One of the most memorable things I ever got to do in my career aboard a motorcycle actually had nothing to do with the racetrack. Ironically, it ties in directly to the business at hand here at RD Coffee. It was when I was lucky enough to receive an invitation to ESPN, where the powers that be not only allowed me to bring my bike, but also ride it all over campus for a video - which included some interesting places!
It all happened in 2015, which was a pretty big year for me. I was able to capture my second Supercross title and went on to earn my third Pro Motocross championship, which would end up being my last outdoor title. I also garnered some mainstream accolades by earning my first ESPY Award for Best Male Action Sports Athlete. In celebration of everything I accomplished, ESPN was eager to have me make the trip to Connecticut and coordinated some fun for me to have while I was there.
I was shocked to learn they wanted KTM to ship my bike to the ESPN campus, but when they let me in on the plan it all made sense. In the spirit of the funny “This Is SportsCenter” commercials often seen on the channel’s airwaves, the clever minds from the network’s creative team came up with the idea for me to become an ESPN intern for the day, where my championship bike made me the perfect person to make a coffee run for former SportsCenter anchor Lindsay Czarniak.
This was really the first time in my life where I was asked to “act,” which is a term I’ll use loosely. The ESPN team had me do all kinds of different things, which included memorizing a few lines, but nothing was cooler than all the different spots I got to be on two wheels - ripping across their satellite field, cramming into an elevator with a handful of other people, rolling down some stairs and out the studio doors, and of course, trying to navigate my way through the break room for a cup of coffee.
The whole experience definitely took me out of my comfort zone a bit, and it was even a little awkward at first, but as the day went on I really started to enjoy myself. The end result really turned out well and it’s something I’ll always be able to look back on. It’s something I can even show Harper one day when she’s a little older.
In addition to shooting the video, I had the opportunity to meet a lot of amazing people at ESPN, from the on-air talent to the behind the scenes folks. On top of all that I was able to make an in-studio appearance on SportsCenter and meet with the editors at the old ESPN The Magazine, which eventually led to my inclusion in their annual “Body Issue.”
As a professional motocross athlete I’ve been extremely lucky to have the chance to do all kinds of incredible things, whether it’s blitzing down the strip at Red Bull Straight Rhythm, representing the United States at the Motocross of Nations, or teaming up with St. Jude’s to organize our annual Ride & 5K run fundraising event. All of those things are special in their own way, but I have to admit that it was pretty amazing to be welcomed and treated with so much respect by such a massive sports organization like ESPN. Motocross riders don’t often get those kinds of crossover opportunities so it was awesome that for one day ESPN allowed me to let loose, have some fun, and do something truly off the wall for the whole world to see.
Even though it’s been nearly six years since this all happened I am still so grateful to the personnel at ESPN, the staff at MX Sports and Feld Entertainment, and the race team at KTM for coming together to make all of this a reality. They did all the legwork while I was just along for the ride.
Now that my career is over and I’ve embarked on this new journey, it’s also cool to look back at this experience recognizing how much of a passion coffee was for me, to the point that I’m now spearheading a growing coffee business. Inadvertently this video has become a symbol of where I came from to where I am today, like it was destiny, and it was all conceptualized by ESPN. It’s funny how life plays out sometimes, and I’m so glad things have turned out the way they have. I’m also privileged to be able to share it with all of you.