King of the HammersJuly 9, 2018 11:05 pm Leave your thoughts
In February of 2018, five members of the i3 Global team embarked on the work trip of a lifetime.
We packed our desert-friendly clothing, video production equipment, and headed for Johnson Valley, California with the goal of capturing as much race footage as we could get in a week.
I3 Global sponsored driver Jason Blanton and his #966 custom-built 900 horsepower Ultra4 rig for this event. For all you gear heads out there, be sure to check Jason Blanton destroying the Hoonigan lot and racing a Lamborghini Huracán.
“King of the Hammers is considered the toughest one-day off road race in the world. It is the largest off-road race event in North America in terms of both competitors and spectators. It combines desert racing and rock crawling, and has expanded from one race to a series of 5 races held throughout the week and takes place each February in Johnson Valley, CA.”
Prior to the event, i3 Global provided a complete branding package to help elevate Jason Blanton to the same level his expert driving is gaining him recognition for. Jason’s primary sponsor is Nitto Tire, and they permitted us to use the actual tire tread pattern of the tires Jason races with in the logo. We also provided a wrap for the #966 car, feather flags to help identify camp and pit locations during the race, banners and fencing for the race team camp (which i3 Global’s team members called home for the week), and other various items to pass out to Jason’s team and spectators.
One thing we learned from this experience is can koozies are the #1 item spectators want. Gotta keep those beer cans cold in the desert sun! Our favorite branded item to see that we designed were all the shirts worn all over in the crowd and in Jason’s team.
In addition to support for Jason Blanton, we were also keeping an eye on Dennis Lapp’s team, Degenerate Racing. Dennis is the brother of our president, Kris Lapp. Jason Blanton races in the unlimited 4400 class, while Dennis Lapp races in the 4800 series, where he did exceptionally well at 7th place. King of the Hammers is such a grueling race it is considered a huge accomplishment to even cross the finish line.
The week of the event was a rollercoaster ride, but a huge success. Our resident social media expert, Cat Hahn, did a great job providing real time coverage for Jason Blanton while the race was in progress, achieving roughly 1 post an hour, sometimes more. That was no easy feat, as there was barely a strong enough internet connection onsite to send a text message. Our team had full media access with a closed internet connection in the media tent; however, with so many people trying to cover the race it was comparable to trying to stream video on a dial-up connection from the ‘90s. Cat was also heavily involved in capturing the media itself, zipping about on the Can-Am to capture photos/ videos and jumping on stage after Jason crossed the finish line to film, just to run back to the media tent to upload to social media and do it all again but she says she had the time of her life.
You can normally find Heath Showalter behind a keyboard making magic out of code, but his impressive videography skills and interest in motor sports made it an obvious choice to convince him that a week in the desert is a good idea. Heath and Cat drove supplies from our office in Kennewick to Johnson Valley, California, so their trip was a little longer than the rest of the team who traveled by air, but they enjoyed a day on the Oregon Coast on their way.
We rented a four-seat Can-Am UTV for the week, which we used to travel between locations to capture important race moments. Jason Blanton had more than one catastrophic failure in his car during the race, and we were right there in the pits to film every moment of it.
We put in very long days, filling our lungs with dust for weeks, but when Jason Blanton crossed the finish line and we all rushed on stage during his interview, it made it all worth it. Hearing i3 Global listed as a sponsor during his post-race interview and Blanton Racing’s social media coverage commended on Ultra4 TV was definitely the cherry on top. But probably best of all was hearing such a positive reaction to the branding package we provided for Jason from race fans and organizers.
— Joey McGraw, Multimedia Designer, i3 Global