We have been approached twice in the last year by ‘Phantom Sponsors’ and, I’ll be honest, I just don’t get it. For those who are unaware, my family is made up of racing enthusiasts with a son who is lucky enough to live his dream of racing flat track. As we are also very much a middle-class family, Braden couldn’t race without the generous support of great sponsors.
This includes Inside Motorcycles, Zdeno Cycle, Amsoil, Leeson Synthetics, Steel Phoenix, Sunnyside Cycle and Hesmer Motorsports.
Last year, a guy named ‘Tex’ showed up at a race and struck up a conversation with our son as well as youth class superstar Hunter Bauer. Tex was from Texas, of course, was very large (everything’s bigger in Texas), and very loud. Proudly sporting some sort of ID on a lanyard around his neck, Tex boasted about owning everything from Bass Pro Shops, Target, Polaris, Texaco, PepsiCo, his own helicopter, cigarette boats… the list went on.
He proceeded to tell the boys he was impressed with their riding and wanted to give them factory rides in the States. He explained that he was part owner of Suzuki, so both riders would have to switch brands if they wanted to ride for him. We were all a little gullible at that point and fell for it hook, line and sinker – Braden and Hunter were on cloud nine for the rest of the night.
It was only later, after a few pops, that Tex said something that burst our bubble. When he told the boys they would be getting all new gear from Royal Distributing because he also owned that, we knew the jig was up. My wife went to school with the owner of Royal, and after contacting him and doing a bit of research, we concluded that Tex was a fraud. The promised phone call never came.
Imagine our surprise while working at the Supershow in Toronto this year when Tex strolled up to the Flat Track Canada booth. Once again sporting his ID badge created by Crayola, he explained that he got too busy during the year to contact anyone because he is now the Rib King of the World. Resisting the urge to cause a scene, I walked away with the realization that the man needs help.
A few months ago we got a random email from somebody who wanted to see my son’s racing resume. I won’t say his real name, but we’ll just say it rhymes with Barry Swanson. After a few emails back and forth, we noticed that Barry was always asking us questions but never really answering ours. We asked Barry where he was located, what he did, if he had a shop, a website, and what his phone number was so we could contact him. Despite never answering any of these questions, the last email we got from Barry said he was glad to welcome us to “Swanson Racing” for 2014. This was a couple of months ago, and we’ve heard nothing since.
Perhaps I will wake up tomorrow and there will be a new “Swanson Racing” hauler in the driveway with a new Suzuki or two inside it, but I somehow doubt it. We value all of our sponsors and will do everything we can to promote them. If you are totally bogus trying to live out some fantasy, please don’t call us – we’ll call you.