Every new year brings excitement and challenge for us, the NICA staffers, because we know a fresh set of race seasons are upon us. Part of the excitement is signing agreements with our many generous sponsors. We are lucky because our sponsors believe in our mission and partner with us to make sure we have enough funding to help new leagues like Georgia start their journey off with a solid financial foundation and legacy leagues like Colorado and the Californias continue receiving top notch staff support.
This year is no different. We worked hard together with our sponsors and would like to take a moment to thank our new, renewed and continuing sponsors.
Our continuing sponsors are represented across every giving level that NICA offers. We are proud that they have chosen to help us create opportunities for new leagues to get started and more kids to participate. The Utah League grew faster than Rachel Atherton’s world championship DH run, hitting more than 500 riders in their second season and are hoping to add a middle school pilot program this coming fall (their third season)! It’s no surprise, really, that a mountain bike mecca like Utah would see such growth but the surge of interest in forming new leagues from the South and East of the U.S. took us by surprise. The national mountain biking community has been taken by the Spirit of Howdy and it feels like just about everyone wants to join the high school mountain biking revolution.
And when our founding sponsors: Specialized, Trek and SRAM continue their amazing support, this means that we can make that happen. All three companies give at the highest level because they know sport makes a difference in a kids life and because they realize that mountain biking is a special kind of awesome that every kid should have the opportunity to experience.
There’s an old anecdote, “the hardest line to cross is the starting line” that always rings true but what happens once a student-athlete crosses that line and comes back for more? Here’s where our fabulous product sponsors come in and help us provide nutrition and gear to leagues, their coaches and teams. Without the support of: GU, Camelbak, Giro, Easton, Kinetic by Kurt, Lizard Skins, Ritchey, the John Wayne Foundation, Optic Nerve, Maxxis, Primal, DeFeet (and of course, Trek, Specialized and SRAM), the barriers to entry many kids face would still exists. These sponsors help us get nutrition and gear into the hands of kids and coaches or help us fund raise by auctioning items for individual leagues at our Cyclefest events, where leagues earn money for their Booster Club grantmaking program.
These Booster Club funds have helped kids, coaches and teams participate in NICA events over the past two years. NICA coaches, kids, parents and volunteers are our biggest asset and sing our praises at the drop of a hat. Lucky for us we have a great set of media partners who give us more love than we know what to do with. Our media partners: CyclingNews.com, Dirt Rag Magazine, MTBR.com, Mountain Bike Action Magazine and Switchback are first on the scene, always helping us get the word out whenever we have something to tell the world!
We are proud to say, thank you, a million times, thank you to all our 2013 sponsors who returned to continue their support of NICA and our new 2014 sponsors who understand the imperative to help make high school mountain biking a reality for as many teens as possible!