Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Respect the RD! New TriUtah Owner Brogg Sterrett

As was announced earlier this week, Mr. Brogg Sterrett is the new owner of TriUtah.

Whether or not you personally feel you can trust a guy named Brogg is up to you, but to us he seems like THE REAL DEAL, and it feels like 2018 is gonna be a special year... so let's roll out the red carpet and give him a warm welcome as a tri community, shall we??

At the same time, we collectively stand and salute Dan Aamodt for a job well done... thank you for your significant contributions as a race director over the past several years!

**To get up to speed on the history of TriUtah (and triathlon in general in the state), check out these prior interviews:

TriUtah II: The Aamodt Era

What’s your personal athletic background, and what led you to first becoming an RD?

I've always been an active person. I grew up playing soccer, skateboarding and snowboarding. I didn't start running or cycling until I was about 20 years old. In the mid 90's I was doing a lot of bike racing. I was introduced to triathlon in 1999 by a good friend of mine in Boston. Long story short, we were supposed to do a tri in Rhode Island, but I backed out when I got there as I was terrified of swimming in the ocean.

I came back to Vegas, took a masters swim class and 4 months later did my first triathlon which was the Wildflower long course. As I took everything in at the finish line and saw all the smiles and war stories people were sharing, a lightbulb went off and it was literally that moment I knew I wanted to put on races for people. I feel fortunate that a race that well produced was my first triathlon as it set the standard in production value for me going forward. I then traveled the country racing tri's and looking at them from both an athlete and an organizational perspective to see who was doing things right and who in my opinion wasn't.

Out of curiosity, what does BBSC stand for, and what races comprised it when you were running the show?

When I was starting the company in 2003, I knew I had to make it very personal as I was going to put every ounce of myself into this company and sport to make it the best out there. So I took the first initial of myself, my 2 kids and my wife and ran with it! BBSC really was a family affair for me. Anyone that raced with me back then probably met my grandma, aunts, sisters, mom, dad and probably my wife as she is the one that designed all of our race shirts at the time. RAGE was the first tri we started, and six months later we created the Pumpkinman triathlon which eventually hosted 2 of the largest USAT Club Nationals under our direction.

Brian Botts, he of "Botts Bend" lore (East Canyon)

In 2006 we created the LVTRI at Lake Las Vegas which was a 1 off event to accommodate a USAT Collegiate championship race. From there, I had befriended and made bike racks for Jared, who was the founder of the SGTRI (St. George Tri), and he also owned Kokopelli (fun fact: Kokopelli was originally a TriUtah event). Jared also had the rights for the Utah Summer Games Triathlon. In 2007 he reached out to me needing to sell since his job was relocating him. We struck a deal relatively quickly and we took those events over and continued to grow them.

Editor's Note: the BBSC of today puts on Sand Hollow and Kokopelli in St. George, (both part of the Utah 2018 Championship Series), in addition to races in Colorado and Nevada. Cedric and his team do a fantastic job!

Ultimately what led you to sell BBSC in 2010?

I never really thought of my exit strategy as I'm absolutely passionate about what I do, however in 2009 we had people approaching us to buy BBSC. It just so happened at the time my wife and I were contemplating moving from Park City to New England and starting another race company. So the timing was kind of right for us to move on and start a new adventure 3,000 miles away.

East Canyon Reservoir

You mentioned in your email to the tri community that you’ve run other events since exiting BBSC. What races have you been involved with, and what have you learned from those experiences that you’ll bring to TriUtah?

Yea man, we've done a lot of different kinds of events over the last 15 years of event production. When I was still living in Park City, Xterra hired me for 2 years to help with the Xterra Championship race in Ogden. That was a ton of fun, I am still in contact with some of that team including the Kahuna! I was also the T1 and bike course coordinator for the Silverman Triathlon before it was sold to Ironman. The city of Las Vegas also hired us for the 5 year stint to manage the Viva Bike Vegas Gran Fondo event. This event was comprised of 125, 75, 50 and 12 mile bike rides all happening simultaneously. Aside from the LV Marathon, it was the only other endurance event that closed the Las Vegas strip.

We were also hired to manage the Glow Run series out of Vegas. In 2010 we created the Cape Relay, which was a 201 mile overnight relay from Boston to the tip of Cape Cod. We ran that for 2 years before passing the baton to Ragnar Relay to take it to the next level. It was at this time we decided we were not cut out for New England winters and moved back to the West coast. In 2012 I co-founded terrain racing which is an OCR event now in 30 cities. In 2013 I created Bubble RUN which now sees close to 600,000 participants in 40+ cities per year.

Echo Canyon - bike course

I feel like we're a pretty diversified management team that has worked/managed and founded a lot of different type of events. With that kind of diversification over 15 years in the industry comes a lot of experience and seeing a lot of different angles of what works and what doesn't and why. Our goal is to bring the best of everything we learned that worked to TriUtah.

High level, how did the sale of TriUtah come about, and why did you decide to get back involved with triathlon?

My family and I are in UT at least once a month and I have a son that attends The U. As my email stated to the athletes, my family and I are looking forward to moving back to Utah and I ultimately wanted to have something in my own backyard vs. that last few years of traveling all over the country producing events.


Dan and I have been in contact off and on for a while. This year our conversions got a little more in depth about triathlon as a whole and more specifically about the UT tri market. I'm pretty sure I made a comment to him that if he ever thought of selling, we should talk. Because he and I understand the industry and races, those conversations quickly accelerated. I came out to some of his events this year, and was impressed with his passion, dedication and kindness towards the athletes racing and his team.

Before we knew it, we were hanging out driving courses, brainstorming on what would be so cool to incorporate in 2018. As much as I enjoy doing all the other types of events, there is something special about being in nature watching the sun come up over a body of water with people that are committed enough to themselves to show up and be challenged.

In 15 yrs of RD'ing I've always loved building something for people to come out and cut loose. Whether it's the competitive athlete looking to podium that day, or the 1st time triathlete that just wants to try, they all have my tremendous respect and I like the idea that I can be a part of their achievements that weekend.

Jordanelle is no longer a teenager!

By being in the Top 10 in participation this season, TriUtah’s current “core 4” open water tris (East Canyon, Echo, Jordanelle, and Brineman) all qualified for the inaugural Utah Triathlon Championship Series in 2018. After touring the venues with previous owner Dan Aamodt, what were your impressions of each?

Dude, these courses are gorgeous! The beauty will take your mind off your burning lungs. East Canyon is sick. Great venue, and super fast bike course. If you slow down, you'll realize how beautiful it is too. Echo is turning 17 this year! The Echo bike course is great and has some beautiful red rock outcroppings that are breathtaking. Some of that road has been recently repaved too, so that's a nice touch. Jordanelle is turning 20! Be ready for post race cake, baby! Again this race has a wonderful bike course along the river. I enjoy trail running so I enjoy that run course too. Brineman is a gem. Dan did a bang up job logistically with this one. If you're going to do a local 1/2 in 2018, this is the one to do. The scenery on Antelope Island is like another world. You'll love it.

The annual Championship Series will culminate with a rotating venue State Champ race, which for 2018 has been announced as the Brineman (Olympic). What are your thoughts about Brineman in particular as the inaugural State Champs race?

Hosting the inaugural State Championship at Brineman is the perfect fit. This race really caught on in 2017 and with the expected increase this year, there is plenty of room to expand. The swim is very spectator friendly, the bike course for the Olympic distance again is really cool and gets you out on the Antelope Island Pkwy for a bit before your turn around. The Olympic run course is a fast and flat asphalt trail run. I'm excited to be a part of this inaugural event!

Brineman - host of the 2018 State Champs!

How would you describe your “style” as an RD, and what kind of culture do you try to establish at your races? Do you foresee any changes for 2018 that you can share, or will year 1 be largely the status quo?

As I stated earlier in this interview I'm very family oriented and I like to think it shows at the events. Just as it's important to me that we put on a solid event for everyone involved, it's also extremely important to me that athletes and their families feel welcome and don't feel intimidated when they come to TriUtah events. I've been to plenty of events where some individuals take themselves too seriously, in turn intimidating the newbies. We were all newbies at one time or another, we all need to remember that and be cool. I've never been one for status quo. Our goal is to elevate the sport in UT and I think people will get a good taste of what to expect from us when we launch the new event sites (coming soon) and when they come race with us in 2018.

In your opinion what are the most common misconceptions/misunderstandings between athletes and RD’s? How can athletes best support our local RD’s?

Hmmm thats a good question. It seems that depending on what kind of event it is will dictate the misconceptions/misunderstandings we see. I think the common denominator between all the different events we've been involved in would be that sometimes there are decisions we make as RD's that participants may look at and say it was the dumbest thing they've ever seen. However, there likely is a good reason for it, whether it be a permit restriction, safety or knowing how the flow of the event is going to play out. I believe all RD's are doing what they feel is in the best interest of the athletes. On the flip side, RD's may look at the athlete carrying their bike overhead while they run through transition thinking it's the dumbest thing we've seen, only to find out later it was shoulder day!

Anything else you want to share?

I just want to reiterate again how excited we are to be a part of the TriUtah legacy and how grateful we are for Dan entrusting us to continue to grow this great company. We sincerely hope people will continue to support TriUtah and see how rad triathlon is.

On another note, we are also creating a separate running division of TriUtah, this site will also be launched soon, and it's where runners can find the Porters 1/2 marathon, the Woman of Steel Relay and a few other events we have in the works. The sites will link between each other, so be sure to check that series out too, as there are some great courses coming for the running community as well.

TriUtah is open for registration!

Check out all races here.

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