In today’s guest post Shawn Wiese of King of Bull gives RamZone readers a behind-the-scenes look at the life of a sports agent for professional bull riders. In the weeks leading up to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo we’ll be featuring guest posts from the top bloggers in world of cowboy culture.
The first thing you probably think of when you hear “sports agent” is the popular Hollywood movie Jerry Maguire. I will admit, the job title sounds cool and many people seem to be in awe when I tell them I’m an agent. I prefer to think they are in awe because of the athletes I represent. Unlike Jerry Maguire, I do not represent pro football players but I do represent some of the toughest athletes in the world… professional bull riders!
How does one become an agent for professional bull riders? I like to say it’s in my DNA, not the agent part, the bull riding. My dad rode bulls and I can vaguely remember him riding when I was 4-years old. That was just the start. I went onto ride bulls myself for 15 years. A couple of years after I hung up my rope and spurs, I bought a few cows to start a breeding program for bucking bulls. I knew I had to be involved with the sport of bull riding on some level. A few months later I received a call from my good friend Cody Custer who thought I would be a good fit for helping some young PBR bull riders with sponsorships. That was 11 years ago and XD Sports is still going strong today.
I met Brad Bensinger a couple of years after I started XD Sports. Brad was a young attorney from Michigan who had a love for the cowboy life and the sport of bull riding. The match was perfect and long story short, Brad became my partner in XD Sports.
So what is it like to be a sports agent for professional bull riders? Well if you are thinking it’s some sort of glamorous job, think again. Yes it may have its perks that the average fan would think are cool but for the most part it’s work: phone calls, emails, phone calls, emails, proposals, emails, phone calls, contracts… you get the picture. Now don’t get the wrong idea, I love what I do! I attend events across the country and get to see tons of bull riding. Like I said earlier, the sport of bull riding is in my DNA and I get to talk about it every day.
All of the athletes we represent compete in a nationwide series televised on NBC Sports, NBC and CBS. With national television exposure comes sponsorship opportunity. That is where XD Sports comes into play, we seek out sponsorship and endorsement opportunities for our clients and manage their public relations and sponsor appearances.
For the most part, my main goal as an agent is to make my clients money. So you know that famous line in Jerry Maguire? That’s right! “Show me the money!” You think you can sponsor one of our athletes for cheap and under market value? Think again! “Show me the money!” Yes that may sound cocky and arrogant but it’s my job. I have to make sure our clients get compensated what they are worth. I have to play hardball and be willing to walk away from a deal that is not in the best interest of our client or the sport. A few years ago I had a well-known company make me an offer on one of our clients. The offer was too low. I told them if they doubled their offer it would put it at the correct price. Needless to say they were not very happy and wanted to know why I thought this athlete was worth that price. I explained to them that bull riding is my life and I know great talent. I told them this athlete would be a world champion within two years. After many hours of me playing hardball and standing firm, they agreed to the price. Two years later their athlete was a world champion bull rider. That is the harsh reality of what an agent has to do – negotiate, bend, stand firm or walk – but I don’t mind it because I know what I do affects the sport I love, professional bull riding.
Shawn Wiese is the founder of XD Sports, an agency that represents Professional Bull Riders. Currently he is the only agent in the industry who is an ex bull rider of 15 years. Shawn also raises bucking bulls and is one of the owners of BOVICO Bucking Bulls. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/kingofbull.