Moto has crept into the SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) show that takes place in the Las Vegas Convention Center, and we spotted a few familiar faces signing autographs, making appearances, or driving in the demonstrations that take place in the testing compound outside. Unfortunately, we were only able to spend a single day at the show this year, but we still saw the JGRMX/Toyota/Yamaha team, bumped into Carey Hart in the taxi cab line, saw old friend and former TWMX Managing Editor Chris Kinman at his new GoPro gig, and chatted with Brian Deegan and Lance Coury about how important it is to have a presence in a market much bigger than motocross. Shortly after we left on Wednesday afternoon, Jeremy Stenberg and a slew of other short-course racers blasted around the front lot in a set of Robby Gordon’s Super Stadium trucks, and down the street Travis Pastrana competed in the WRC Rallycross event. Dean Wilson and Chad Reed managed to make it in to see the show, and Reed spent time with title sponsor Discount Tire, just after the pair announced a three year extension to Reed’s TwoTwo Motorsports team.
Since Hart was preparing to leave, we were able to speak for only a few moments, but the co-owner of the RCH Racing team had plenty to share. In town to work with team sponsor Dodge, who just happen to have one of the biggest displays in the show, he was soon departing for a flight to Michigan to meet with the team’s latest title sponsor, Soaring Eagle Hotel and Casino, then cruise to Detroit to meet with his wife, who is currently on tour through the US. We couldn’t even guess what his frequent flyer number is at…
If you are interested in cars and have the means to make it to SEMA, we highly recommend making the trip at least once. Just pack a fresh pair of comfortable shoes (our new etnies Scouts were perfect for the task) and plan on walking a few miles each day. Believe us when we say you’ll need the entire week to see everything in the massive halls.
Businessman: Brian Deegan
We are not being overdramatic when we say that every time we turned around, we saw an image of Brian Deegan. The General of the Metal Mulisha has partnerships with numerous automotive brands, including Ford, Mickey Thompson tires, Gibson exhaust, and Odyssey batteries, and has made an incredible crossover from motocross to off-road racing. This was not a boring weekend by any means, and Deegan terrorized the demonstration area in the front of the convention center in a Ford Raptor, then headed down the Strip to compete in the WRC Rallycross event. With only a few free moments available between appearances and meeting, we grabbed Deegan for a quick talk about his busy week.
“I built my career in motocross and freestyle, and was able to do well with that industry. It is my roots with the Mulisha and with all of the products that I have done. To be able to come to car racing and partner with massive companies with such great history makes me excited. The boundries are endless and I am trying to make an impact. I look at the names like Mickey Thompson, Ivan Stewart, and Walker Evans, and I want to be one of those names. I want to have a history in off-road when I am done and gone, that I have an iconic name like them.”
“I ride my skateboard around here with my hood on so that I can keep moving and make it to these appointments [Laughs]. I am booked hour to hour and don’t have a time in-between, which is awesome. From 8AM to 6PM, I am in meetings or at a signing, and I am glad. I could be a dude no one sees going, ‘Hey guys! I’m over here!’ It comes from multiple things like winning championships and being a personable person. I tell people all of the time it is about your character and being the person that you are. That is what sells.”
“It is crazy to think, and not being cocky, but we are one of the top teams and names in off-road. And that was my goal from day one. When I raced trucks, I wanted to be the best. When I think of my first races and how bad I was, I just stuck my head down and charged and applied myself. We are at the top and are just getting rolling. This isn’t dirt bikes; I can race for many years. I’m 36 and have plenty of time.”
“(Open wheel racing icon) Cory Kruseman is my coach and in my spare time I am with my son ,Haiden, who is seven years old and winning championships on a dirt bike, and Hailie is winning championships in off-road. Racing is a full-time family deal.”
“There is a Deegan tire with Mickey Thompson, a Deegan exhaust with Gibson, wheels with Pro Comp Four Wheel Parts, a shoe with DVS, and the list goes on.”
Businessman: Lance Coury
We know that Lance Coury is a freestyle motocross rider with an X Games gold medal to his credit, but many are unaware that he is also an accomplished small business owner. The 23 year old started Moto-Gate, a net made of tie-down material, as an easy way to keep his bike and gear in the bed of his pick-up truck, but has obtained interest from major brands such as Moose Racing and Pep Boys. This growth allowed Moto-Gate to expand the product line to feature tie-downs and a smaller cargo net, and it’s not uncommon to see the cargo net used in industrial and agricultural settings.
“The original idea for Moto-Gate was basically when I was 16 or 17 years old and going riding to the track with two or three bikes in the back of the truck, our gear bags, and all of our toolboxes and gas cans. By the time you load the truck up, you are pretty much stacked to the end of your tailgate. Being a kid, I didn’t want to just go buy an expensive bed extender and everyone else used bungee cords and tie-down straps, which are getting tangled and tied up in your spokes hoping that stuff isn’t going to fall out. I thought it would be cool if something was two tie-down straps and a net, which would hold everything and be easy to take on and off. And basically, that is what it is. It is a cargo net with tie-down straps that is universal. We don’t just use it with a motorcycle, and I have friends sending photos of them using it when they are moving couches, or metal, or firewood. It turned into a universal cargo net that tons of people are using.”
“I think that the motorcycle industry we have people that are stuck in their ways and then we have people that love it. I get tweets, Instagrams, and Facebook messages of people saying, ‘Wow, I can’t believe I didn’t think of that. It is so easy and useful.’ People love it. We are a couple of years into it and are here doing it.”
“It was cool that we were able to build the brand in the moto industry, and then we saw how much bigger it could be in the worldwide automotive industry. We had a bump start in moto, and it is tough being here at the show and costs a lot of money, but the return is more than enough. Last year we met buyers from Cabela’s and Pep Boys and everything has gone through with them, so it is one of those things that if one good thing happens, it is worthwhile. You have to take that risk.”
“We are able to meet the demand and stay up to date. My father, who has done business like this for over 15 years, has a good strategy and is able to order ahead of time before we are out so that we have it in the warehouse.”
“It’s comforting to see that I have a company with employees and it is covering itself and if I had to, I could make a sole living off of the business. You have more comfort and know that you have couple of things going for you.”