Want to Get Sponsored or Turn Pro?

Fans cheering your name. Traveling to exotic destinations. Swimming in free apparel, gear and money. And most importantly, doing the sport you love everyday. That's what it's like to be a pro action sports athlete, right?

Before you start drooling, you might want to hear it from people who have been there. It might not be what you think, but it might also be more attainable than you think.

We asked the BMX, inline skating and skateboarding directors of Woodward West to give us the skinny on the differences between being sponsored and turning pro, and how to do it.

Movie Star or Just Be Youself?

"To get sponsored, many companies accept videos that a rider makes of themselves to kind of prove that they're good enough. I don't like that way. I always thought it would be better to get noticed by a company--by the way a rider rides and how their attitude is.

"If a kid submits a video, many times it doesn't show their personality. If one just does what they love to do, rides a lot, tries hard, isn't an idiot, they'd be better off getting sponsored that way...because if they're just being themselves, companies won't expect anything more.

"It seems really easy to become a pro in BMX. You don't have to qualify for anything or do anything special. I entered a pro contest in '97 and entered as a pro in every contest since then. I guess I just assumed that I was pro because of that. I don't really know what makes someone a pro. Anyone can enter a pro contest if they have the entry fee."

--Shawn Dorton, BMX

Love the Sport and the Sport Will Love You

"Being sponsored can mean a few different things. You can be product sponsored, shop sponsored or a paid team member. The ultimate goal is to be a paid team member. This allows you to do what you love while getting paid to do it.

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