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Between the Motos: Erin Bates

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Every motocross and supercross fan knows who Erin Bates is, but just in case you’re new to the sport, or just coming back to it, Erin is the Speed TV floor commentator for the AMA Supercross and AMA National Motocross broadcasts. She has been around moto for a long time, and was previously the floor announcer at the supercrosses, where she would shame poor KTM Junior Supercross Kids into giving her a kiss on the cheek. She’s an incredibly nice, down-to-earth girl, as you can tell in this interview for this week’s “Between the Motos.”

  • Erin Bates anticipates her meeting with Brad Pitt. She was sadder later when he didn't show.
Racer X: So, we had an opportunity to possibly have Brad Pitt at the races last weekend, and you were going to interview him, but he didn’t show up. What did you do? Did you scare him off?
Erin Bates: I must say, it was one of those things. He was supposed to show up, and I was supposed to interview him during intermission, and I was so looking forward to it and I was so excited, and when he didn’t show, it was a big letdown. It’s Tuesday now [when this interview was conducted] and I’m just finally starting to get over it. I’ve been sulking.

I don’t know why you girls go ga-ga over him.
The only logical reason I could come up with for him not showing up – I mean, it was kind of obvious – but I figured he was probably waiting for me back at my hotel room. That’s the only thing that made sense to me.

So how’d that work out?
It didn’t work out very well. He was there, but just in spirit.

You’re all important and on TV and stuff nowadays, but didn’t you start out as Miss Freestyle or something like that?
We’re going back a full decade, apparently! But yeah, I started out as Miss Freestyle Motocross, and I did that for about two events, and it just really wasn’t me. I think it’s a great position for a lot of girls to start, but it wasn’t me. I wanted to be more a part of the show, and I felt I had a lot to offer. I asked the promoter if there was anything else I could do, and that’s when my announcing position began.

That’s where I was going with this. There are a lot of pretty faces at the races, but you’ve always stood out as a smart woman, and you’re pretty articulate, so I wondered how such a brainy chick became “Miss Freestyle.”
I think it all boils down to desire. When I was younger, I was a pharmacists’ technician, and then I was an insurance agent, and then I sold advertising, so I had done all of the jobs that I said to myself I wouldn’t be doing for the rest of my life. There’s just so much more out there, and I just really wanted to experience things and see where they could take me. And I remember sitting in the stands at the Salt Lake City Supercross in 2003, and I looked at my brother, and I said, “One day, I’m going to have Jamie Little’s job,” and not even a year later, sure enough, I was. I had her job. It’s one of those things that I look back and I have to laugh because it happened that fast. If you want it bad enough, you’ll figure out a way to make it work.

Well, you’re a motocross girl, right? You’ve been around moto for forever. Are you going to end up ditching us like Jamie Little did? I still take that kind of personally...
(Laughs) It’s one of those things that I don’t think you can take it personally. At the moment, I’m at the top of my game as far as the television package can go for supercross and motocross, and it’s my family, and I love what I do more than anything in the world. I’m so passionate about it, and moto, for sure, is my forte, it’s my background, it’s what I live, eat and breathe, but there comes a point in everyone’s life when different things are thrown at you, and times change, and it becomes time to maybe look onward and upward to what’s next. But, yeah, I’m definitely interested in diversifying myself and seeing what else it out there, but in no way, shape, or form am I leaving my supercross family. It’s a matter of maybe just growing up.

You’re not planning on maybe taking my job or something, are you? Because I don’t need the stress...
You never say never. You never know these days what’s going to happen with Erin. It’s all brand-new! But, no, I think you do too good of a job at what you do, so I’ll let you keep doing it.

Nice. That’s a nice way of saying you don’t want to do my job. I get it.
(Laughs) Would you want to do my job? Would you want to switch for a day?

I could totally do your job! I would wear the same sort of tops and everything, with my moobs prominently displayed. It’d be hot!
Are you saying that all I do is have my boobs hanging out? C’mon, now, that’s not complimenting my smarts now!

Hey, if you’ve got it, flaunt it. That doesn’t mean you are or are not smart.
A little T&A can go a long way, right?

Exactly. So what’s your favorite part about the motocross world?
Honestly, I would have to say that the people are the best part. Going to work every weekend is a pleasure, and I’m so blessed to do what I do. Yeah, it’s a job, and it’s a lot of stress, but going to work, it’s a huge family, and I never really realized how important that is. But at the end of the day, when you have good people surrounding you, and you’re happy to be where you’re at, it just makes your job so delightful so you’re excited to go to work. But I’m an adrenaline junky, to say the least, and I’m very passionate about racing, so the best parts of my job are the people – including my fans, they’re incredible – but also the racing aspect alone. I love racing, I love the athletes, and I’m really fortunate to be around such a great group of people every weekend.

It seems like everywhere you look on the internet, when someone’s talking about you, they’re usually saying two things: First, that you’re much prettier in person than you are on TV, and second, that you’re incredibly nice. And those two things don’t always come together. What do you think about that?
First of all, to get any kind of compliment on the internet is a huge success just by itself! But actually, I hear it non-stop that I’m a lot better looking in person than I am on TV, so I don’t know what that really means, but I guess my headsets aren’t exactly what they’re looking for! (Laughs) I’m not really sure. But as far as me being nice, I’m totally flattered by that compliment. I’m from a really small town in British Columbia, Canada, and regardless of what I’ve run across, you can take me out of Canada, but you can’t take the Canadian out of the girl. As far as I’m concerned, we’re all equal, and we still put our pants on one leg at a time. So, thanks. I love people, and it’s really nice to know that people respect me and appreciate what I do for the sport. Any compliment, I’ll take it! So thank you. You made my day.

Mission accomplished.
(Laughs)
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