After our first year in business we began to find our groove as a working unit.
The average contest was managed and run by six people. The day-to-day tasks were run by two people, Danny Lewin and myself. Looking back at it now, we didn’t have defined roles for our jobs, we just understood what needed to get done.
Danny was what we now call a Brand Manager. He maintained and built each league’s identity, brand strategy, authenticity, and more. Monday through Friday, he worked with our graphic designer Mark Hardy to design the contest flyer, edit videos, update the website, speak to parents of kids skating in the league. On event weekends, with six guys, we all operated as one brain (and, if you were ever around behind the scenes, you’d see we had less than one brain between us.)
Everyone in our crew knew what needed to happen, from loading up the van with event production equipment to knowing how the sponsor banner needed to be hung around the venue, how to set up the DJ kit and sound equipment, register kids, make prize bags for every contestant, and run the actual contest.
Every event was similar in format, but never completely the same, and every event had its own highlights and hi-jinx.
By year two of U.S.A., we had partnered with enough companies to acquire some initial sponsors of the contest series. I managed the business development side of things, networking with companies to invest their marketing dollars with us.
The first company we partnered with was a video game manufacturer, Activision. They were developing a skateboarding video game and wanted us to help market the game to the Action Sports market and music industry.
Another partner was Transworld Skateboarding Magazine. I remember getting a call at the office from Fran Richards, Advertising & Marketing Director of their corporate office, Transworld Media/Time Inc. He said he had been following our progress and was looking to get Transworld and its advertisers involved with relevant events in skateboarding, specifically amateur events.
The Beast of The East Contest took place at Riverside Skatepark in New York City. That afternoon, longtime friend DJ Evil Dee stopped by to DJ the contest, with AJ Kohn announcing. I knew DJ Evil Dee from my Hiphop photography days. I used to spend a lot of time at his record company’s office in Manhattan.