Sayers it's so: Tales of a rider-promoter
For Keith Sayers, staying busy is the name of the game. Growing up in Montana and racing motocross he found himself at that point that so many of us come to when the road to making money off being a racer becomes bleak.
He quit racing at 17 and after taking a couple of years off from riding, Sayers was introduced to FMX through a new friend, and Sayers eventually established himself as a credible promoter with a busy schedule.
Being from Butte, Mont., up toward the northern part of the country, Sayers has done many shows in Canada, including the popular Calgary Stampede.
We caught up with Sayers late in the summer when the demo season was winding down, and this is what he had to say.
ESPN.com: How often do you put on shows?
Sayers: So far in 2012 I've only had four weekends off.
Busy is good in freestyle.
Yeah, no complaints for sure!
What are some of your big demos/shows you put on?
Evel Knievel Days is always a big one for me, it's in my hometown [Butte, Mont.]. I help put together a lot into that show beyond the freestyle portion of it.
I also have done the Calgary Stampede the past four years. This was their 100-year anniversary, they call it the "Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth." Being a part of that was pretty cool, the night show was filled with dancers, performers, and FMX, and it was sold out every night with 22,000 people. We had the take-off ramp raise up out of a elevator and we jumped over a 100 kids dancing, three jumps a night for 10 days straight.
I also just got done doing the Vancouver PNE [Pacific National Exhibition in British Columbia] which is a show a friend of mine [Rob Waloschuck] created and it's a story called the "Evolution of Extreme." It's about the beginning of the sport, starting out in the dunes and riding in the hills [natural terrain] to ramps and the progression of the sport into the flips, we had Cody Elkins flipping a quad, Heath Frisby flips his snowmobile. Then we end it with all three of us flipping side by side. The Calgary show sounded like a good one.
Yeah, it was good, we had an elevated run in and the whole set-up was good. Pretty cool to see the behind the scenes stuff for such a huge show.
Who are some of your main guys you have ride your shows?
Ted Culbertson is my main guy that does all my demos with me, Billy Kohut and Russ Warren. Heath Frisby has been doing shows with me for the last six years. I have Kenny Bell do a lot of stuff with me as well. I have a good group of core guys that I work, and ride with. When I did Evel Knievel Days I bring in guys like Nick Dunne, Taka [Higashino], Drake McElroy.
How did you get into doing shows?
I had raced MX from 12-17 and I used to be one of those racer kids who would always do the halftime jump shows, especially towards the end of racing, then I took a two-year break from riding.
I met Steve Miller from scsunlimited.com, In the beginning Steve and I started out with us just going out and trail riding and I would help him at the FMX demos he was doing and the friendship grew from there. He got me into freestyle, helped show me the business end of things. I bought my first mobile set up [mobile landing ramp] from him and six years later two more mobiles here we are today.
I used to drive to Bozeman, Mont., every day after work where he had a ramp set-up to ride. And in 2004 I did my first demo. It kind of just worked into me buying the ramp set-up and taking over what Steve and everyone at SCS had built.
SCS is now a company that supports the sport doing graphics for Riders like Taka, Brody Wilson, Heath Frisby, Rob Adelberg, Rich Kearns and myself and even doing full semi wraps for GoPro. So it's cool they are a company that gives back to the sport that has helped it grow. I still have a lot of involvement in the company and when I'm done riding I hope to have a full-time job working there.
That's cool how you got into it and where you're at now. So how's the riding in Montana?
I own 14 acres of land, I have a supercross track, a motocross track and then a full FMX course with seven ramps so the freestyle scene is pretty good for places to ride. The trail riding is what's the best part out here. There's trails for days. We have a lot of single track trails through the trees for days and days.
Yeah, growing up in Reche Canyon we did a lot of trail riding and a lot of times you'll be burnt from hitting the same ramp over and over but sometimes you just want to get that seat time in riding and going out doing trail riding can satisfy that need.
For sure, and that definitely happens, doing as many shows as I do. I usually try to practice to keep on top of everything and learn new stuff but after doing demos all year I try to take advantage of the trail riding when I can, and It's not near enough.