* Editor’s note: This story originally published in February.
It’s been nearly three years since the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame made its cross-country journey, emerging from boxes in New Jersey storage to be showcased in a new Davis home at Third and B streets.
The spoke shrine has raced forward at breakneck speed in an effort to find its niche in the American sporting world.
Anthony Costello of Davis, president of the Hall of Fame board, believes this will be a breakout year for the Hall.
“We’ve always said this was a start-up project,” Costello explained. “We’ve spent the last two years restructuring the board, reworking the building, bringing the collection out of storage, rebuilding the website … doing a lot things that corporate funders expect to see in place.”
The hard work is paying off …
* On May 6, the Hall of Fame presented its inaugural Legends Gran Fondo, featuring three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond.
* A new elementary school education program is on the horizon.
* A locally based assistant executive director has been hired and oversees new daily hours.
* The Tireside Chat series will continue to bring interesting and internationally known visitors to town for discussions and presentations.
* The November induction ceremony continues to thrive, with national attention growing. This year’s induction is Saturday, Nov. 3.
* At the hub of the Hall of Fame’s increasing presence are powerful additions to its board of directors.
“These new members are all world-class cycling or industry people,” Costello told The Enterprise. “Those people are going to connect us much more to fundraising, too.”
As the shrine’s profile grew, Costello and Pennsylvania-based Executive Director Joe Herget were able to recruit a who’s who of marketing and cycling-savvy personalities to serve on the board.
John Greene, vice president of corporate sales at AEG and the Amgen Tour of California, joins Shawn Hunter of U.S. Pro Cycling Challenge; Bruce Donaghy, vice president of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney; Nancy Hill, customer marketing vice president of Del Monte Foods; Cathy Sutherland of EVP Kensington International; George Mount, a Hall of Fame inductee; and Todd Gogulski, a Davis resident and voice of the Tour de France.
“We wouldn’t have had any of these folks two or three years ago,” Costello said, pointing out that the cycling world wanted to see what direction Davis was taking the Hall of Fame.
Costello believes the new lineup speaks volumes to how the city, UC Davis and those in charge of the facility have propped up and promoted the new Hall.
Gogulski, who already is a frequent visitor at Third and B, is a “perfect” example of the new clout among the incoming board members.
“He’s right at the nexus of what we’re trying to do,” Costello said. “He’s a major player in the industry; he’s connected to every bike racer or rider we’ve ever heard of; he knows the history of the sport — but he also lives in Davis, so from a proximity standpoint, he can be heavily involved with us.”
Then there’s the potential impact in fundraising.
A $250,000 city of Davis redevelopment grant partially has sustained the Hall of Fame. Costello said the facility will reach a “tipping point” later in the year, at which time the organization needs to be self-sustaining.
Trustees like Greene, Hill and Sutherland are expected to bring fiscal clout.
But the Hall of Fame isn’t going to fall back entirely on contributions or grants. Costello and the current board have been pro-active: The annual induction ceremony is a money-maker and the new Legends Gran Fondo is expected to be a big financial shot in the arm.
“One of our goals when we relocated to Davis was to add more annual events that could focus on our inductees and raise money for the organization,” Costello said. “We’re optimistic that we can make this a truly one-of-a-kind event in the country and grow it quickly to be an important annual fundraiser for the Hall of Fame.”
Herget said the Gran Fondo is attracting “many of America’s greatest cyclists from all disciplines of the sport.”
LeMond, a 1996 Hall of Fame inductee, was the marquee participant in a field that included BMXer Stu Thompson, track superstar Nelson Vails, mountain-bike mavens Jacquie Phelan and Ruthie Mathes and triathlete John Howard.
As far-reaching as Costello and Herget believe the Hall of Fame’s impact will be, the pair know its bread and butter is local and regional attention. Enter Herget’s assistant, Kelsey Monahan.
A former San Francisco resident, Monahan was hired in June of 2011 to assist with the massive tasks of inventory, helping with website makeover, scheduling exhibit changes and staffing the Hall of Fame for daily hours. The Hall of Fame is now opened Tuesdays through Fridays from 1 to 5 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
From the new website — at which visitors can explore the ever-expanding treasure chest of the Pierce Miller Collection and the old hall’s recently unearthed bounty — to the frequent Tireside Chats, the Gran Fondo and the constantly changing Hall of Fame displays, Costello and Company think their vision is playing out.
“Just recently we didn’t have a home, the organization needed a lot of work — and we’ve been doing that work to show corporate funders here’s a new direction: all the things you have to have in place,” Costello reflected. “We’ve done that.”
Notes: Costello believes an internship at the Hall can be a game-changer in the job market: “Interns these days are looking at a tough job market and they’re doing everything they can to have (résumé entries) that are unique. We are that kind of opportunity — there are only a few sports hall of fames in the country.” …Visit www.usbhof.org to journey through cycling history, learn about upcoming Hall events or to sign up for the Legends Gran Fondo. Costello credits current trustees like Brodie Hamilton, Ken Hiatt, John Carbahal, John Hess, John Meyer, Bill Roe and Matt Dulcich — among others — “for doing most of the heavy lifting locally … getting us to this point.”
— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at [email protected] or 530-747-8047.