When Rob Carpenter got the itch to try motorcycle racing, he built up a nice bike and got ready to roll. Unfortunately, somebody stole the motorcycle on the night before he was scheduled to enter his first race.
Carpenter never got the bike back, so his racing career ended before it got started. “I decided it was an omen not to race,” he said.
As fate would have it, that thief may have inadvertently helped pave the way for Carpenter’s future career as a trick motorcycle rider and video producer.
After building up a new machine a few months later, Carpenter started exploring what the bike could do.
He began spending thousands of hours in abandoned parking lots, learning how to ride on one wheel, and conducting spins and other tricks.
Carpenter landed his first gig as a trick rider for a 2009 motorcycle rally in Oklahoma. Because of a series of mix-ups, he didn't get a chance to test the motorcycle until about a half hour before the show.
“I was used to riding on street bikes, but riding on this Harley was like being in a hot rod muscle car. I was terrified,” Carpenter said. “But I buckled down and put on a great show.” Afterward, a professional rider was so impressed that he asked Carpenter to join his show.
“They offered me a permanent position on their riding team performing Buell motorcycle shows across the country,” Carpenter said. “When Buell initially closed its doors in 2010, we began riding Harley Davidson motorcycles. Late in 2010, I took all of my savings and invested it in motorcycles, sound equipment and transportation equipment to begin my own V-twin entertainment company,” One Wheel Revolution LLC.
Since then, Carpenter has performed in hundreds of shows across the country and has developed his own production company that provides footage. His videos posted on Youtube have received thousands of views. He is also incorporating drone technology into his videos.
What’s the biggest challenge you face in your job? The logistics required to transport multiple motorcycles, people, and entertainment equipment from different parts of the country to a single event.
What’s the best business advice you have received? I always thought to perform on this level you had to be one of the most skilled riders. When I was hired as a permanent rider on the Buell motorcycle team I was amazed at the lack of riding skill the leader had. What he lacked in skill he made up for with professionalism and showmanship, and people loved it. Embracing the professionalism and showmanship is what has truly allowed me to succeed in the industry of motorcycle entertainment and media creation.
Who gave you that advice? Bubba Blackwell, the only man to beat almost all of Evel Knievel’s records on the exact same bike Evel rode on.
Here’s what I’d like to do to improve my community: Motorcycles and motorcycle events generally get a negative reputation outside of the motorcycle community itself. However, 90 percent of motorcyclists are average people that on the weekends enjoy wearing their gear, getting on their bikes and hitting the road for adventure. Bringing the local community together for fun events has many obvious benefits. Attracting riders from around the country has a huge financial benefit for our community.
Outside of work, my biggest passion is: Adventure riding. Most of my work-related riding is very strategic and routine. There is nothing better than getting on my bike, forgetting the challenges of life and hitting the open road with no real destination.
Which living person do you most admire? Elon Musk. I admire his drive and passion to do what others say can’t be done. What is probably more inspiring is his unwillingness to give up his dreams in the face of failure, criticism and public scrutiny.
Aside from profit and loss, how do you measure success in your job?: By the compliments I receive from the audience after a performance or from my sponsors when we do yearly evaluations. There are lots of very skilled riders around the world, but hearing people compliment the professionalism, organization, and attention to presentation are the things that make us stand out from the rest.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Being sponsored by ICON Motosports. Before I became a professional rider I loved and always used their protective riding gear. I still remember sitting in my cramped garage talking to a fellow rider about how amazing it would be to be a sponsored ICON rider. In 2011 I was able to pick up sponsorship from them and they continue to be my biggest supporter to this day.
I’m happiest when I’m… freely riding my motorcycle to my heart’s content.