Everyday fans don't often get very close to top athletes, let alone take part in their sport, but the Shift Ride On Tour made this happen by bringing FMX riders together with fans in selected hometown riding spots.
Shift Racing created a five-stop tour based on the success of a 2011 video film trip to Glamis, Calif., called "The Sandbox." At each stop local Shift dealers were invited out along with the local riding community to ride with guys such as Jeff Emig, Josh Hill, Jeremy Stenberg and Carey Hart. With the help of social media creating exposure that Shift was coming into a town, all five stops of the tour were very popular. Tons of video and pictures came from each stop and it was full of good vibes and fun riding.
Over the past few years motocross fans and riders might have noticed a revamping of the Shift brand image, starting with the signing of Chad Reed. A new simplistic gear design mixed with original Shift artwork from the Emig days has them back on track, looking refreshed and ready to make their mark in 2013.
With guys like Josh Hill, Carey Hart, and few other riders finishing up their deals, the Shift team is looking better than ever and slated to make a bigger impact next year.
Shift marketing director Rob Salcedo took some time to talk about the motivation behind the Shift Ride On Tour, their team riders, some possible new additions and the future of the 2013 plans for Shift Racing.
ESPN.com: What was the Shift Ride On Tour all about?
Salcedo: In October of 2011 we did a trip out to Glamis with a bunch of our team riders: Josh Hansen, Myles Richmond, Josh Hill and Jeff Emig to name a few. We shot the "Sandbox" video. And it was a fun trip where we went out and sessioned the dunes and really just had fun riding.
The video was really, really popular, it was one of the highest viewed videos we've had as a brand. So we took note of that and we were planning some marketing initiatives for this year, brainstorming and took that idea of that fun vibe kind of trip we took in 2011 and decided to make it into a tour. We picked some spots out around the country, touched base with our sales crews around the country on where some of the good riding spots were in those regions and did a five-stop tour around the country based on that "Sandbox" video idea.
We rolled the Shift bus out, camped out and everyone came and rode, had a good time. We tied into every stop, except for Glamis, an autograph signing with the Shift riders that were at that stop of the tour. It was cool; we're already talking about what we're going to do next year.
Will it be back next year?
Yeah, next year as of right now, we're planning on it. We're trying to figure out some new spots to go to. Right now we're planning out all the 2013 initiatives but as of right now I'm pretty sure it's going to stay that way because it was such a popular event and everyone that went had a good time. We got a lot of really good assets out of it with all the video and photo galleries we did with it.
I saw that you had invited the local riding communities at every stop of the tour to come out and ride with the Shift team riders that were at those stops. How was the turnout with the local riding community?
Yeah, that's the biggest thing, you know, it was open to the public and a lot of times these guys when they're at the races they're on a crazy schedule and they don't really have a lot of time to hang out with the normal everyday consumer. And those are the true fans that follow these guys.
So to bring these guys out to spots that for one, they normally wouldn't ride, and two, to have it be that fun kind of riding vibe, I think is what made it really popular too. We were in some locations where people couldn't believe that whoever it was, whether it was Jeff Emig or Josh Hansen, Carey Hart, that those guys were there at their local riding spot. So it was definitely good consumer feedback for sure.
I heard there was some definite roughing it at one of the locations, no hot water for a few days?
[Laughs] Yeah, we were out in the backwoods of Georgia at a place called Durhamtown, the fourth stop on the tour, fun stop man, they had eight or nine MX tracks, a thousand acres of open riding, trails and all kinds of good stuff out there. We stayed in some cabins that were definitely different from the normal hotel accommodations but it was a fun time though, and they were great people.
You guys have built a pretty stellar team with MX, FMX guys and recently it looks like you added Jeremy Stenberg to the lineup officially.
Yeah, we've got Stenberg on board now and we have Blake "Bilko" Williams, Myles Richmond who is recovering from a pretty gnarly get- off at X Games this year, we're hoping to see him back on the bike soon. And on the racing side right now we have Chad Reed, Josh Hill, who was just named the second rider for RCH Racing team. We have some other things in the works but nothing a 100 percent yet.
I know Stenberg, Bilko can be characters. Were there any funny pranks or good stories?
Those guys are a good time, no matter where they go they always have fun. There was nothing really too gnarly. At all the stops it was like a camping trip with all your buddies [that's] what the vibe was all about. Mainly they were roosting each other in the sand, that kind of stuff but, yeah, nothing too crazy (laughs).
It looks like you guys at Shift have breathed new life into the brand in regards to the gear's new look and creating a stellar team of riders?
Yeah, it's been awesome with the rebranding of the [company] and picking up Chad Reed. Obviously he's been such a huge part of it, and following the gear he had last year, it's been awesome. It's brought a breath of fresh air to the brand.
I've been a part of the brand for many years now and it's been really exciting the last two years and looking forward to what 2013 will bring to the brand. I can say that I recently just saw the designs for the 2013 gear and if you like what we have out now, you'll love what we have coming down the pipe, it's right on track with what we've been doing. I look forward to getting that line launched in 2013.