July 5, 2001 ¿ Over the past few years, action sports have staked their claim to the sporting world, and forward thinking corporate entities like Ford Motor Company’s Ford Ranger brand acknowledge that action sports are more than just a fad ¿ they are a legitimate lifestyle, that drive youth culture today.
“We realize that action sports and trucks often go hand-in-hand,” commented Ford Ranger Marketing Manager Tim Stoehr. “Ford wants to continue this relationship and give back to the core sports and athletes that support our products.” With the assistance of Fuse Sports Marketing, Ford Ranger built a relevant and credible action sports relationship including event and athlete sponsorship.
Ford Ranger is a top sponsor of the Vans Triple Crown Series (VTCS) ¿ a twenty-one stop US-based action sports series comprised of skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, wakeboarding, supercross, bicycle motocross (BMX), and freestyle motocross (FMX) events. In addition to Ranger’s event involvement, unique relationships have been established with some of the world’s top action sports athletes. “We were looking for a very specific group of athletes, and now have a team of riders who are tops in their sports,” commented Ford Ranger Account Manager John “JD” Dale. “Not only are we psyched on the caliber of our team, but they’re excited to be supporting Ranger.” Ford Ranger’s stable of athlete’s includes pro riders from six VTCS sports including:
Abe Teter – Snowboarding
Omar Hassan – Skateboarding
Tommy Clowers -FMX
Serena Brooke – Surfing
Tara Hamilton – Wakeboarding
TJ Lavin – BMX
Ford Ranger’s approach to supporting its team of athletes is very progressive, and has taken the brand where no other truck company has ventured before. Each athlete received his/her own Ranger and was given free reign to customize it as desired with Ford’s assistance. The result ¿ custom trucks that fit the individual needs and specs demanded by each athlete’s chosen sport and accompanying lifestyle. Far from another cookie cutter sponsorship program, Ranger’s initiative marks the first time a truck manufacturer has given its (action sports) athletes trucks, and worked with them to customize the vehicles per their wishes.
The creativity and self-expression central to all action sports was clearly on display as each athlete crafted his own unique path to customization perfection. For example, Tommy Clowers, widely regarded as one of the best FMX rider’s today, tweaked and customized his Ranger according to the rigors and demands inherent in his sport. Tommy beefed up the suspension on his Ranger, and added burly off-road tires and rims to accommodate the rugged conditions he often encounters during a day of motocross riding. On the other hand, Tara Hamilton, the ‘first lady’ of wakeboarding, took a different approach to customizing her Ranger. Tara focused on the interior of her Ranger, adding waterproofed materials and a booming stereo system, in addition to other wakeboard specific customizations.
Ford Ranger is extremely pleased to support such dedicated, top-notch athletes, as they all truly embody the Ford mantra “Built Ford Tough.” The respect is definitely mutual as veteran skateboarder Omar Hassan proclaimed, “I grew up driving Ford’s and I’m proud to be part of a great American truck company. I’m stoked!”