Most people* in BMX talk a good game, ‘the Pro’s need more money’, what about the ‘risk verses reward’ etc., but very few people ever put the gears in motion and go beyond the talk, always expecting others to do the work. Then there is Nic Long! Inspired by a Coffee Chatter discussion, Nic was driving, while dangerously daydreaming, and thought ‘Why not me, I’m guilty of bitchin and complaining about not getting paid what we think we deserve, so I just decided to take the initiative and at least try.’ And try he did, to the point where he quickly blew past his initial $14000 target and is now flirting with a $20k plus, purse for the USA BMX Grands this Thanksgiving in Tulsa. Not much surprises us much anymore, but Nic Long did that too.
Nic’s first port of call was his uncle who owns a growing glazing business. Back in 2019 when Nic was fundraising for another event, his wedding to the soon to be BMX racer, Lindsay, he worked for the glazing company, ‘My intentions were to request like $100-$250,’ he told us, ‘I remember a conversation that he (the company) would sponsor local little league/sports teams for their jerseys/equipment etc. His reply was … “Yeah, I can definitely help sponsor. I’ll donate $4,000 from LGD.” Then we were off!’
We wondered if Nic had discussed the idea with USA BMX before he embarked on his quest. Where they onboard? He didn’t. ‘I kind of figured it was going to be small, maybe $1000 for each pro winner … so what was the harm? I never did this with the intentions of outshining USA BMX. My intentions were simply to raise money for the riders that work so hard, without taking a dollar. I know, I’ve been that rider… So, I never even thought of it as a competition or saw any issues. I also believe I stand in a mostly positive light with everyone at USA BMX, and they saw that all I was doing was bringing positivity to the sport we love.’
After his uncle got the ball rolling, Nic hit the pavement and checked out a few successful businesses, both in and out of the industry. ‘I got ghosted plenty of times, but shooters, shoot. Right?’
Nic managed to convince companies like Odyssey, Remix, Ride Co. BMX Threads, Extreme Squared, Identify BMX and Harper Race Wear all to step up and write cheques. Even a few tracks got involved, Emerald Valley BMX, River City BMX and Peninsula Indoor among them. Riders too, Christian Craig (MX) Dennis Enarson (freestyle), Robbie Miranda (X-Games gold medalist) and even Niek Kimmann and Josh McLean to name but a few … a couple of them will undoubtedly be looking for a return on their investment come Grands time.
With all the money, came the task of deciding what class would get what, and even that has been evolving as the donations came rolling in. ‘It continuously changed with each goal reached. Initially it was just trying to get $1000 for each pro winner. Then it changed to a 40/40/20 split for the top three pros in each class, then 10% for each NAG 5 winner. (NAG 5 is a race between the pro spectacular rounds, with the top 5 riders in the expert classes from ages 14-40, I think) Then, with the more money raised, I just capped each amateur’s purse at $1000.00 then split the Pros money into a 50/30/20 split. If more is raised, it may even change again … still have like 4 weeks.’ When Nic gave us the break down, we noticed that ‘Vet Pro Nic’ was cutting himself off, ‘The Vet Pros out there looking for result sponsors and pay checks from the organization, need to get a job’, he laughed, ‘Vet Pro should be the beer league class, not a title or championship class … but that’s coming from the idiot racing flats, barely making the mains’.
We get the feeling that this won’t be the last time Nic picks up the phone for the Duffle Bag Dash, … ‘It started as a daydream, but it may be here to stay … even grow, and branch into an event series. There’s been some talks …’
The USA BMX Grands will take place from November 23rd to 27th with the Pro Finals on the night of Friday 25th, if you’re not there make sure to tune into the USA BMX LIVE feed …
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