If you are a fan of Motocross or Supercross then I am sure you are familiar with the amazing sites and sounds that are part of the racing experience. To many there is no sight better than seeing the highly modified race bikes speed around these technical race tracks. Seeing your favorite riders soar over 100 foot jumps and blast through rutted corners is an incredibly memorable experience for all race fans. Many of us dream about being a part of the experience, either on the bikes, or working with one of these high profile teams. Very few people get a chance to call themselves team members or crew of one of these teams and it is a role that anyone would aspire to. Not many people understand what goes into a race team's efforts or preparations each week, nor do they know exactly how it all comes together. Working on a professional race team is arguably one of the most demanding and rewarding jobs in the world and no one knows all of this better than the Blue Buffalo Racing team manager Broc Schmelyun.
Broc, a popular pro rider turned team manager, knows exactly what it takes to go racing at a professional level. Broc is a fan, rider, manager, motivator, planner, and much more. On any given race day you can catch him meeting fans, working with his riders, setting up the rig, and everything in between. At his core, Broc is a fan who enjoys taking in all the sights just as much as the next person. It is very rare to find a team manager with as much perspective and insight as Broc and it is one trait that makes him so successul in his role. There are hundreds of thousands of fans that fantasize about working for a race team one day and even manage a team like Broc. We decided to get the inside scoop from him on his background, what it takes to get into the industry, and how others can get into the role which brings him so much fulfillment....
Hey Broc! Tell us about yourself and where are you from?
Hey my name is Broc Schmelyun. I was born in Westminster, MD and that is where I grew up. I currently reside in Hampstead, MD but travel 40+ weeks out of the year. I am the Team Manager for the Blue Buffalo Slater Skins Waynesburg Yamaha team.
How did you first get involved with the sport of Motocross and Supercross?
My dad raced dirt bikes professionally back in the day. His best finish was a 22nd in the Pro series. He raced my whole life so I was pretty much born into the sport! It was something that I wanted to get into, just like my dad did.
How did you get started working in the sport?
I raced professionally from when I was 18 up until last year. I never set the world on fire, but I had a lot of top 20 finishes. I only ever did well in outdoors because I hadn't stepped foot on a Supercross track until I was 21. Last year I got hurt and the current team owner offered me an interim team manager position when our manager at the time wasn't working out. I guess I did a good job because they brought me back full time for the 2017 race season. It was a tough decision, but sets me up a lot better for my life after Motocross.
What inspired you to be a pro rider?
Motocross of Nations at Budds Creek in 2007. Watching Ryan Villopotto that weekend was so incredibly inspiring to me. Having all of the fans cheer every lap he came around and leading the race for his country was life changing for me. It is something that motivated me and something that I will never forget seeing.
What inspired you to be a team manager?
At first the security and money. But those are things that can be temporary. What kept me was the belief that I could be a very good team manager. I saw a lot of flaws with the current plan of other teams and knew I could bring a big business mindsets into the niche sport of Motocross and help it thrive. Just like TCE, I wanted to positively impact the sport.
What is a typical like day at the races for you and the team?
Going through each task point by point might take a while and put some people to sleep so I'll describe my job responsibilities during race day. We get to the tracks usually a day or two before race day and get the rig and bikes set up. We run a very organized outfit, so preparation is important to us. I also make sure that everyone has what they need to be successful for the weekend. One important task that I do is cooking breakfast and lunch for the race crew and Blue Buffalo employees. Everyone loves to eat, so it's definitely an important task! That includes preparing 5 additional meals for Jerry all day (mostly small meals.) While Jerry is on the track I coordinate with the mechanic Hoss Wall and let him know position, times and what to write on the pitboard. Hoss is great at knowing what to write, but occasionally I'll tell him to write something that I know will motivate Jerry and push him harder. In between motos we watch the 450's and break down some potential line choices. There are also a lot of other small tasks that pop up from meeting with fans, talking with sponsors, setting up the bikes with Hoss, you name it.
How do you prepare for a race?
I have a running list of things I need to accomplish every week. If I didn't keep notes I would be lost! Haha. Signing riders up, driving the rig, ordering parts and graphics from all of our amazing sponsors. Organizing hotel accommodations and flights. There is also budget reports, race reports and expense sheets. On top of all that there is logging receipts, and keeping all of the guys on track of what we need to accomplish for the week. They do a great job which makes my job easier.
What sets the Blue Buffalo race team apart?
We are a small team, but we all have so much heart. Every one of us are here because we have the same vision and goal and all want to help each other accomplish it. I'm really fortunate to have such an awesome group of guys.
How is 2017 going for you so far?
It's been a building year for the team, but overall I am happy with everything. On the track we have had our difficulties, but we had a really late start to getting prepared this season. During the Supercross season I believe we qualified for the main event in all but one event this year so that is better than the team has ever done. So far in the outdoor series our new rookie rider, Jerry Robin, has scored points in 4/6 races in a very competitive and stacked 250 class. Needless to say I am really proud of him. He has more in him, and I'm sure he will show that very soon.
What are some of the hardest and most rewarding parts about your job?
What's rewarding for me is not the job itself, but just helping people and benefiting their lives. I love helping people and providing them a better experience in life. A job is temporary, but certain key moments can hopefully shape and build better futures for everyone on the team. It sounds cliché, but I want people to benefit as people by being with our team, not just benefit in the work field. As far as the hardest part goes that's tough because I tend to not dwell on negativities. I change them when possible and if not I do my best to focus on what I can change.
What are some things you have learned along the way?
Everyone has something that motivates them. Find it, help them accomplish it, and they will work with you and for you forever. We are always worried about what WE as individuals want. In a management position you have to care about others and what they want first and foremost.
What would you say to people who want to do what you do?
I would tell them to start working for it. Personality is 85% of what makes you successful in any field. I would encourage them to heavily invest in themselves and build themselves up. Make your actions reflect your dreams.
How would you inspire them?
I would refer them to this one quote I recently came across. It does the trick for me and I think that it would inspire most people who are in a position in life that they would like to change. The quote is: "Sometimes a life changing event isn't an event at all. It is a decision to change your mindset and actions toward what you want to become." This is a great motivator and gives great insight into change.
What are somethings they should be aware of?
Very long hours, not much sleep, and some difficult people to work with. Luckily, I have a great group, but most people in the sport are simply enthusiasts. Not business conscious people. So if you are used to business principles you may have an adjustment period weeding through some people. However, it can also help you to thrive if you keep those values and break through the beginning period.
What are you working on to expand yourself, your efforts, and your team?
I have A LOT of stuff I am working on right now! Sadly, I can't say much about it publicly just yet. I am typically a very transparent person, but it is out of necessity right now. I'll keep you updated every step of the way! 👍🏻
Broc is a great example of how you can turn your passion for something into an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling career. Taking on new and exciting roles can often times lead to very rewarding and growth filled opportunities. Broc did just that and is able to really positively impact his team, his sponsors, the fans, and even the sport. We share those same values and hope to continue to inspire others to do the same in their fields of interest. There is never a wrong time to go after your goals and chase down exciting new experiences and Broc is definitely proof of that. Be sure to keep an eye out for Broc and the Blue Buffalo race team at the events this year and stay tuned for more incredible announcements around the team. If you want a chance to check out what the team has to offer, then be sure to sign up for our Motocross Fan Experience where you get a chance to meet Broc and the team for an all access experience!