We're coming up on that time of year when race seasons are over and racers from all over the country are putting the final touches on their updated sponsor letters in an effort to gain more support for the 2013 race season. While wearing their gear, using their product in the pits or having the decals in clear visible spots is how showing appreciation is normally done, there are far better ways to spread the word for these companies that keep you racing.
Every year it's the same old story that I hear from so many companies that have sponsor programs. "We sponsor these riders and give them our request (ranging from calling in with updates or mailing in updates) but very seldom do we ever hear anything back once they've gotten what they want. This just gives them an idea on what to expect from you for next year and potentially drop you from their radar or put your new updated resume in the round file that sits next to the desk. Keeping your end of the bargain is much more than running whatever product they give you or putting a sticker on your quad. I've seen so many people at the races that talk as if the people that give them their product for sponsorship should be honored to be a part of their program for that 10th or 11th place finish out of an 11 rider field. Remember when you send the letter to them? It certainly wasn't them hunting you down from across the country.
One rider that I feel is a great example for people to follow is our new 2012 ATV MX Champion Chad Wienen. While I don't know him on a great personal level, i've spoken with him quite a few times over the phone or at the track and have always felt that he was a good kid. After recovering from an unfortunate injury last year that would have had many others hang up their helmet, he recovered and trained hard because he had a fire inside of him that wanted the championship. Late in the game he was able to gather a group of sponsors that would help him throughout the year and in return he showed his appreciation. Of course he would give them their props on the podium, but more so he would take to social media channels like Twitter ( www.twitter.com/wienen44 ) or Facebook and thank all of his sponsors for their help. Not only would he be doing this after his wins, but he would do it after random practice sessions at his home track, or if he got some new graphics or situations like that. This is the top pro in the country that is stepping up and showing how much all of the support means to him and is helping him achieve his goal. There are even some Pro racers that are out there racing because they just have a good time and are getting backed in huge way by their sponsors because they represent well and really support their product.
Many amateur and even other top level Pro's should take a lesson from Chad. If you're an amateur, it takes all of the support to help keep your budgets down and build a worthy race machine that can keep you competitive. Make sure that you keep that bike looking good and that you are physically fit to make their products look good on the track as well. If you want to get to the top, you need all of the help you can get, unless you can fully support yourself.
For all of you Pro's, you need to remember the people that helped and continue to help you stay on your A game. Just because you're in the top 5 every weekend doesn't mean that you can't give your sponsors a call and say thanks every once and a while to show how much you appreciate their efforts. I'm not saying that every one of you out there is like this because I know plenty that properly represent their support, but i've never seen one go above and beyond like Chad and I think it was good for people to see.
Anyways, that was my 2 cents for the day and hopefully it makes you think about what people will and should expect out of you when you start sending out your letters asking for 2013 support. You never know... if you step up your game, they may step up your program for next year.