Over the next four days, Polar Bottle Events Coordinator Dane Hansen will drive close to 24 total hours to spend two full days in blistering heat and humidity selling water bottles to the nearly 10,000 RAGBRAI riders who travel from around the world to participate in this crazy, 468-mile, week-long ride across Iowa. At night, rather than go home to a soft bed in a well air-conditioned hotel room, Dane has volunteered to camp alongside the riders. He theorizes that the solidarity and partying that comes with celebrating the start of the tour at night will be well worth the brutal wake up call he knows awaits him come sunrise when the morning Iowa heat wave will transform his tent into an oven.
He will be back in the office early Tuesday morning, eager to scour the web for new events to represent the Polar Bottle brand and finalize plans for the numerous races, trade shows and fundraising events our company has attended for our entire 19-year history. The race he is most looking forward to in the months ahead? El Tour de Tucson, of course, where it will be hot, “quite hot.”
For Dane, the higher the temperature, the better the event.
“They are a lot of work but are really rewarding because people are so excited about the bottle,” Dane said, referring to the insulation capabilities of Polar Bottle water bottles, which were originally designed specifically to keep water cool during long rides on hot summer days.
Since 1994, when Polar Bottle introduced the first insulated sport water bottle on the market, our company has attended dozens of annual outdoor industry trade shows and sporting events to showcase our product to the public. In the beginning, Polar Bottle president Judy Amabile and vice president Robert Heiberger worked the majority of the events. As the company grew, however, it quickly became clear that we needed to create a position dedicated exclusively to attending events around the country.
Dane, who has been with the company for a little over two years, was promoted to his current position in February. He has already attended close to 20 events and has finalized plans for seven more before the end of the year. After Ragbrai, Dane heads off to the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market trade show in Salt Lake City, followed by the USA Pro Cycling Challenge professional bike race across Colorado.
The best part about his job, he says, is meeting Polar Bottle customers face to face and the camaraderie among the other exhibitors. Dane says most companies send the same representative to every show and after a few events you start to form a bond. At the end of a particularly long trade show in Chicago this winter, for example, he says exhibitors joined into a group cheer.
“It was like being in a sports stadium,” he said, adding that he ended up being delayed in Chicago for two extra days because of weather but still remembers the weekend fondly.
Dane estimates he spends close to half of his work hours on the road, which has fine-tuned his travel preferences. His favorite airline: Delta, whose beverage service includes cookies, peanuts AND pretzels and — Dane estimates — offers up to 1 ¼ inches more legroom than other airlines. His preferred hotel chain is, for no particular reason, the Hyatt. Granted, as we have already established, Dane is not especially particular about his accommodations…