- Phil Beckman, Public Relations Manager. Seriously?
I am going to get in your face. If you’re participating in the 2012-13 SoCalCross Prestige Series, it’s going to happen sooner or later. Maybe a lot. By January you’ll likely be ready to punch me in the throat.
See, I have apparently been anointed “the PR guy” for this CX season. Got a nifty new business card with the SoCalCross logo and everything. It says: Phil Beckman, Public Relations Manager. I’m not entirely sure how this came to pass, but whoomp, there it is.
Of course, everyone knows the real PR player in this game is Dorothy Wong. She and her husband Jeff Herring have been the shizzle behind the SoCalCross sizzle since day one. In six years this series has grown by about ninety-seven thousand percent, give or take. Check my numbers. If it’s on the Internet is has to be accurate. We marketing hacks are nothing but the facts, Jack.
Anywho, Dorothy has more connections than Verizon. Rumor has it Mark Zuckerberg calls her for socmed advice. She could schmooze Attila off his horse for a cup of Earl Grey.
I have contributed exactly zero percent to this phenomenon, but what the heck —isn’t it the American dream to go straight to the top? Be an overnight sensation? Make Howie Mandel reel with amazement?
So there I was, minding my own business, and bam… PR honch for the hottest cycling ticket in town.
But I’m not really sure I like to be slotted into one role like this, truth be told. For most of my working life I’ve taken pride in being an all-rounder, like an Olympic decathlete but without the strength, speed, endurance, balance or agility.
Writing has always come naturally (thanks, Mom). My degree is actually a Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design. It was photography (rockin’ the Tri-X and Kodachrome) that first got me into the publishing business back in the day when cut and paste literally meant exacto knives and hot glue. Photos, words, pages — I like ‘em all. If I had to pick just one of those activities to pay the mortgage for the rest of my life, I’d go Postal (but without the endless doping investigations). Like my broker says with upturned palm, diversification is key.
That magazine gig segued 27 years ago into the one-man shop I call PB Creative. Most of my work has been in the powersports industry, for clients like Suzuki, Carlisle Tire & Wheel, the Motorcycle Industry Council, etc. Turnkey communication project fulfillment has been my bread and Parkay. It just happened to include more than a little PR servitude. So yeah, there is that.
On the weekends I raced. First I was a fool for motocross and other infernal combustion sports, then it was bicycles — big time. My family will never understand the leg-shaving thing. I gained a kiloton of experience and admiration for the sport during a mostly anonymous amateur cycling “career.” And yes, there were a few cyclocross events in there.
But I digress.
I got to know Dorothy through my volunteer activities with the SoCal Interscholastic High School Cycling League. That’s high school mountain bike racing for short. It’s part of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA), which is blowing up much like SoCalCross. If you want to know who’s going to be kicking your anaerobic ass up and down the hills in the next year or three, look no further. I’ve been the race reporter/photographer for the SoCal League for the last three seasons.
Dorothy has been involved with that scene for a couple of seasons too, as the race/PA announcer. (I don’t know where she gets her energy, but it makes 5-Hour seem like Valium.) She approached me at an MTB race last fall about helping her ramp up public relations efforts for the upcoming CX series. There was even talk about some actual U.S. greenbacks being exchanged, which seems to be a novel concept in the bike industry. We’ll see. My taxman would certainly be impressed.
Anyway, here I am. Be nice to me. Talk to me. I’m the skinny dude with the hairy legs carrying twice his weight in camera equipment. I need your words and images to make me look good. Don’t punch me in the throat when I continually blast my strobes into your sweat-stained face. I like my throat. I need my throat. Check out my photo sales site — pbcreative.smugmug.com — and maybe grab a shot of two. You’ll be glad you did later on; I know this from personal experience.
And then look for coverage of your hard-earned efforts on SoCalCross sites like this one and Facebook and hopefully many other cycling media outlets.
That is apparently my new job, after all.