Industry Insights | Ft. Dale Spangler 2

Dale Spangler is a former Team Green rider, worked at Alpinestars, Smith Goggles, and currently is the owner of Buzz Media.

In this installment of Industry Insights we talk to the owner of Buzz Media, Dale Spangler. Dale is a former Team Green rider, raced professional Supercross and motocross, and has worked in the industry doing marketing work with Alpinestars, Smith Goggles, and others for over 30 years. 

For the full interview, check out the Vital MX podcast right here. If you're interested in the condensed written version, scroll down just a bit further.

Jamie Guida – Vital MX: How are you, Dale?

Dale Spangler: I'm happy to be on the show. It's a nice, warm day here in Boise, Idaho, and I can't complain.

Vital MX: Tell us where you grew up and how you got into moto.

Dale: I grew up in Northeast Ohio. I was East of Cleveland on Lake Erie in a town called Painesville. It's one town over from Mentor, Ohio, where Wiseco Pistons and Cometic Gasket are from. My first industry job was with Cometic Gaskets back in '93. My first bike was a Z50. My dad was a drag racer, and he still had the racing bug after he stopped. So, he took me to a local motocross race at a track called Ohio International, and as soon as I saw it, I told him, "That's what I want to do." A couple of weeks later, a 1981 YZ80 showed up at the house, and that was it. My dad wanted to be in the racing scene again, even if he couldn't do it himself. I think he was living a little vicariously through me. It was kind of the classic story. I started racing at 12, did the Loretta's thing, got a Team Green ride, turned pro in '88, and did that for a couple of years. I graduated in '87, and my dad and I had a three-year informal pact saying, "If you don't have a factory ride in the three years after graduating, you're kind of on your own and maybe think about doing something else." I got close because I was in the running for a Suzuki ride in 1990. I had national number 41 going into that year, and I didn't even race. I got a normal job and was trying to be "normal."

Dale Spangler

Vital MX: Do you have memories of him drag racing, and did you have an interest in doing that?

Dale: I don't remember it. There are lots of photos of me in a baby seat next to my mom in the chase vehicle, but I don't remember it. I think my dad had a Bultaco Sherpa 250 or something, and then he got me the Z50 so we could ride together. What's funny is my dad was a horrible rider. He would crash all the time, and later, when he was my mechanic, he would take my bike out after rebuilding the top end, and I would say, "You can't ride my bike again." He would grab a handful of front brake, crash in the slippery grass, and bend my handlebars. (Dale is laughing here)

Vital MX: You mentioned attending Loretta's and getting a Team Green ride. Your amateur career was pretty good. Tell us a little about it.

Dale: I was racing some regional stuff in Northeastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania, where I met Davey Coombs. We would race against each other because we were about the same age. I would go to High Point every year for the Team Green Spring National they had. I actually went to the national instead of going to my high school graduation. I would win most of the 'B' class stuff I was racing, and when I went to the 'A' class, I was a front-runner. I got the call from Bruce Stjernstrom, the Team Green Team Manager. It's such a cool feeling when you get a call from someone you admire. It felt like an unobtainable position to get. I think I got a discount on bikes in the first year, but in the next year, I got three bikes. It was just an amazing feeling, and a boost in confidence when you get that Team Green seal of approval. When I went to Loretta's, I felt like I was one of the key players.

Vital MX: You had some good results when you went pro. You had top ten results and a few top fives in Supercross in the 125 class. You even got a third in a moto at Red Bud. They just weren't enough to get a factory ride.

Dale: As I mentioned, I didn't race with my national number 41 because I took three years of trying to be 'normal,' working construction, and got my drafting degree. That wasn't all it was cracked up to be. I tried to make a comeback in '93 and rode until '95. The closest thing I had to a factory ride was getting a ride with the F&S Suzuki team. I got three or four bikes from them for the '95 season, and I was lucky enough to get enough points to get national number 90 for '95. I had a fantastic ride but kept getting hurt. I broke both my wrists at the same time and then went to an Arenacross race six to eight weeks later, thinking I could come back. I then rebroke the right wrist, and that was kind of it. The last race I did was the Charlotte Supercross, and I was just scared. My wrists were hurting, I was over jumping and casing jumps, and when you get to that point, it's time to hang up the boots.

Dale Spangler

Vital MX: You mentioned working for Cometic Gaskets as your first industry job. How did you get that?

Dale: I took the job in '93 and was doing both when I started racing again. Strangely enough, they hired me because I had a computer drafting degree. We didn't even have a scanner when I started. They had me drawing and reproducing gaskets with calipers. I would measure it all out and make a computer drawing we would then send to a water jet, or we'd make a die stamp. Eventually, I became interested in marketing and asked if they minded if I started going to the races and set up a tent. That launched me into the marketing stage of my career. 

Vital MX: You now have 30+ years in a marketing role, where you've worked for Alpinestars, WPS, Smith Goggles, and some others. With little marketing experience, how did you get those roles at those companies?

Dale: I tell people that you can't network enough. I was working at Cometic, and around 1996, I decided I wanted to do something different. I called Davey Coombs and told him if he heard of someone looking to fill a marketing role, I'd be interested. Two or three days later, he called and said, "I have a job for you, but it's in Italy. Alpinestars wants to interview you." I flew to Washougal and interviewed with the owner, Gabriele (Mazzarolo). We walked around all weekend talking to riders, and I got the job. So, I moved to Asolo, Italy, and my first job was in media relations. I'd load up the van with Alpinestars stuff, drive to Paris, France, or Madrid, Spain, visit editorial offices, and go to races. That was my job for two years.

Dale Spangler

Vital MX: That is really interesting because it's a job you didn't have much experience in other than networking, you don't know your way around, and there are probably communication issues. How did you learn to deal with those things?

Dale: What I had in my favor was I was an ignorant, naive American. As you said, I didn't know the language, but I was just naïve and open-minded enough. I had a great mentor in Davide Trolli, an Italian who worked for Alpinestars. The first race we went to was in Brno, Czech Republic, for a MotoGP race. They still had border crossings then, and the guards came out with rifles, and they said, "You need to pay some duties to get into the country." Davide says, "Hold on." He grabs t-shirts for all the guards, they stamp our passports, and we go through into the Czech Republic. That was my first experience about a week into living in Italy. It broadened my horizons. I like learning about different cultures and languages. 

Vital MX: Later, you worked for Smith Goggles when Gregg Albertyn won his 250 mx title in 1999. Tell us about that.

Dale: Being a goggle guy is, in my opinion, one of the toughest jobs out there. Those couple of years really burned me out. At the end of my tenure there I was ready to be off the road. I remember being at High Point in '98 or '99 when Albertyn was winning the championship, and I was stressed out. I had goggles in my room, and I was building roll-offs because it was going to rain the next day. It was stressful, but it was also cool to win that championship. That was the first time Smith had gotten a major championship. I'm pretty proud of that one. 

Dale Spangler

Vital MX: You are currently the founder of Buzz Media, where you help other companies with marketing. You're helping companies such as Dust Moto, Pit Pass Moto, EVS, On X Off-road, Wiseco, and numerous others. What was the genesis of Buzz Media?

Dale: I started the LLC in 2016 and started a Dirt Buzz website. It was my attempt at creating a news website focused on off-road. At the time, I felt the GNCC, WORCS, and those things were overlooked. Then Jerry Bernardo reached out and sent me all these incredible old stories he had written. His stuff is super interesting and quirky, so I'm trying to make it go on Dirt Buzz. At the point where it was getting enough traffic, I thought I could approach some sponsors. I realized I hate asking people for money. So, I still have the website, which has a ton of great content. At the time, I was also working for Tucker Powersports and got laid off when Covid hit. I looked around for a job for about three months, but finding a job at 55 is hard. After a few months, I decided to do my own thing. I reached out to friends with good connections, and I've been doing Buzz Media for over three years. I started off doing some PR, and I'm doing some Blogs. I'm doing a weekly blog for EBay Motors and have a decent list of clients. I'm not getting rich by any means, but I love the schedule. I'm my own boss, and the freedom is fantastic.


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