When Thomas Degasperi emailed 5-Hour Energy team manager Justin Blackman about the possibility of joining the team, he knew his chances were slim. “But what did I have to lose?” Degasperi says. “The worst thing he could say was no.”
And that’s pretty much what was stated in Blackman’s email response, other than he was sending him some complimentary product. Degasperi politely thanked him for the free 5-Hour Energy samples and welcomed Blackmanto his ski school in Windermere, Florida, if he was ever in Orlando. It just so happened that Blackman was going to be in town within a week of their email exchange, and he took the two-time world slalom champion up on his offer.
One week later, Degasperi was teaching several new people how to ski behind his Malibu TXi and was giving Blackman a glimpse of how spectacular shortline slalom is and how he would be a great water-sports representative of the 5-Hour Energy brand.
And just like that, a sponsorship contract was signed, and a couple months later, Degasperi was swerving for a national 5-Hour Energy commercial.
More recently, other connections have spawned from that email to Blackman. In early October, Degasperi was part of a 5-Hour Energy team event at the Tournament Players Club at Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. It’s there that he got to rub shoulders with NASCAR legend Michael Waltrip and pro golfer Jim Furyk. “I had never played golf before, so it was pretty cool to get lessons from Jim. I think I did OK,” Degasperi says.
Degasperi says that it was interesting to learn how his new friends prepared for an event, and he was curious if Furyk hadever used a sport’s psychologist. “When he told me that he’s been working with someone this season, I shared my experience of my sessions with my aunt in Italy,” he says. “We’re pretty much doing the same thing to get mentally ready to compete.”
Degasperi really hit it off with Waltrip. “What a great guy!” he says. I told him how skiing exhibitions used to take place on the infield lake during the Daytona 500 race several years ago, and he seemed supportive of opening a few doors to make it happen again.”
That’s exactly what pro skiing needs right now – a few open doors and an opportunity to be appreciated and loved by larger audiences. With Degasperi’s water-ski media exposure on the 2012 season of Italy’s version of Dancing With the Stars and his 5-Hour Energy commercial, perhaps more people will take notice.
To ski with Degasperi, read him at: firstname.lastname@example.org