push the brand’s popularity and availability to markets beyond Australia. Fast forward to a chance meeting with Ryan Birk, a BMX industry veteran, at the 2016 USA BMX Grands about potentially moving the brand to USA to better position itself to grow in the market. Over the course of the past 6 or 7 months a new business plan was developed and has led to a new and exciting era for Rival BMX!
Effective immediately, Rich Rice of Indianapolis has purchased Rival Racing BMX, LLC and the company will now be headquartered in Indianapolis IN, the “Racing Capital of the World” for those of you familiar with the Indy 500. In addition to Rival Racing frames, a new component company will also be a part of the corporation to pair with the Rival frames and compete amongst the industry leaders in high-end BMX race products. The name of the component brand and details will be announced at a later date. Rice, a lifelong BMX fan, and father of 3 BMX racers, had this to say about the new acquisition,
“I know some people will think I’m insane for wanting to invest in a BMX race company with all the craziness going on in the industry right now, but I’m an optimist that sees the bright future for BMX and have seen firsthand what positive impact the sport has had on my family. Every industry has its ups and downs and it’s been my experience that the ones that put people as the focus and not profit tend to come out on top, provided their product is desirable. I believe the Rival brand is worthy of taking that shot. I believe I have the team of people built around me to form the company that can be a continued success. We have the pieces in place and the plan to make this venture work within the current industry environment. I can’t wait to get started in Tulsa a month from now.”
Rice has secured Ryan Birk to continue to work with the new venture as the Brand Director and help oversee all aspects of the business. “Everybody in BMX knows Birk and knows of the success he has had building brands and establishing them as staples in the sport. He’s well respected, experienced, and enthusiastic, and his resume speaks volumes about what he’s done for the sport and companies he’s worked for.” Rice said. Production is already in place for the new 2018 frames and the addition of smaller mini and junior size frames which haven’t been offered before. Future plans include the development of the new component line, the formation of a USA Factory Team, and the implementation of a co-sponsorship program for teams and riders for the 2018 season.
Brand founder Yujnovich will continue working with the brand he created in various roles. Yujnovich stated, “I am excited for this new direction for Rival Racing and with the brand being directed by Ryan Birk and based in the USA. Now more than ever, the Rival Racing brand has the opportunity to expand and develop the best products available in today’s BMX market. I am happy to continue with my role of Product Design and Development at Rival Racing and will continue to manage the Rival Racing Factory Team here in Australia.” Yujnovich’s creative talents and product design expertise will be crucial for continued development and improvement of not only the Rival frames but also the new component company.
“It’s crazy how things work out in life sometimes. A year ago, I found myself out of a job in the BMX industry for the first time in 20 years. I had no idea what I was going to do to support my family. Jenny Rice, who is Rich’s wife, a very involved BMX mom, and also one of the top Real Estate Brokers in the Indianapolis area, convinced me to get my Realtor license and join her team selling homes. As I was starting that process, we went to the Grands for the first time as “spectators” and not workers or racers. It was there I got to meet Dan for the first time and within 10 minutes of our conversation I knew this guy did things right. From there the process started of developing the plan that led to this point. Then, the opportunity for Rich to own a BMX business presented itself as a result of the relationships and processes that started a year ago and I’m sure nobody planned on. I’m more excited about BMX than I have been in a long time! The fact that things worked out the way they did literally one year later is a true blessing. I want to thank Jenny and Rich Rice both for the amazing opportunities they have presented for me over this past year and for believing in me. Thanks to Dan for being one of the classiest guys I’ve met in the BMX industry. And lastly, thanks to my wife Natarsha Birk for all her support during this crazy past year of our lives,” stated Birk.
Lots of changes will be happening over the next few weeks with setting up the infrastructure and logistics of the new corporation. Rival will begin contacting Dealers, Distributors and current support teams and riders to explain the new transition. The formation of a new Factory Team as well as a co-sponsorship support program for the 2018 season will begin almost immediately as part of our marketing platform for the upcoming year. Rival would also like to take this opportunity to give a HUGE THANK YOU to those that have helped Rival promote the brand thus far in the North American market and have gone above and beyond: Jason Shaw, his family, and his entire Rival Texas team. We look forward to a bright future together. Also, thank you to John and Amy Haywood here in Indy for your commitment to the brand these past 8 months. And we can’t forget our good friends to the north in Canada, Ron Botrokoff who started the Rival Canada Devo program and Chad Currie at Trackside BMX. THANK YOU ALL for your effort and support thus far, we can’t thank you enough. We look forward to working with all of you in the future as we grow the Rival brand into what we all hope and envision for the future.
We’re excited about the future and bringing Rival to the forefront of the BMX race world.