Within the Motocross and Supercross industries it's common knowledge that those at the top of the sport get the most opportunities. It goes without saying that the attention and spotlight lies solely on those house-hold names and factory. So what happens to the rest of the pack? What spotlight do the privateers get? Well, often times they don't get much opportunity or attention. Over the years it has become increasingly difficult to compete at the top level of racing as a privateer. The cost of racing in the professional series is astronomical to say the least and many privateers struggle to follow their dreams and make a run at the top. There are very few companies and programs who are hoping to change this. The goal of The Collective Experience is change the sport in a positive way and give privateers all over a bigger platform and funding to stay competitive. Naturally, when we come across others who share the same vision of impact within the sport we do our best to share their story. Garrett of Privateer Life MX is doing some incredible work with the sports privateers and has been working diligently to help raise funding and awareness for these working class athletes. We wanted to find out a bit more about Privateer Life MX as well as Garrett's plans for the future. We hit up Garrett to get the inside scoop on everything.
Hey Garrett! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
I grew up in the Bay Area and was somewhat of a late bloomer when it comes to motorcycles. My dad taught me how to ride in a creek bed on some old Honda 90 when I was a kid. I didn't get my own dirt bike until I was probably 21 in college. I got a '92 KX125 and things progressed from there. I graduated from Cal Poly with a degree in Mechanical Engineering in '99 and then started riding a lot more. My friends got me into racing Hare Scrambles with District 36 shortly after that. The hare scrambles started implementing more motocross tracks into their loops and I realized I sucked at riding track so I started practicing and racing Moto exclusively. I haven't raced in a few years just due to having 2 daughters and life being busy, but I do plan on getting back into it.
What drew you to the sport?
Once you start riding and racing a lot you seem to be drawn to all things motorcycles it seems...almost any discipline you can admire and get excited to watch or participate in. I've done about every stick and ball sport growing up, lettered in 3 sports in HS and will say by far that Moto is the hardest sport to be at a top level in. That's where a lot of my admiration comes in for what these guys do.
Where did your passion for the races come from?
When you start racing and then you actually go watch pros in person whether it be SX or MX, you see how good they really are. Then you obviously buy every video you can get your hands on just to get your fill for watching the pros do what they do. My other passion just comes from knowing how much work has to go in to being at a top level in this sport and I can appreciate anyone willing to make that much sacrifice to reach their goals. I've always told anyone that asks that once you ride a dirt bike it's in your blood and you will ride the rest of your life if you can.
Can you explain a little bit about Privateerlife.MX?
Privateerlife.mx was inspired from finding out and seeing just how rough things are out on the road for the guys chasing that dream on a shoestring budget. They truly are the life's blood of the sport. Back when the "Great Outdoors" MX Videos were coming out they had a spinoff of those videos called "The Privateers". I remember watching those with my roommates and seeing how much those guys struggle on the road in every way. That was probably 10-15 years ago. As I was watching those videos I just told myself that I would totally let a guy like that come stay at my house, feed him, let him do a load of laundry, etc. Anything to make his journey a little easier and hopefully save him some money on the back end. So like any other idea you think of how great it would be, self doubt creeps in and those ideas just never end up seeing the light of day. So earlier this year I was just looking at my life and told myself that I didn't want to look back when I'm 65 or 75 years old and wonder what if? So I kicked all that self doubt in the nuts and accepted that I would rather see an idea fail than never try at all and that's when a friend and I started designing the website. I do want to emphasize that this website isn't just for pro license holders chasing their MX/SX dreams. This site is for any discipline of motorcycle racing, age, skill level, etc. Every discipline does a fair amount of traveling as you progress and get more serious with your racing so this is for everybody.
The core of the website has 2 main components....the Supporters and the Racers. When you sign up as a member of the website (which is free and always will be free) you can sign up as a Supporter, Racer or both. As part of the sign up process you fill out the information you feel comfortable with and then there is a menu of services or amenities you can click on as a Supporter. For example, as a Supporter you might have a spare room or couch you'd be willing to let someone crash on as they are going through town, a place to do a load of laundry, a pressure washer to wash their bike, a practice track to ride on, etc. As a Racer you would go out and do a search when you know the route you'll be traveling and search out in that State or zip code for the services you're looking for. Hopefully you get a match, contact that Supporter, and make your life on the road a little easier. A lot of people love this sport, but can't really afford to help a guy out by giving him $50 or $100. However, most people do have resources that aren't money related in the true meaning and can still help a Racer save money on the back end. This could be by not having to drive around looking for a laundromat, pumping quarters into a laundry machine or pressure washer at a car wash, renting a hotel, or even paying to ride a track
How did you get involved with the privateers of the sport?
The more you're involved in any discipline of racing the more people you get a chance to meet along the way. Our sport is unique where you can actually meet and talk to the pros of the sport. Obviously local pros are a little more accessible and that's where I started by reaching out to a couple local guys I know and they got me in touch with other people and it just snowballed from there.
What motivated you to help out?
I'm, by nature, a person that likes to help people out whenever I can. Based on that and my love for this sport I realized that the privateers could use the most help and support.
What are some of the goals for Privateerlife.MX?
My biggest goal is to be able to create a community that any and all racers have access to as long as people are racing motorcycles. If you've been traveling to Loretta's for the last 6 years then you probably have a pretty good network of people you can call on or count on to stay at their place on the drive out. For a first time guy or girl you probably don't have any resources. My master plan is to have a turnkey network for someone new to the sport or someone that has been doing it their whole life to make their life easier while traveling around the country chasing whatever goals you have that involve motorcycle racing.
What are some of the things that you need to make the biggest impact?
The biggest thing is just getting the word out. With all the social media out there I've been able to reach 95% of the racers I've wanted to. Obviously not all of them write back, but I'm trying to just let them know what we're doing. I would print out all the guys that signed up and were on the entry list for Arenacross, 250 Supercross, and the premier 450 Supercross and reach out to them on their Instagram accounts to try and spread the word. That was pretty time intensive and I got my account locked out a couple times on IG because my messages looked so similar I'm sure their algorithm recognized some patterns and probably thought I was some kind of SPAM.
For SX I'm trying to get my guerilla marketing plan in place so when you come out from each round of the SX Series there will be a business card on your windshield telling you what we're about. I really need industry supporters at this point. The Racers have been more than willing to sign up so far.
What were some of the best and most memorable moments that you've had with Privateerlife.MX?
There have been a few actually. About 2 months after the site was launched I was lucky enough to get on "Good Day Sacramento" which is a local morning TV show while the Arenacross Series was in town. That was a little nerve racking as I've never been on TV before, but it went pretty good. We've also been fortunate enough to be on Daniel Blair's podcast, Main Event Moto, and Brad Gebhardt's podcast, BigMX Radio. I can't thank those guys enough for helping get the word out. I'm still working on getting on some other podcasts as well that I think would definitely help get the word out. VitalMX was also nice enough to let me post about the website when we first went live with the website.
We were only able to make the Oakland SX and Washougal outdoor rounds this year, but by the time Washougal rolled around we had been able to help quite a few guys out financially so it was cool to meet a lot of the guys in person. All the guys have been very gracious and thankful for what we're doing which is great.
What were some of the challenges that you had with this?
I think the biggest challenge has been getting the word out to fans and potential supporters that this website exists. I know there are thousands of people that are like me that would be more than willing to help these guys out with resources they already have.
What are the impressions that the riders have of this venture? What are they saying?
I have had great response from the riders. We were able to actually put together an "Entry Fee Reimbursement Program" this summer for the Nationals that was sponsored by Westside Buidling Materials out of Oakland, CA. We literally picked a different privateer's name out of a hat each week and I would then Paypal them the $245 it costs them to just sign up to try and qualify. The only stipulation was that you had to be signed up as a Racer on the website and then just message me the rounds you planned on doing. Joe and Rachel Rodriguez with San Luis Obispo Painting who also happen to be a big sponsor and supporter of the Enticknap brothers caught wind of the reimbursement program and reached out saying they would like to also donate $100/round to a different privateer which was awesome. We would then have a secondary drawing each week for that and a couple rounds they would donate an extra $100 so a total of 3 lucky guys would get some cash to offset their expenses. We've had my daughters, Joe and Rachel Rodriguez, Adam and Tyler Enticknap, Chase Stevenson, Zack Williams and one of our amateur LL riders, Tryston Pullin, all pull names out of the hat for us which was pretty cool.
Who are some of the people/companies that have helped you along the way?
As I mentioned above Tommy Vairetta and Tom Torrez with Westside Building Materials and Joe and Rachel Rodriguez with San Luis Obispo Painting have really helped out and helped get our name out there. Daniel Blair with Main Event Moto, Brad Gebhardt with BigMX Radio, VitalMX, Good Day Sacramento and all my family and friends that have reposted our social media stuff to help spread the word. Kelly Campbell with Premier Nutrition out of Oakland, CA was also nice enough to donate a lot of healthy Power Bar products that we would send out as part of a care package to each of the privateers that were picked to reimburse their entry fees. Also as part of that care package they would get a Westside t-shirt, Privateerlife.mx t-shirt, some nice thick mil stickers and some snacks from Premier Nutrition.
What are the plans for 2018?
We've definitely got some plans to bring on additional sponsors for 2018. We don't have anything set in stone yet, but I'm excited to just talk to a few new people looking to come on board. Obviously we would love to continue our relationship with the people that have already helped out and hopefully show them some value for their businesses by being involved with us and the sport going into 2018.
We're also working on getting an app put together since that's what most people do these days, but finding the money and time is a little difficult right now. All the money is going out the door at this point which is fine because we're doing this to help people out and not as a business venture. Ultimately we would like to get some advertisers within the industry on the website to help offset some cost and make improvements to the website and ultimately the app.
Be sure to check out Privaterlife.MX and follow them on Instagram (@privaterlife.mx) for more announcements and details on the program. Make sure that you keep an eye out for the local professional privateer near you and cheer on these unsung heroes of our phenomenal sport.