Brainerd Dispatch/Troy Gunderson
Maybe it was fate. Or perhaps it was predestination. For whatever reason, Jane Dullum was born for her job.
Ever since she was little, Dullum has been around dirt bikes. The Pequot Lakes native knows the ins and outs of a dirt bike and spent her summers watching her brothers, Chris and John, race. Little did she know that her passion for dirt-bike racing would lead to a career.
"I almost feel like race gas runs in my blood," Dullum said. "I grew up around dirt bikes and have been around it for my entire life. I really enjoy going to the races. I never raced because my mom didn't think it'd be safe. Instead, I played hockey and got more hurt doing that than I would on a dirt bike."
Today, Dullum works as an event coordinator and athlete liaison for Media X International, a company that runs motocross events, like the X-Games, around the country and world.
"The success of Tony Hawk has made action sports huge. Travis Pastrana has made freestyle motocross huge. I just think all these kids want an outlet to be expressive."
Dirt-bike racing event coordinator
A foot in the door
Dullum graduated from St. Cloud State University in 2001 with a degree in broadcast journalism. She interned for ESPN, moved to Colorado and worked in registration for the Winter X-Games.
"When I went for that internship I knew I wanted to be a part of the freestyle motocross," Dullum said, "because that's what I knew the most about. It's such a fun atmosphere."
MXI hired Dullum and she lived in Santa Monica, Calif., and commuted 20 minutes to her office. But a year in California was enough for Dullum so she headed back to Minnesota.
Dullum now picks and chooses which events she works and does between six and 10 events a year. One event Dullum is currently working on is bringing a demo event, where three to four freestyle motocross athletes put on a show, to Brainerd next summer.
Since 1999 freestyle motocross has been the most popular action sport at the X-Games and routinely grabs the highest TV ratings. Most events draw between 500-1000 fans. But the 2003 Summer X-Games at the Los Angeles Coliseum drew 64,000 fans for freestyle motocross.
"There are so many kids that don't want to do stick and ball sports," said Dullum. "They want to do skateboarding and other action sports. The success of Tony Hawk has made action sports huge. Travis Pastrana has made freestyle motocross huge. I just think all these kids want an outlet to be expressive and music plays a big part in it as well."
'A glorified baby sitter'
Dullum's duties at events are many and varied. She shows up at X-Games events three days early to begin preparations.
There are numerous details that Dullum tends to, like bringing in dirt and bulldozers to construct the track, staff flights, hotel rooms, rental cars and having metal ramps shipped to the venue.
Once athletes start to arrive it's Dullum's job to get them registered and make sure their needs and those of their family are met. She shows them where to eat and where and what times to practice. If there's anything athletes don't like about the course, they go to Dullum. If they need a part for their bike, they go to Dullum.
"While the athletes are at the events I'm really looked at as a glorified baby sitter," Dullum said. "I've had to go as far as to bail guys out of jail."
Dullum did get a chance to step from behind the scenes and into the spotlight. At one X-Games, Dullum handed out medals for best trick on an MTV show.
In her three years of working freestyle motocross events, Dullum has become good friends with many athletes.
"What makes it fun is that I'm friends with a lot of the athletes," Dullum said, "so I get to go to these events with my friends. Granted, I'm working but I'm still kind of on a vacation."
Racking up airline miles
In her three years of working freestyle motocross events, Dullum has traveled to cities such as Bakersfield and Pomona, Calif., and to Philadelphia and New York City.
Dullum's job has also taken her to Bangkok, Thailand and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
While in Southeast Asia, the freestyle motocross athletes, with their tattoos and brightly colored hairstyles, were treated like rock stars. Even staff personnel like Dullum were asked for autographs.
"I definitely wouldn't have gone to Thailand or Malaysia if it hadn't been for work," said Dullum. "We're trying to work out a contract to do a tour in China, Vietnam, Korea, Thailand and Malaysia this winter. I've gotten a great opportunity to do some traveling."
And, Dullum doesn't see herself slowing down anytime soon.
"I don't see the popularity going downhill anytime soon," said Dullum. "The X-Games will just keep getting bigger and bigger. As long as I have my cell phone and laptop I can do this job anywhere."
TROY GUNDERSON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5865.
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