You may have seen the promos for the MotoBowl on various MX-related web sites recently, but may not know much about the motivation behind it, or the organization. The WMXF stands for The Gorgeous Ladies of MX and Supercross…or maybe it’s actually the Women’s Motocross Supercross Foundation. Either way, we caught up with Sharon Richards (who is the Co-President of the WMXF, along with Shirley Short) for a better explaination.
What’s the scoop on the WMXF? What’s the purpose of it?
The Women’s Foundation is a group of women that have joined together to support our racing community. I think to better explain, I’ll let you read our mission statement…
The Women’s Motocross/Supercross Foundation has a fourfold mission. The first is to provide support to any racer or crew member that suffers injury as a result of participation in or preparation for a professional event. The second is to provide support to those in the Motocross/Supercross community who suffer serious misfortune not directly connected to competition. The third is to provide financial support to benevolent organizations that support the sport of Motocross/Supercross. Finally, the Foundation will serve as a group of women who will contribute to the well being of the families in the Motocross/Supercross community. We will promote fellowship among the teams and represent Motocross and Supercross and the entire sport in a beneficial way.
Who’s behind the WMXF, and how did it get started?
Actually, the idea of a Women’s Foundation came about several years ago — Mitch Payton first mentioned the idea at the Pontiac SX in 2000. Fast forward to the 2003 Las Vegas SX, Shirley Short and I put down on paper what we thought an organization of this type should look like. We shared our ideas with a couple other women and built our Executive Board – which includes Sarah Voss, Megan Barnhart, Kristen Marshall, Evie Ferry, Monica Ramsey, Ellie Brady (Reed) and Colleen Beattie. We’re extremely fortunate to have a bunch of great people supporting this organization — not just the women that are members but our industry members as well… Clear Channel has been behind us 110%, Davey Coombs, Mitch Payton, Bevo.. the list goes on and on.
Would the WMXF be comparable to something like The Women’s Auxiliary of Motorsports in NASCAR?
Absolutely! We have looked to the NASCAR women for advise and suggestions. Cathy Green (wife of driver Mark Green) was the keynote speaker at our Luncheon in January. She was able to share some great info and insight into being a part of a non-profit organization and how a women’s group can benefit the racing community.
Was an organization like this overdue? Has the sport just gotten big enough that it was time to start something like this? Or did you all need something to keep you out of trouble?
Now, why would you think that we need to be kept out of trouble? Seriously, the timing just seemed to be right. The idea had been bouncing around for a couple of years¿the face of our racing community has changed quite a bit. A large percentage of the riders are now married and have children or are in committed relationships and we wanted to provide a way for these women to work together and give back to our racing community.
How is the WMXF funded? Do you solicit contributions from within the industry? Is it through private donations?
We are a non-profit organization with a 501(c) 3 status. We are solely funded through donations/contributions. There are no paid employees of the Foundation. 100% of donated funds go back to our racing community.
What kind of support has the WMXF provided in the last year?
We’re so excited to have been able to provide support to the Asterisk Mobile Medical Unit and MRO. The WMXF in conjunction with the Jason Ciarletta MemoriaFund was able to donate $3,500 each to the Asterisk Mobile Medical Unit and MRO. The WMXF has also able to help out with some financial support to injured privateers. We would not have been able to do these things without the fabulous support that we’ve received from the industry, the women who work to raise these funds and our awesome fans!
You’ve got the MotoBowl coming up next week. Is this your first big public fundraiser? What’s it all about?
It is our first fundraiser¿and we decided to go big! We thought that hosting a fundraiser at the end of the series would be a great way to bring the local So Cal fans face-to-face with their favorite stars, have a great time and raise money for the organizations that support our riders. The MotoBowl works very much like a charity golf tournament – the idea is to have four or five spots available to bowl with a moto celebrity. Fans, industry people, or whoever can bid on their favorite celeb and if they’re lucky enough to win a spot on the team can spend a couple of hours with that celebrity. How cool is that? Even for those folks that didn’t have an opportunity to bid they can still attend and who knows¿they could end up eating a plate of spaghetti next to Ivan Tedesco or playing a video game with Nick Wey. Obviously, there will be lots of opportunity for autographs and photos. We also have extensive Silent Auction items. Kawasaki has donated a KLX110! We also have loads of rider memorabilia, tickets/pit passes to all three of the Anaheim SX’s, tickets/pit passes to the U.S. Open, Asterisk Knee Braces, and many other items. The response has been great! We get e-mails almost daily with more donations. We’ll also have free raffles – so be sure to hold on to your admission ticket¿because that’s your raffle ticket # as well.
Our entire sport benefits from this fundraiser and from the success of the WMXF. Our goal is raise money to give back to our sport and our community members. We plan on supporting the Asterisk Mobile Medical Unit, MRO (Motor Racing Outreach), assisting with the purchase of the Hats-Off Devices, and assisting privateers financially who are in injury situations. We want to be there for our motorcycle racing family¿if there’s someone in need, we want to be able to help.
How do people get involved?
There are a couple ways to be involved. If you want to bowl with one of your favorite Moto Celebrities… go to www.wmxf.org and bid for a spot on their team. BUT… you must do that in a hurry… auctions are due to end tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon. If you can’t bid in time – no worries! Just come on out to the event and watch your favorite Celebs, take part in the Silent Auction, free raffles and have some dinner (all included in the ticket price). You can advance purchase tickets via our website for $20.00 or they can be purchased at the door for $25.00.
Do you have any future projects that you can let us in on?
Right now, our plan is to have a Women’s Luncheon and Silent Auction in January. We’re also discussing the possibility of a fan-based fundraiser in January/February to coincide with the Supercross Series here in California, as well as have an event in the East and/or Midwest.
If there are women out there who want to get involved in the WMXF, how do they join? Is there a membership fee?
Our membership is available to any woman involved in the professional racing industry. To join… it is very simple… go to our website www.wmxf.org, click on membership and you are good to go. The yearly membership is $35.00. We are also getting ready to launch Friends of the Foundation which will give fans the opportunity to take part in our organization. Thank you so much for this opportunity to talk about our organization, and let everyone know about the Motobowl!
t our organization, and let everyone know about the Motobowl!