There’s no denying it — eventers are pretty great. And that’s why Frankie Thieriot of Athletux has chosen to work with eventers more than any other type of athlete. Many thanks to Frankie for writing, and thanks for reading.
When I started Athletux, a sports marketing company, in 2011, I had no idea how much it would not only change me as a person but change my life. Initially, my plan was to work with all athletes, and for a long time, I did. I booked appearances and coordinated signings for famous baseball, hockey, basketball and football stars and rubbed elbows — as they say — with some of the biggest names in professional sports.
However, the equestrians I worked with were the ones from the start who seemed to make countless hours of work all worth it at the end of each day. Ironically, I made more money coordinating one player appearance — which took only a couple of hours at most — on average than I make from any rider I work with in a month’s time, but the saying “do what you love, love what you do” could never be more true for me working with riders.
Today, my business revolves primarily around equestrians, and I find myself turning away opportunities in other sports arenas for the love of this game! But the real reason I love working with these riders is because I feel honored to call them my friends. They are always the first to be grateful for my help, excited at opportunities I am able to create for them and are genuine people, which I think is true of the eventing community as a whole.
Some of my clients I knew through riding before I maintained their website, assisted with their sponsorship needs, and handled their marketing and PR, but many of them have become some of my closest friends through the process. There are days when I feel overwhelmed by what has grown to be quite an extensive work load, but to be honest, I care about them each a great deal, and they make it worth it for me.
As silly as it sounds, there are days when I feel like I have more children than the parents of the “19 Kids and Counting” TV show, and when they compete at the big events, I feel sick to my stomach until I know they are all around the course safely. I have even admittedly cried — even sobbed more than once — when one of my riders has suffered a serious let down and felt ready to throw a punch in their honor (though I am not the fighting type) when someone treated them unfairly.
Each time my phone rings during a show weekend and one of them calls, I quickly answer to be sure everything is OK, and every now and then when they admit things like having a fall schooling where they were silly enough not to be wearing an air vest, for example, I have been known to — in a somewhat joking voice — be the first to reprimand them, saying things like ,“Do you think I have time to deal with something happening to you? You better wear that every time!”
The bottom line is that eventers are incredibly special in my eyes. Their passion in almost every case far outweighs their paycheck, and I think the rest of the business world could benefit from loving their work as much as these riders do.
So, if you see me at a big event such as Rolex, and I look a bit wide-eyed or frantic, running from one place to another, (multitasking with a microphone in my hand as an on-camera personality many times to top it off), don’t take it personally and think I am trying to avoid you. Just imagine how you would feel if you had more than 10 four-star fanatics riding at one single event, desperately wanting them all to achieve their dreams more than you cared about nearly anything else!
And, to all my amazing clients, my best friends and everyone who allows me to do what I love every day, thank you for making it all possible. You are all my idols in more ways than you know! GO EVENTING!