THE EARY YEARS CONTINUED…

TBT! Many thanks to newly returning member AJ Karapelou for this weeks piece adding on from Jim Clune’s early year blog posted two weeks ago…

Speaking of the 90’s…at the end of that decade the team was changing. The team shrunk down to about 14 active members. Tuesday night crits series, Usery Pass RR and Stat Crit Championships were the main team events. Team meetings were held right after the Tuesday night crit at the Blarney Stone pub.
At one of the first meetings in 1999 we held board member elections. Many appetizers and barley sodas later… we had a new president – AJ Karapelou.
One of the first orders of business was to secure sponsors. 1999 was a tough year. Thanks to the solid commitment of Sean O’Brien we were able to retain Carlos O Brien’s as our main sponsor. The Blarney Stone and Bicycle Showcase rounded out the other sponsors. Without their sponsorship, there would not have been a team and it would have ended right there and then. Thankfully that wasn’t the case!
Second order of business was to redesign the kit. We looked at the sponsors and made a decision to highlight the main sponsor in the middle of the chest and to limit the amount of noise around their logo by placing minor sponsors on the back pockets or shoulder areas. The result is the kit in the photo below. To highlight the Carlos O’Brien’s logo we used a blue back ground with green offsets. We liked blue. We really really liked blue.
The new kit and supportive sponsors helped us to generate a real buzz with riders. Within a few months, what started as 14 grew close to 50 riders of all categories (masters, juniors, women, Cat 5’s, 4’s, 3’s, Mountain bikers). Within a year we were approximately 100 riders strong. We became the Kevin Bacon of bike racing. Many active riders in AZ started with or rode for Procon at one point in their career.
The rapid growth allowed us to promote other races in Arizona. The town of Snowflake approached us to promote a race as a way to highlight their community and its growth. With the towns help, we were able to hold a two day race (Circuit Race and Crit) in one of the windiest places in Arizona.
To recap, within a year of almost folding as a team we were at 100+ members, promoted 4 major race events and were one of the premier teams in Arizona. What happened next??…. You will have to tune in next blog to find out!
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