By Jackie Veling
Tyler Wren was a professional cyclist for 13 years before he discovered a new passion—producing events with an important message behind them.
As a professional cyclist, Tyler Wren was no stranger to organized cycling events, having attended many over the course of his 13-year career. During that time, his appreciation for event-planning only grew as he realized that cycling events were a unique way to bring the community together and deliver a message.
“Some events did it well, and some events didn’t do it well,” Wren says. “I started to study them, and toward the end of my career, I became inspired to produce events of my own and deliver my own message.”
Wren went on to found Wrenegade Sports in 2014, which now produces the successful Farm to Fork Fondo Series, an organized bicycle ride where participants choose their own distance and stop for chef-prepared bites at farms along the way.
This unique idea was born after Wren realized the cycling and farming communities are inherently tied to one another, as cyclists often spend a substantial amount of time riding rural roads past local farmlands.
“The cycling community has a unique responsibility to support the landowners that maintain the open spaces we enjoy riding our bikes through,” Wren explains. “I felt like this was a great thing I could do to connect these two worlds and inspire the cycling community to preserve farmlands and support their local farmers.”
Building a Successful Event Series
It’s an ambitious event series with many moving parts, and Wren turns to ACTIVE Network to help manage the workload. He credits the ACTIVE Network account reps for being so hands-on, often attending events themselves and being available anytime, including weekends and after-hours, should something unexpected come up.
“They’re honestly the biggest asset to me and one of the biggest reasons we are with ACTIVE,” he says.
And while managing a small team can have its benefits, changes in staff can deal an especially heavy blow. Recently, the Wrenegade team experienced a marketing vacancy that made advertising new events a huge challenge. ACTIVE Network chipped in.
“One thing I think is really unique to ACTIVE is they have a great in-house ad team now that’s helping us do Facebook and Google ads, along with utilizing the ACTIVE ad network,” Wren says. “They really stepped up and helped us fill the funnel on our new events.”
Advice to Other Race Directors
Though Wren is honored to be named a Race Director of the Month, he emphasized that having a good team in place is one of the driving forces of his events’ success and essential for anyone who wants to go far in event-planning.
“My team members—Jim, JT, Sarah and Hayes—are the ones that do all the operations work and get the events ready,” he explains. “I’m focused on our new events, so they’re really the race directors of the month and the ones who deserve the recognition.”
Wren advises others in the industry to not just be well-prepared before their races, but to realize that things can never go perfectly and instead to expect and embrace challenges. He calls it his “Ready, Shoot, Aim” attitude.
“You’re never going to get all the partners you want in place,” he says. “You’re never going to get all the permissions you want at the right time. You have to just have that attitude of it’s going to work out. Our mantra is, ‘Keep working at it, and it comes together in the end.’”