Can you tell us a little about yourself and how the Legends and Heroes tour began?
I’m from Syracuse, NY and grew up riding motorcycles. I raced locally in the Northeast and was a semi-pro motocross rider from 1972-80. In 1980, I got married and started to get serious about work. I spent 30 years in the digital media business, but I never stopped riding.
About nine years ago, I was working at Clear Channel and we were asked to provide motorcycles as eye candy at Supercross events. (Clear Channel owned Live Nation, which owned the Supercross event series). A group of us started bringing bikes as displays to Supercross events and it was pretty cool. It just started as a hobby—we’d get calls every year to bring our bikes to the big Supercross events in LA or San Francisco.
In 2009, Gary Bailey, a former pro rider, donated a big 5th-wheel trailer to us. We wrapped it and put some E-Z UP tents in front to create a display around the bikes at the events. It was a big hit. The trailer was basically a museum we could travel with. It was a tangible, hard asset and we could start going after sponsorships.
When did you develop a relationship with E-Z UP?
About three years ago, we built two trailers (one for the East Coast, one for the West Coast) for the 40th anniversary of Supercross. That’s when the hobby became a full-time job. We now had a true walk-through museum—inside the display was motorcycles, period equipment, clothing, helmets and a video wall that played the history of Supercross through the decades. I’m very proud to say that over the past three years, we’ve drawn high volumes of foot traffic of just about any display in the pits. Our relationship with E-Z UP has been very positive and very professional.
Where does the name Legends and Heroes come from?
When we started our company, we thought it would be a great name for the tour. A legend may be the five-time national champ and a hero may be the mechanic who helped that legend. We feature not only the racers, but other people in the industry who have been inspirational and given back to it.
“ Our E-Z UP is very professional looking and attracts many people to our events. ”
How many events do you travel to on the tour?
We hit about 30 states over a 12-month period. The tour includes the Supercross series from January to May and the Select Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series from May to August. We do other events like the AMI Expo (motorcycle show) and select vintage nationals like the Unidilla MX rewind AHRMA National in New Berlin, NY and Diamond Don’s River Port Vintage National in Jefferson, Texas.
When did you get your first E-Z UP?
We bought our first E-Z UP nine years ago. It was a white, non-branded 10’ x 20’ pop-up canopy. We replaced that with a new 10’ x 20’ E-Z UP two years later, which was branded by a friend who sponsored it. The first time we bought from E-Z UP directly was in 2010 when we ordered six 10’ x 10’ custom canopies. Currently, we have a 100’ x 40’ footprint for our tractor trailer Moto Museum and we’ll use anywhere from six to twelve E-Z UP shelters.
Have you been happy with the quality of the E-Z UP shelters?
Yes, the portable tents look pretty dynamic and impressive when the display is all put together. Our display is nice and clean with our logo branded on the tent sides, tops and valance. It’s very impressive.
What are the benefits of using E-Z UP shelters?
I’ve used other, cheaper pop-up canopies in the past and I learned over the years that those shelters didn’t have durability. When we were buying our first shelter for our display nine years ago, I wanted to get an E-Z UP shelter because of the quality. The aluminum frame was light enough to roll around and still durable—that tent lasted a couple years, even though it was passed around to other people. It weathered really well.
Aside from the quality, the servicing and printing turnaround times are good. The instant shelters are high quality and it’s easy to replace the parts. Our tents are black and inevitably fade a little, but we can just swap out the tops on the frames and maintain a fresh look. In our case, it’s very important to present a professional image because we are completely sponsor supported. If we can make a good first impression, it’s easier to entice a new sponsor to come on board.
Do you have any advice for other business owners?
I’d advise others to make sure the shelters look as good as your product. I see people at our events who have a great product, but their shelters are sagging and ratty. It takes away from the ambiance of the display and won’t draw a crowd. Perception is everything. Give yourself the quality you deserve. If you want to make a million bucks, look like a million bucks.
“ When we were buying our first shelter for our display nine years ago, I wanted to get an E-Z UP shelter because of the quality. ”
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