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Inaugural Summit launches coaching group

U.S. Motorcycle Coaching Association kicks off in Dallas

The U.S. Motorcycle Coaching Association had its first-ever Summit in February. Launched by principals Mark Blackwell, Jon-Erik Burleson and Jeff Emig, the USMCA has a goal of bringing new riders into the sport and making motorcycle riding a more pleasant experience for riders new and old alike.

During the event at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, prior to the AMA Monster Energy Supercross race at the same location, Powersports Business editor in chief Dave McMahon was just down the road in Frisco at the Tucker Rocky | Biker’s Choice Dealer and Brand Expo. Alas, Dave asked Blackwell some questions following the event. Outtakes of the conversation are below.

Powersports Business: What was your overall assessment of the first event?

Mark Blackwell: The Inaugural Summit of the USMCA at AT&T Stadium held on February 9 and 10 went about exactly as we had expected. Attendance was solid, and as we hoped, a number of highly respected coaches and influencers in our sport participated. The venue was perfect and created the right atmosphere to kick-off this aggressive initiative, being in perhaps the finest sports environment in the country. 

U.S. Motorcycle Coaching Association founders (from left) Mark Blackwell, Jeff Emig and Jon-Erik Burleson announced upcoming workshops for prospective street and off-road coaches.

PSB: What type of feedback did you get from attendees?

MB: Mostly widespread support from both the dirt and pavement sides of our sport. I would add that many of the participants never get to see some of the type of data we presented on the history and current situation our sport faces. This was sobering for some who work in the heart of the sport every day, but seldom get to step back and look at the big picture, and it reinforced the need for this initiative — sort of a catalyst for action. As a result, the feedback was mostly around how people can help to get going and get the USMCA off the ground successfully. Word spread fast following the event as these leaders traveled home and communicated with their networks, and the feedback since has remained very positive and supportive. 

PSB: What’s the next step for the USMCA?

MB: We are now preparing for the first of six Regional Workshops that will be held around the country. These will be small groups of coaches coming together to give their input into the certification requirements and process to become a USMCA coach and the content USMCA coaches will use. There will be three workshops each for the “dirt” and “pavement” side of our sport. The first was for dirt and was held in Indianapolis on March 17. (See the accompanying schedule.)

Tim Cotter, events director at MX Sports, was one of the several industry members who spoke in support of the formation of the U.S. Motorcycle Coaching Association. The Summit was held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

PSB: Did anything come out of it that you might not have necessarily expected?

MB: I think it became clearer that the pavement side of our sport is perhaps farther along in some ways in terms of the size and robust nature of some of the coaching businesses. Some of them are also much more formalized in their teaching processes, documentation, etc. I also think it was clear that the dirt and pavement experts want to learn from each other to make the sport and their businesses more successful.

PSB: How many folks attended?


MB: We had around 100 coaches, influencers and industry leaders — for the most part, the movers and shakers of the sport. It was the perfect size audience for the inaugural Summit and the question and answer sessions allowed virtually everyone who wanted to share their views and provide input. The founding members (Jon-Erik Burleson, Jeff Emig and I) presented background, goals and plans for the USMCA, and the presentations by Dr. Paul Reiman and Jacques LaDouceur made the Summit really interactive and informative. Most of the participants we hear from felt it was a solid use of their time and expense to participate. 


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