BMX pros with unusual sponsors
Sign on the dotted line...
Beginning in the '80s, BMX riders seeking the support of sponsors have looked outside the traditional realms of bike, shoe and clothing. What follows is a collection of BMX riders past and present that have been sponsored by brands not typically associated with BMX riding.
Kevin Porter, Coffee
While most riders clamor to sign with every energy drink in existence, Chicago's Kevin Porter went with the original energy drink: coffee. Porter has ridden for Intelligentsia and Bowtruss coffee brands, and will soon announce a new coffee sponsor.
Martti Kuoppa, Chiquita bananas
When he began to travel internationally to flatland competitions, Finland's Martti Kuoppa managed to land a deal with Chiquita bananas, who paid for travel to several contests and offered him bonuses when he placed high in competition.
Mike Spinner, Ballpark Franks
For several years during the height of his Dew Tour domination, BMX Park pro Mike Spinner signed with BallPark Franks, a hot dog brand owned by Sara Lee.
Rich Sigur, Zinka
In the late '80s, Haro rider Rich Sigur inked a deal with Zinka, a brand of sunscreen which offered unique colors. During contests, Sigur would paint his face using Zinka. He remains the only face painter to enter a BMX competition.
Scott Powell, Hustler
For a time during the early '00s, Ohio-based flatland pro Scott Powell was sponsored by Hustler Magazine, an adult magazine owned by Larry Flynt Publications. Powell frequently wore Hustler t-shirts during contest runs and featured Hustler stickers on his bike.
Team Murray, Jolly Rancher
In 1986, Team Murray's race team received support from fruit-flavored hard candy brand Jolly Rancher. In fact, for $1, readers of Freestylin' Magazine could order a Jolly Rancer/Team Murray sticker. To date, this may be the only time that a hard candy brand has teamed with a BMX brand.
Terry Adams, Raising Cane's
For the past several years, pro flatland rider Terry Adams has ridden for Raising Cane's, a chain of restaurants based in Louisiana known for their chicken fingers. "Every time I walked in the place I noticed their working crew was a bunch of people that were having fun while they worked. I go there not only for the chicken fingers, but to be around a great atmosphere while I enjoyed my food," said Adams at the time of signing.
Chad Degroot, Piranha water
Several years ago, Chad Degroot and Mark Mulville signed with spring water brand Piranha water. "We had a pretty good deal, drink some water, ride, drink more water, repeat as necessary. With all the energy drinks coming and going, it's pretty refreshing being a part of something as simple as a spring water," said Degroot.
CW Racing, US Air
In the late '80s, before the BMX recession began, CW Racing boasted one of the most unique and sensible team co-sponsors ever: US Air (now known as US Airways). Imagine flying your BMX team around the world for free with help from your co-sponsors.
DK team, 1-800-Collect
Before the advent of cell phones, the DK Bicycles team was sponsored by 1-800-Collect, a collect phone call service introduced by MCI and endorsed by actor Alyssa Milano, motocross racer Jeremy McGrath, and The A-Team alumni Mr. T.
Ben Hennon, Bondi beer
Last year, instead of going the energy drink route, UK BMX Park pro Ben Hennon signed on with Australian beer brand Bondi Beer. According to Bondi Beer, Hennon, 26, is "one of the UK's most prolific professionals in action sports, bringing a unique approach and individual style to his discipline."