My brother Zach and I started Jacks of Spade in 2013 as a way to hang out behind the scenes at biker events and races. We did little side jobs like brakes, fork rebuilds, chops, and stuff like that.
On August 15, 2015 - Zach committed suicide. It's been terrible not having him around. I was ready to give up on the company, but my family rallied and convinced me to keep Jacks of Spade going in Zach's memory. My dad and brothers; Trav, Mike, and Ian stepped up and kept things moving forward.
We didn't really have a solid mission until my dad and I got back to a D23 flattrack race in 2016. We met; Erik Moldenhauer, Cole Fealy, Bill and Blake Barrett, and the Schmidt's. We realized the the D23 Flattrack family was really special and that's when we decided to focus on growing the sport of Flattrack racing.
My dad built multiple bikes from boxes in the 80's and 90's. Like a giant Lego set. This captured Zach and I's interest immediately. When we proved we could ride our bmx bikes with enough energy, my dad got us a seized up 1973 Suzuki TS185. We worked on it and got it running. We began racing it in our yard and eventually up and down the dead end street we lived on. One day a few of our neighbors ran over yelling and screaming, but at this point, we were skilled in sliding into the garage while one of us slammed the door down. That didn't stop our neighbors, who tracked down my parents. Zach and I thought we were done, but we came to find out that our neighbors were Billy Hoffmeister, Bob Renyolds, and a few other D23 vintage racers. My dad went out and got us identical YZ80's and that was it. We entered the world of flattrack racing.
Zach and I both wanted lucky number 7 for our race number. My dad said nah, neither of you get it, figure something else out. Zach said "Fine, I'll make my own luck and rock 43 (4+3=7).
When Zach and I would race our bikes up and down the street, being little hooligans, our mom would get so mad and screw our names up. She'd yell "Jake, Zach", and eventually just yell "Jack!" So we became Jack, or "the Jacks." Basically, the name Jack meant we were hanging out, having a good time on our dirtbikes.
We new we wanted to create a playing card as part of our company logo, so we researched the origins and meanings of each suit. Spades, represented the working class. Blue collar, work with your hands, salt of the earth type of people. That's how we grew up, so it was simple. We were the Jacks of Spade.
We continued to sponsor a few men and women racers throughout 2021, when we decided to narrow our focus even more. Our refined mission statement was simple:Grow the Sport of Flattrack Racing. We became a 501c3 Non-Profit Organization and an AMA sanctioned race promoter. We rented out some fairgrounds, built a track, recruited an entire crew of volunteers, and promoted our first race. To the MaXX racing was born. We utilized the funds from this event to support the future of Jacks of Spade: the Jacks of Spade Youth Program.
For the 2022 race season, we were achieving our mission statement with a trident approach: Race team, New Kids on the Block, and To the MaXX races. The race team and New Kids on the Block are combined into our Youth Program. The race team consists of 5 racers (3 girls and 2 boys). The youth on the team were invited based on their attitudes off the track and the positive culture that they helped to build towards new comers at every D23 event. In order to maintain their position on the team, each racer must sign a contract. The team contract has no obligations for competition. Instead, we aim at awarding off track behavior such as; good grades, completing chores, making new friends, helping other racers, and assisting in the New Kids. In return, the youth team racers are awarded custom Jacks of Spade clothing, Leather race suits, graphics, team pit area, and more.
New Kids (on the Block) is a branch of our youth program. This includes a wide selection of top of the line safety equipment for youth riders to use free of charge while racing and training. We have a selection of youth race bikes available for use on practice and race day, as well. We also have volunteer coaches at every event to help train any new kids. We cover any fees associated with race day, including pit passes for the racer and up to two parents, AMA and D23 day passes, and up to 2 paid classes. The purpose of this part of the program is to provide opportunities to youth that want to try racing. This allows them to spend a day at the track, learn how to ride and race, and make new friends. 100% free.