The beginning of the year always marks a significant change for BMX–new products are launched, new budgets are in place and oh yeah, people are switching teams left and right. If you’ve been paying attention to the Ride website the past few days, you’ve seen a ton of action in our news section about riders leaving, being picked up, etc. by sponsors and today, we’re here to talk about some of the sponsor shakeups that have happened so far in 2013. This is by no means a complete list, but some of the more significant ones that have popped up in the wake of the new year.
1. Chase Hawk off Vans, on etnies
Arguably the biggest sponsor shake up of the new year, Chase has left longtime sponsor of Vans for a spot on the coveted etnies pro team. Chase joins legends like Ruben Alcantara and good friend Aaron Ross (among others) on the pro team.
"Joining the etnies BMX family means a lot to me," said Chase Hawk. "I've been psyched on the team ever since I was a little kid so to finally get the opportunity to work with everyone is going to be awesome. I plan on 2013 being a busy year with etnies producing a 'welcome to the team' edit, new product and starting to film for the next full-length etnies video. Thanks again to [team manager] Povah and etnies for giving me the chance to be a part of the team!"
John Povah, etnies BMX Team Manager said: "From a very young age Chase Hawk's evident talents have set the bar high for creating milestones in BMX. He's arguably a rider, if not the rider, that other riders wish to emulate and will routinely stop what they're doing to watch ride. Chase now starts a new chapter in his life as part of the etnies BMX team. It's overdue, so I'm really stoked that Chase wanted to ride for etnies. He brings a considerable amount to the table and can now be part of something special that he can truly feel proud of. I also think having Chase as part of the team will excite, energize and build on an already amazing team and brand. Welcome to the family Chase!"
2. Devon Smillie bumped to Dan’s Comp pro team
Devon killed it in 2012, relocated to Huntington Beach, California, and picked up a handful of new sponsors. Rightfully so, Dan’s Comp gave him the nod for the pro team in 2012, joining a team of complete apes like himself.
3. Alex Kennedy on Primo USA team
Whether it’s his burgeoning popularity in the States, his part time residency here or some other reason, Alex Kennedy is being moved from the Primo UK team to full Primo US pro.
4. Chase Dehart off Cinema, on the Animal pro team
After years of different component sponsors, it looks like Chase Dehart is finally at home on the Animal squad. While Animal fans are overjoyed at this fact, this also means that Cinema fans will be disappointed–Chase had to leave the wheel sponsor to pursue his home state sponsor.
We are sad to announce that Chase Dehart has left Cinema for a spot on the Animal team (on good terms). It was a tough decision for Chase, but it's been a dream of his to ride for the iconic Jersey brand since he started riding. Everyone at Cinema would like to thank Chase for all his hard work on trips and for being part of the OG Cinema team that formed in 2010. Chase's positive and humble attitude always reminds us that BMX is still fun. Best of luck to Chase with everything in the future and it was an honor for him to be a part of our crew. Hop whips all day… — Will Stroud, Cinema TM & Filmer
5. Scotty Cranmer off Felt after over 9 years
This was a bit of a shock to many–Scotty Cranmer and Felt splitting for 2013. Felt’s been with Scotty after a brief period on the Eastern team, and there’s still no word on if Scotty has other frame sponsor plans for the new year.
This one is a tough one to write…. After a great 9.5 years Felt Bikes and Scotty Cranmer have decided not to renew for 2013, nothing big happened, no drama, just a decision that had to be made and both sides are good with each other. When I first saw him at Metro Jam in 2003 I knew he was special and something I wanted Felt to be a part of, no one can argue that over the years he has proven to be one of the greats in this thing we call BMX. Contest medals, game changing edits, insane ads and memories of a kid having fun on his bike will be remembered forever, I am glad I got to be a part of it. Scotty and his family are good people and people I plan to stay in contact with for a long time, Felt and I personally wish him the best in his next steps which I am sure will be announced soon.
6. Jeremiah Smith off Failure Bikes
Jeremiah Smith left the Failure program at the start of the new year and according to agent Matt Meyerson, has a deal inked and ready to be announced any day now. Jeremiah still feels underrated when you consider his talent level at both street and park–hopefully a new sponsor will give him some more opportunities and shine time in 2013.
7. Brian Hunt leaves Orchid, also off TSG Helmets
In what looks to be another nail in the coffin of Orchid Footwear, longtime member Brian Hunt left the squad for 2013. Hunt had a signature model with the one time BMX shoe giant–another reason his departure should cause some alarm for Orchid fans.
"Not long after I got hooked up with my local shop Eastern Boarder, a friend from there got me hooked up with Little Devil clothes and Orchid shoes which was about 7 years ago. Being apart of a brand with all my childhood heroes was a dream come true. Not to mention I could always hit up Derek to go cruise FDR or some local trails anytime I was in town. I'm incredibly grateful for everything Derek has done for me and I couldn't thank him enough for all the adventures and good times!"
8. Giant BMX Program Ends
After many years in BMX, Giant has bowed out of the BMX scene. Starting with Mosh as a bike company and slimming it down to a component brand and finally giving it the ax to start Giant’s BMX program, Giant have had a decently long history in BMX and makes us wonder whether they have something up their sleeve, or are really done for good.
9. Jeff Kocsis on Almond Footwear pro team
I got a lotta love for Jeff–he’s one of the steeziest riders in the game right now, isn’t afraid to speak his mind, and ain’t afraid to have a good time off the bike. That being said, I’m super pumped to see him given the bump to the Almond Footwear pro team.
As of 2013 we decided to put Jeff on the PRO team, he kills and we all think this move is more than justified! Congrats Jeff.
10. Mike Brennan off wethepeople pro team
Brennan caused quite a stir just before Interbike, being one of the few members of the coveted Animal program to leave and start his own brand, Merritt. Longtime frame sponsor wethepeople will be distributing the brand, but will not be supporting Brennan as a frame sponsor in the new year, citing Mike’s need to focus on his new company.
Starting in 2013 Mike Brennan will no longer be riding for Wethpeople. This decision didn't come easy for us. Mike has been on Wethepeople for many years now and with the start of Merritt we believe that Mike is on his own path with his new company. Mike will always be apart of the WTP family and will continue to receive our support in many ways including distributing Merritt. We owe Mike a big thank you for supporting us all these years. Mike is an amazing BMX rider, a motivator and a roll model for the younger generation. He is a hard working father that is perusing his dream in BMX. Starting a company from the ground up is not easy; just ask the many that have tried.