2011-12 Collegiate Membership Contests Announcements

  
  


USA Cycling is pleased to congratulate our Collegiate Membership Contest Winners for 2011, and announce this spring's new membership contest:
  • Established Team with the Most Growth in 2011: University of Idaho, with 20 more members than the year before
  • Biggest New Team for 2011: Kennesaw State University, with 13 new members
The final totals for 2011 can be found here. The winning teams each received more Gatorade products than they could shake a stick at.

But fear not, there is one more contest this spring for your team to win, too! The first team to surpass their 2011 membership by 15 will win a small boatload of Gatorade products: 150+ pounds of mix, bottles, bars, and gels. To see where your team stands for 2012 so far, click here. We will update this weekly until the magic number of 15 is reached! (This contest does not apply to new clubs.)

But there's more in this for the sport than just Gatorade for your team. Collegiate cycling has a lot to gain from increased participation, namely better competition, more financial support for the conferences and your racing experience, and a better support structure for the sport as a whole. On top of that, the bigger your team is, the more legacy it will have and the more likely it is to survive for years beyond your graduation.

Think about it another way. What if there were twice as many collegiate cyclists out there as we have now? Then we could potentially look at breaking some conferences into more, smaller conferences, to decrease driving distances for teams and help grow the sport even further. There are a multitude of benefits like this when the sport grows, but we need you to make it happen.

So how can you recruit new members to grow the sport we all love, and win your team some Gatorade, too? Take some notes, this is how Idaho and Kennesaw State did it:


Matt Porter, Kennesaw State University (Biggest New Team, 2011):  

A few students on campus had contemplated the idea of starting a collegiate cycling club on campus.  By November 2010 we were official in the eyes of the university and USA Cycling.  Sponsors followed, then our first team kits, and then our first road race in the spring.  Our first race was at GA Tech: it was here that we became an official team and things really took off.  We began looking at racing differently and the excitement that followed lasted the rest of the season.  The team began to see new membership as excitement grew and news about the team was being passed on to other students. 

The majority of the team to begin with had very little experience racing and related to each other through the shared apprehension about racing.  After one full season the apprehension about racing is not as prevalent but the memory is not long ago.  This makes for an open environment for others who have not raced before and are interested but have that same nervousness and apprehension.  Word of mouth and Facebook were our primary way of gathering new members as well as the fall new student orientation and our club sports block party on campus.  


Birk Roseman, President, Unversity of Idaho Vandal Cycling team (Team with the Most Growth, 2011)

Idaho Vandal Cycling was able to grow because of 1) our new recruitment philosophy and 2) our support.
 
Our new recruitment philosophy was simple, out of 11,000 plus students at Idaho several had to at least have an interest in cycling (if not already a few competitive cyclists).  From there we tried our best to make sure our brand could be seen on campus.  We re-branded our Facebook page so we could use it like a business page and less like a 'fan' page.  We rented advertisement time on the TV information kiosks around campus.  What seemed to work the best was our bi-weekly, winter spin-bike workouts in the Student Recreation Center.  This allowed us to be seen as an active group in an approachable manner, participating in an activity that anyone could do.  
 
Attracting new members is only half of the recruitment battle.  Once we had their attention, we needed to make sure they were able to start training or competing right away.  We have a great network of local non-student riders who help new riders aquire equipment or offer advice (Matt Pollard, Matt Morra and Raleigh Racing's JT Fountain).  Equipment ranged from complete bikes, to gloves on a cold ride. Advice ranged from complex racing tactics, to something simple as making sure to buy a Gatorade in each little town on long rides.  We are also well funded via our Idaho's Sports Club Federation and local businesses, namely Anatek Labs and Colter's Creek Winery.  This support allows us to offer an inexpensive chance to participate in what is normally a very expensive life-style.  We make sure that people understand that cycling is a life-style, not just a casual hobby for the summer months.   
 
In short order: 1) get your brand out there, 2) develop personal support from the community, 3) develop sound finical backing.
 
Thanks for the recognition.  We hope to continue our growth here on the Palouse!


For additional tips from the past two years' winners, click here and here. And, for all you data geeks out there (like us...) you can find a comparison of school size to team size for all clubs in 2011 here. That way you can see what kind of potential growth is in store for your team compared to similarly sized schools.


This Article Published February 6, 2012 For more information contact:
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