The action sports lifestyle is about making a mark -- leaving your mark on the world -- envisioning and executing a unique approach to the urban jungle, concrete wave or wooded trails.
The dudes I respect surely leave their mark and it's usually a waffle sole.
Vans is more than a brand I can rock. Vans is a lifestyle I can walk. Off the Wall is a commitment to creativity and individuality that has empowered and inspired some of the raddest riders out there.
I see it every day on my feed.
- Fernengel lacing up some some fresh kicks.
- BK posting about the terminal and his next horizon.
- Dak shouting out to the gear that keeps him going.
Action athletes are the adventure and they're all thanking @VansJerry.
I'm about the story behind the scenes and the people who make these journeys possible, so I figured I'd try to track down this dude, Jerry, and see why everyone is so thankful he's a part of their walk.
Guy was authentic from the beginning.
Jerry Badders has been with Vans almost as long as he's been on a bike. He made his way up through the Vans Am and Pro teams, even winning the '95 World Championship in Bogota, Colombia. Nowadays, he's the Vans BMX TM, Sports Marketing Manager and a dad who's still down to pedal to work.
VansJerry is making his mark by supplying the shoes people need to choose their path and chase their dreams.
How’d you end up working at Vans?
First started helping out Ev Rosecrans order the team shoes. Then started traveling with Ev and learning the ropes. Got injured in March ’99 at a NBL National and I started putting more time in at Vans.
Got offered the BMX TM job in '01.
Never thought I would be working at Vans HQ.
Working at Vans saved you from a life of ?
... working in the Navy. My dad is in the Navy and he wanted me to join.
What’s a typical day in the life?
Waking up at 4AM to get my kids ready, taking my 3 year old daughter Sierra to daycare, then returning home to ride my bike to Vans.
Get on emails, plan trips, talk to the riders, ship shoes and apparel, order shoes and apparel, watch some videos and go to meetings. Work on ads, catalogs and the website.
Then I finish at work and pedal home, pick up the car, pick up my daughter and play with my son Zane. FAMILY.
What shoes are you rocking?
The Vans Old Skool '92 -- Dakota Roche colorway.
What does the Off the Wall lifestyle look like as a parent and how do you lead your family?
Off The Wall looks like a kid that wants to have fun and be part of a family, action sports, music and art. I lead my family by example. Family comes first and my team is my family.
What insight would you give your teenage self?
Stay in college, get a degree, but keep your dreams and never give up. Always smile, have fun, do your best and make people happy.
How does your current role enable you to pursue your dreams?
You can’t compete and be an athlete your whole life, but old athletes can work in the industry and keep it progressing.
What’s the reality of being on the grind at Vans?
Love it. Keeps me busy and I love working with Steve Van Doren. It really is my dream job.
Words of wisdom to people who are on the fence about pursuing their goals?
Never give up and always focus on the things that are obtainable. Just because you ride a little kid's bike doesn’t mean you need to grow up. You can apply that to anything.
Where in the world has BMX taken you?
Bmx has taken me to Japan, China, Cuba, Guam, Europe, South America -- so many amazing places. Never thought I would travel to all these places and see all of what the world has to offer, because of a bike.
5 Best places to shred?
Vans HB Park.
How does riding prepare people for life? Are there life lessons you’ve learned through riding?
Keeps you focused and in shape, and allows you to see a different side of people.
Passions outside of riding?
Basketball and playing with my kids.
Who are some of the riders you admire and why?
I admire Dakota Roche for how hard he works, how he gets up every day to find spots and film. He loves doing what he does -- riding his bike, skating, surfing, moto.
There's always a smile on his face and he's a happy, grown up kid.
What dreams come next?
To be a BMX World Champ with my little boy Zane someday.
It only seems fitting I carry on the creed.
So, thanks @vansjerry.
Thanks for letting me share your journey. Thanks for giving so much to a culture I love. Thanks for spreading adventure and good vibes. Thanks for the inspiration and the humble reminders that good things come to good people. Thanks for giving me hope that I can be a rad dad and that I don't have to sellout. You're a reminder that dream jobs do exist and authentic kindness goes a long way.
You're a reminder that we gotta ride it 'til the wheels fall off and that a life Off the Wall is better than a life in a box.