike companies. This couldn't be further from the truth. In my day, you needed to have atleast 4 sponsors (frame, parts, shoes and clothing) to actually make you enough money to scrape by on otherwise you had to get a job. Today it's really no different, which is why most people have gone outside of the bike companies for sponsors. Energy drink companies like Red Bull are the perfect example of this. The reality is that most BMX companies don't make enough money on their parts to really pay well, so riders have to look beyond BMX to pay for it all. You can definitely be a "pro" rider with "core" sponsors, but in time you will grow weary of barely scraping by. So, look beyond the bike companies to make you a "pro" rider.

Beyond these few things, I would just reinvent my riding every so often and just keep putting out video projects. Once people see you are successful, they will immediately copy what you are doing, so always be on the move otherwise you run the risk of looking like everyone else once you've been completely copied. I hate to say it, but my "plan" is highly influenced by Danny MacAskill, so emulate him, but put you own twist on it."

Sunday Bikes Rider Chris Childs
Cassandra DeGrace from Redbull Canada

"You are correct in thinking that we receive many proposals from Canadians to rep the Bulls & Sun.
Our Red Bull Athlete Managers are always on the lookout for the top up-and-coming talent across the country as they hand-pick all of the athletes that might become sponsored by Red Bull. For that reason there's no way to apply for sponsorship. The way to get noticed is to keep competing and make a name for yourself that way. Nationally, we sponsor some remarkable athletes. You may have heard about some of our newer additions - Marie-France Roy or Brandon Semenuk?! We aren't adding to our line-up, but you can always keep up to date on the select few who've made the cut at"

Fat Tony from Freegun Underwear

"As the BMX team manager for Freegun, when I’m looking at riders to represent the brand a lot of factors come into play. Obviously they have to be a talented rider, but as I’m sure you’ve all heard before, that’s only a small part of the big picture. First of all, when building up the team it was important to us to have diversity. We have two pro flatland riders, two pro ramp/dirt riders, and one pro street rider. Originally the idea was to have two street riders as well, but we hit a wall with our budget before we could fill that slot. Also, we wanted to support amateur riders, so we picked a flow team with one park/dirt rider, one flatland rider, one female rider, and one street rider. Unfortunately our street rider ended up stepping down from the team, but that was the original idea…be diversified with a six person pro team and four person flow team. Also, we wanted to make sure to support young riders and make them feel like they are part of our team and family, so we picked up three groms under the age of 13 that could grow with the brand. With that said, besides the two “open” spots for street riders (that are temporarily on hold due to the budget), the team is pretty stacked and set for the year. When people write in with sponsorship requests, we are never in a place to just randomly add someone. Our team riders are a compliment to the overall marketing plan for the company we came up with last year, so throwing in extra riders don’t fit into that plan (or our budget) right now.

Each of our riders offers something different, and that’s something we are very conscious of. It’s great when a rider is a total package, but some riders put out more web videos, and some riders go to more contests. It’s just the nature of the game, and we want to support riders in all of those realms. We expect each of our riders to put out a Freegun-specific video throughout the year, and we need photos of each of our riders for various applications as well, so when looking for potential team riders, we keep those things in mind.

Freegun Rider Nina Buitrago

The easier a rider is to work with, the better. Nobody likes to work with people who make things difficult. That can come down to how they handle emails and phone calls, how they deal with photo or video shoots, or anything else we have to work with them on. Similarly, even though we haven’t done any team trips yet, we’d never want to have a team rider who we’d feel would be a downer on the road, so personality and attitude definitely factor into who we put on the team.

Again, from a corporate perspective, a team rider is a marketing tool, so we look for how well a rider can help promote the brand and get other people stoked on Freegun. This can be done through their personal appearances at demos or contests, how much they travel and interact with people on trips, TV time, their social network following and engagement, and of course online videos and DVD parts. At Freegun we don’t particularly think one thing is more important than another. We realize they are all important aspects, so we have riders that deliver in each of those areas. For us it’s not a black and white thing where if a rider doesn’t enter contests then he can’t be on the team because we have a diverse enough team that we have that base covered.

To break this down to someone who would be looking at companies as potential sponsors…don’t look at what the company already has, look at what they are lacking. Think about what you can offer them that they aren’t getting with their current team members. How can you help that company out? If you can demonstrate how you’d be valuable to a company, you’ll have a much better shot at getting them to look at you."

Renny Husada from Yess BMX

"I first and foremost look at image. (Clean image, not the bad boy/ bad girl image) I want these athletes to be looked upon in a positive way. Second goes hand in hand with the first where their dedication to the sport is more important than "looking cool" or being with the "in crowd". Their skill is definitely important but not as much as the first two points. Obviously if they have the dedication to the sport, they will have the determination themselves to train for the events that are needed for travel. Right now, I'm very happy with all my riders as I believe that they all reflect what I would like our Team's image to be."

Yess Girls at the BMX Worlds in New Zealand