So you want to race... Welcome to the club.
Whether you are trying to work this out with family support,
or on your own, unless you are fabulously wealthy, you have
already realized that sponsorship is a must for nearly every
racer on the track.
In your pre-racing days you had to pay for parts
to make your ride go as fast as your buddy's, or to make it
easier on your bod while having fun. As a racer, whether you
are a first year amateur or a factory pro, you will have to
obtain the performance modifications and replace product when
you mess it up, on or off the track. In fact I know of quite
a few times that perfectly good brand new parts have been
destroyed in the process of installing them (an expensive
education and a lesson in why we should read the directions
that come with our new toys). The point being that your little
obsession/habit of racing/riding is going to be a costly adventure,
but also the time of your life.
Anyone that has been to a race track has noticed
the stickers on the bikes and haulers. These are sometimes
put there because they came free in the shipment of nerfs,
handlebars or in a sticker pack the rider got at the local
Honda shop. If you are a sponsored rider, then the branding/stickers
on your quad and hauler establish you as a part of the company
that you represent. Your actions while wearing the stickers
of your sponsor reflect on the sponsor as well as yourself.
Sponsors consider that when choosing riders.
Next question, "How do I get a bunch of
those stickers without paying for them or the parts they come
Answer: "You do your darndest to earn sponsorship."
Simple. Right? Not really. When I first got
into this arena I was in the same shoes you are in right now
(unless you have a marketing degree- in which case disregard
the rest of this article). My background had nothing to do
with how to write a resume for a racer. Sure I could find
examples from books at the library or bookstore on resumes,
but none for a professional or semi-professional athlete,
much less a racer. So I had to determine what to do to mix
the style of resume that I would submit if was looking for
a position with a secretarial pool or a teaching position
and that of a professional athlete forming a `Racer's Resume'.
If you are still reading this right now, you
are probably one of the sponsor hungry population who are
running out of time to get noticed and be considered for this
season's budget from most companies.
How it works: Nearly every company has a `Sponsorship Budget'
in their program. Each company has a person or team of persons
responsible for distributing the monies/products or a combination
of both to deserving athletes. This person or team of persons
is called `Rider Support'. Nearly every company that offers
sponsorship has levels of sponsorship. Common levels are A,
B & C level support, Pro and Factory. Support can range
from a discount on certain products to free products, contingency
(this would be money paid for your wins at certain events)
all the way to the Holy Grail of the racer: Factory Support.
Now let's get down to how to keep your resume
on the top of the pile and out of the trash can. Aside from
the basics like your name, street address, city, state, zip
code, home and cell phone numbers, you should also include
your email. A common mistake, believe it or not, is to leave
out contact information. Jack Bednar, from Lonestar Racing,
has had to dig through the trash pile before to find the right
envelope that a resume came in to find out how to get in touch
with the rider.
Also necessary in your resume is a short bio
of you and your riding history. Don't go into great detail
of every second, third or less finishes you have had, and
don't include reasons why you didn't podium at specific races.
Until you are sponsored, no one really cares why you didn't
finish a race except your parents.
Photos are a must. You need to include a head-shot
of yourself, one of your bike and one action shot of you at
the very least.
References must be listed on your resume. Make
sure to include contact information on your references as
Submit your resume to the right people, during
the right time frame. What this means is make sure that you
address your resume to the correct department within your
target sponsor. Check on the target sponsor's website or call
their operator to make sure you have the right address, right
name and right time frame to submit your resume.
OK, these are the rules. Sounds pretty easy
so far. If this was all there is to it, you would not have
read this far.
Strategy & Cheat
This section is more the strategy than cheat codes. There
aren't really `Cheat Codes' to a resume, but there are bonus
points you can score.
Let's review what we have done so far. We have
a basic 4 page resume. You have included all the `regular'
stuff and are following all the rules. Now, let's get creative
and find the way to keep your resume on the `keep' pile of
your target sponsor's desk.
First of all do not even consider handwriting
your resume. Make sure you use a good word-processor and spell
check it. Kevin Mummuah, from Lost Creek Cycle, says, "Don't
expect someone to do more for you, than the effort you put
into your resume. I can tell how much work they put into it
when I open them. The ones that haven't spent the time are
Your focus should be to maximize what you can
offer your potential sponsor in the form of endorsing their
product and how to communicate that you can do this to the
sponsor. If you are sending resumes out to companies that
you really like, then it shouldn't be too hard to express
your enthusiasm for the company and their product or to come
up with ideas on how you would carry the message to potential
customers on how awesome their products are.
Is your brain full yet? Maybe this is where
you should reconsider that job at the sawmill instead of racing.
I know I have suggested something like this a couple of times
to my racer....
Beginning with your contact information review
what you have there. Format your information with your name
in bold print. This is important. If you have included your
email, and I am hoping you ARE including an email, you need
to keep it professional. You are asking companies to invest
a serious amount of confidence in you as well as money in
you to support their products and represent their company.
If you have an email of email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
(I don't know if these are real emails or not), it definitely
gives a certain impression. Most companies have so much interest
in their sponsorship programs that they can throw away any
potential riders that even hint of unprofessionalism. Go ahead
and keep your identity nickname for chat and private messages,
but obtain a professional email with your name in it like
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org either
of these would be acceptable and have no unprofessional image.
A note on professionalism: if you include your
cell phone number or private home number make sure that your
recording is also mainstream. No radical music interludes,
raps, or weird recordings. Keep it short and sweet. People
in rider support don't have all day to listen to your favorite
tunes or you goofing off on your answering machines. Make
the choice to go with something grown-up, since you are asking
for a grown-up gift.
Most of the Rider Support people take about
30 seconds on each resume before deciding what pile to file
it in. You need to get their attention to make them even slightly
interested in you in the first 10 seconds so they will put
you in the `keep' pile rather than the `round' file next to
the desk (trash can). Start your resume with an eye catcher.
What catches your eye? An action photo would be a good idea.
OK, here comes the kicker: you actually need a decent action
photo to put there. If you don't have some that have been
professionally done, get some. Next make sure that the reader
can tell it's you. Below are two examples. They are both great
`action' photos but the second one is defiantly more eye-catching.
Also use good sizes but not to overwhelming and use good quality
prints. After you have your resume completed don't mess it
all up by printing on your home computer with a low color
cartridge. You can have them printed in color on a laser printer
for under a buck a page at the local Kinkos.
Make sure that you are the focus and that action
is clear. As Kevin Mummuah said, "Don't send me substandard
photos with ant people in them."
Next you need to describe what your abilities
and qualifications are. Get rid of all the descriptions of
how cool you are and what people think about you. Do include
action words describing what you can do. Be willing to back
it up. And keep it short.
Make sure to include a short history of your
wins. Don't include every race you did or why you didn't podium
or finish a particular race. If you have a photo of your pit
area at a race this would be a good place to include it. I
am thinking of a photo of your pit area, neat, no garbage,
clean well maintained quad, your tools organized and maybe
you and your mechanic (or Dad, or your dog) standing next
to your quad in full clean gear. Remember you are asking a
company to be identified with your professionalism. Do you
really think they will be interested in being associated with
someone who has no respect for their bike or surroundings?
Include where you plan to race for the upcoming
season. Just list the series that you plan to do in full.
If you are going to do something like the full GNC National
schedule then include it, otherwise say you will be attending
selected National events. Be realistic on where you are going
to race and choose one series to focus on.
Spell check. Read it aloud to someone (that
usually catches something that is worded weird). Check your
formatting. Make sure you don't have lines that look
this in your resume.
Do your homework. Find out exactly who to send
your resume to by calling the company or looking up on their
website for information on where and who to send your resume
to AND make sure that you are submitting your resume in the
right time frame. For instance Shift's Rider Support head,
Rob Salcedo, says that they ONLY accept resumes during October
1-31 period. Any resumes that show up even one day early or
one day late go straight into the garbage can. Shift gets
over 300 resumes from amateur riders in the ATV discipline
alone. Clancy Schmitt, from Hiper-Technology, says they get
over 500 per year. The competition is stiff for those sponsorships.
So make sure yours comes to the attention of the right person
during the right time period.
Spell out how you plan on earning your sponsorship.
Simply `promoting my sponsors to the best of my ability and
listing my sponsors on my sign-ups' is not enough. This is
EXPECTED not a perk from you. Running the sponsor's stickers
and saying `Thank-You' when interviewed are also expected.
Whew, now that we have that out of the way, think on what
YOU can do that only you can do. Be original. Be clear on
what your plans are.
Spell out exactly what you would like your sponsor
to do for you. Do not expect free stuff. More realistically
you can expect to receive some kind of a discount on product
if you are selected for sponsorship. Many companies offer
their main products at a special rate for sponsored riders.
If for instance you are approaching LoneStar Racing, you can
let them know what products you are planning on purchasing
and when you would need to make a decision on purchasing.
Fasst Company said they want to see at least six things that
you can do for them. Chris and Cole say, "Whatever you
want from this company, you need to be prepared to do double
References are important. Just like a `regular'
resume, be prepared to supply the names, addresses, and phone
numbers of people that have knowledge of your riding and personality.
Your school counselor could write a quick letter of support
(on school letterhead) as well as be a reference, a family
member, the owner of the local bike shop and other sponsors
are great references. Other riders are not good references.
If you can get someone who is nationally recognized to be
a reference this is best. The ATV industry is quite small
and many people know each other well enough to just give a
If you are under 18 years old, it is absolutely
imperative that you include the fact that you have family
support. Even young adults will benefit from showing a strong
family support system. Be prepared to show who you are, not
just what you do. This is hard to accomplish in a 4 page resume
but can be done.
Presentation. Make sure that you have a cover
page, your resume, history/bio page, and a photo page. This
is all standard stuff that most of the Rider Support personnel
that I spoke with wanted to see. They also have some pet peeves
of what is not cool to them.
Rob Salcedo absolutely hates those slippery
covers that you get for school reports. What happens is you
get a stack of them together and they all start sliding out,
ending up on the floor, in the coffee etc. So binders are
a big no-no. A simple staple or cover that is not slippery
is good. Have I mentioned spell checking yet? Take pride in
yourself and your request. Let your potential sponsor see
who you are.
Biggest mistakes include: non typed or non word
processed resume; slippery folders; the quote, `will promote
your company to the best of my ability'; large files emailed
to company; too short of a resume; too long of a resume; and
Every company that I spoke with accepted resumes
in mail form. A few accepted emails, and fewer still accepted
FAXed resumes. Nearly every company accepted resumes in October
and November. A few accepted them in September and a few accepted
them in December. After January 1 no one that I spoke with
would look at a resume.
Each company that I spoke with had different
levels of support. Scot Denton, from Denton Racing, said they
have four levels of support. Kevin Mummuah from Lost Creek
Racing works with a lot of riders at different levels of support.
Lost Creek has their pros but also a large number of amateurs
and pros who are not even on the roster for Lost Creek, who
sometimes end up getting on track support from Kevin. Hiper
Technology has three levels of support. Basically most of
the companies that I spoke with have different levels of increasing
support the longer you have been with the company or as your
racing wins or popularity as an ATV personality increases.
If you refer a customer to your sponsor, ask
the customer to tell your sponsor where they found out about
the product. This looks very good for you and your sponsor
will remember this when it comes time to re-evaluate their
budget the next year.
Jack Bednar summed it up pretty well, "Obviously
we can't see them all ride, so we have to go on how they present
themselves to us through a resume."
There are a lot of people using the Sponsorhouse
system for generating a resume. This is a great resource,
and OK to use, for a starting point. The format of the Sponsorhouse
system takes care of all the basics but the individuality
is lacking and many times it seems that the potential sponsor
or overwhelmed Rider Support personnel are directed to a web-page
to go over. Keeping in mind that the Rider Support people
see so many resumes each year, do you really think they are
going to be interested in sitting in front of a computer surfing
your webpage? Sponsorhouse is a great addition to a traditional
resume that is sent out as a hard-copy to your target companies
and can really help as the year goes on by keeping your hard-won
sponsors up to date on what is happening with you. I would
not rely on Sponsorhouse to do it all for you though.
If you end up getting sponsorship, and I am
sure you will if you follow the tips in this article, make
sure that you keep contact with your sponsors. Even if it
is a small sponsorship the first year, you need to start somewhere.
Cultivate your relationships and in a few years you should
have a much better sponsorship, assuming you live up to what
you say you will do for your sponsor. Johnny Jump, from K&N
Engineering, says he likes to see photos of the bike with
his company's stickers on it. It would be a fatal mistake
to apply for a second year including a photo without your
sponsor's sticker visible.
Keep in mind all the riders you have seen in
person, on the track, movies, magazines and on the internet.
They are all potentially competing with you for the sponsor
You have to sell yourself. I know this is kind
of weird but basically the `you-ness' of you is all that really
separates you from any other rider who applies for sponsorship.
I know it feels odd but you need to bite the bullet and go
As an added bonus you can view Dana Creech's
2003 Resume online through his website.
Have fun, ride safe and don't forget to call
**This article has been written entirely by
and is the property of Teresa Creech to benefit the ATV Community.
No affiliation is suggested between the writer and any of
the people interviewed for this article nor any website that
this article may eventually be found on other than Dana Creech
Racing. The original copy of this article is posted in the
forum at www.danacreechracing.com
5064 Walnut Drive
Eureka, California 95503