You see people with patches, they look cool! You hear about getting discounted products, recognition on social media and many other great perks! Sponsorships can provide a lot of opportunity, experience and open a lot of doors, but getting sponsored and staying sponsored can be difficult. We’re going to talk about the perks of sponsorships, your responsibilities as an ambassador and what you can do to put your name at the top of the applicants list.
To start, being sponsored instantly gives you more visual credibility by wearing a patch(es), caps, new products, etc. which open the door to having conversations with people of all ages and experience levels who are interested in the same companies or industries that you are. This experience builds your network and provide a real-life opportunity to improve your communication skills. For example:
- You are high school kid sponsored by Fast Back Ropes attending a rodeo where you see fellow endorsee and professional team roper, Brock Hansen, wearing a patch on his shirt. You instantly have something in common with him that you both can talk about. Since you have something in common, you walk up, start a conversation about what kind of Fast Back rope he uses and ask him to demonstrate on the dummy. Then you ask him if you can swing it which could lead to a little tip -> a short lesson on the dummy -> a phone number -> a partner at a roping -> an internship in college -> a job with Brock himself or a connection through him.
- You are a junior high rodeo contestant sponsored by the Performance Pony Company because you ride a pony. As a “Pony Pro” you are encouraged to introduce yourself to people you don’t know yet who also ride a pony or a small horse, so you walk up to a little boy having a hard time with his pony and ask him if he needs some help getting in the arena. His mom as qualified for the NFR and thanks you for the help -> your mom’s talking -> you need help on your second barrel and just scored a lesson!
Now, it’s very important to understand why companies have sponsorship programs. Yes, want to see you be successful and use their products, but more importantly, you are a walking, talking, traveling advertisement! They invest their money in products, promotional material, time and educating you to become a salesman. You skills and visual appearance help you gain attention, so looks do matter. How you represent yourself in public when you are sponsored is a reflection on the companies who sponsor you. They’re looking for pressed, tucked in shirts, a smile on your face and their products in your hands or on your horse! They also want to know that you don’t just use their products, but that you love them and more importantly, you talk about them. Clean cut, enthusiastic, humble, friendly, hard-working people who are doing their best to get better gain sponsorships! Sloppy, carelessly dressed, sore loser attitudes get you put on the DO NOT sponsor list.
Parents, how you represent yourself matters too! Word spreads fast and these companies do their research. They are industry leaders with huge networks and they will do research on social media and call a few trusted friends. Their reputation is critical, therefore who represents them is worth researching. If your child is getting sponsored, your family is getting sponsored and how the whole family represents themselves will impact your child’s ability to get sponsored. If you are the mom or dad involved in drama, you do everything for your child or you are perceived as arrogant or a cheater, you are risk for the company and they won’t choose your child to represent them. People wanted sponsorships are a dime-a-dozen, so you have to stand out in a positive way.
Gaining a sponsorship can be competitive and cut-throat. To set yourself apart, you can create a portfolio to use for your resume to use when applying for additional sponsors, scholarships, internships and jobs. This is especially helpful if you are interested in marketing, advertising or public relations. Remember, as an endorsee, you are a walking billboard, constantly advertising. To create a portfolio you can:
- Save the content you create (photos, videos, memes, short stories, etc.) in a file/folder
- Track of statics on the impressions and engagement on your social media and posts pertaining to specific products
- Keep tabs on the number of people you come into contact with while traveling and interacting with the public
- Document products you’ve used, lessons you’ve learned, places you’ve traveled and anything else you could share with the company and the public
Companies choose to sponsor you because they believe in your abilities inside and outside of the arena. They believe you are hardworking, passionate, appreciative and will do the work so you both benefit from the sponsorship. Having the support of your favorite companies should give you confidence and you should be proud of yourself that that they believe in you and want to help you succeed. Use the opportunity to ask questions and gain as much experience and knowledge as possible. The more involved you are, the longer you’ll be sponsored. That confidence will transfer to all parts of your life and will lead to some awesome future opportunities!
Now, that you know the benefits of sponsorships, what companies expect and a few things to help put you at the top of the list, we’ve created a guide to help you get sponsored, stay sponsored and create that portfolio that will build your resume and open all kinds of doors! Use the RodeoKids.com Sponsorship Calendar to give you ideas. Do them all or only do a few. Not only will this calendar help the companies you sponsor, but it will help you build your character, confidence and credibility.
Click to download the Sponsorship Chart!