Two-time X Games Women's Super X gold medalist Vicki Golden broke into the bad boys' club that is the Metal Mulisha this week, becoming the first female team rider in the brand's history.
Joining the Mulisha isn't the first time Golden has smashed through gender barriers in action sports, and she says she aims to use the new sponsorship support to make sure it's not the last.
Golden made headlines in 2011 as the first woman to qualify for a main event on the men's Arenacross circuit, where she now has her sights set on a full pro license. Next up? She's aiming to be the first female to earn a pro Supercross license. We caught up with her for more on her plans for an X Games three-peat and a future of dude domination.
XGames.com: Some of the other women associated with Metal Mulisha are the kind you need to be 18 years old to see pictures of in their bikinis at MetalMulisha.com. What does it represent for you to break to through as a full-fledged team member?
Golden: I met Metal Mulisha co-founder Larry Linkogle out at Pala Raceway, and to have him see something in me and bring me on to be a part of something that's so huge is just mind-blowing. I'm super honored to be a part of it. The funny thing is that, coming from a racing background, freestylers have this image of being stuck up and badass. I'd say it's the opposite: everyone's been super welcoming and super nice.
The biggest thing it represents to me is an opportunity to chase my dreams. I set some pretty big goals for myself a few years ago, but it's hard out there for woman racer with no money. I was getting "no" after "no" from every company I talked to, so to meet Larry and have him want to help was so uplifting because even after everything I'd accomplished at X Games and in Arenacross it still felt like everyone was telling me I wasn't worth their time.
Why is it important to you to hold your own against the guys, in addition to competing in the women's events at X Games and otherwise?
Well, first of all, I want to be involved in X Games any way I can because that's the only place where the women get treated as equals and it's where the best of the best are on the starting line. They only pick the select few who belong there, and that's how it should be.
I started riding Supercross in 2009, just to get the eligibility for X Games, and fell in love with it. A lot of times I'd be out riding with local pros and I'd be right there with them -- these are guys who are making it to the night shows, the main events, and I'm keeping up -- so eventually I thought, "Shoot, I should be going with them."
There have been Supercross races where they've made exemptions for women, but my goal is to earn a full pro license and go all the way.
You've made some main events in Arenacross. How has that helped your confidence to step up to bigger goals?
It's good preparation, for sure. Arenacross is super intense, cut-throat racing. Everything's super tight and if you want to make a pass you may have to take someone out for it. I love that super aggressive racing.
Under the old format you needed 65 points to get a full men's license for Arenacross, and I earned 43, so I got pretty close. Then they changed the format and now you just have to make three premiere matches: three night shows and you get your license. I actually did that the year before they changed it up, so that's where I want to start.
This Metal Mulisha support is going to get me to enough races to try for the Arenacross license -- and the next thing to cross off my list is a Supercross pro license. No chick has ever done either before. I don't want to look too far ahead, though: right now the X Games three-peat is on my mind and I want to learn some freestyle tricks from my new teammates. Then I want to really, truly earn my way to racing with the guys.
What's been the most surprising thing about joining the Metal Mulisha so far?
Everything I grew up learning about how to ride a dirtbike, they go out and do the opposite. That's fascinating to me, and I'm soaking it all in. The first time I hit a big freestyle jump I fell in love with the feeling, so I'm looking forward to learning more from them and being more of a part of their whole scene.