Rural is Rad Grassroots Movement Launches

The Rural is Rad (RiR) movement recently launched to support rural brands and founders in the outdoor industry by helping consumers and specialty independent retailers discover new brands. Its mission is to empower consumers to shop locally while fostering brand awareness for the products, jobs and communities that are being developed in more remote places. While it is currently Colorado-based, the movement has a vision for the community it is creating to become a formula that rural brands nationwide can replicate. 

Rural is Rad was dreamed up by the founders of Town Hall Outdoor Co (Robin Hall), Buttnski (Kelly Mazanti) and Stray Wild (TJ Smith). The movement was formed through a shared objective to build awareness for rural brands and founders who experience shared challenges working in remote places with limited resources. 

“Rural is Rad aims to bring awareness and connection to rural businesses and founders in the outdoor recreation industry,” says Hall. “Our goal is to build a comprehensive directory, marketplace and community of outdoor-oriented brands for people to discover, shop and support year-round, while providing a resource for rural founders to collaborate and, potentially, build something bigger. This movement will start right here in Colorado and expand nationwide in future years, with the help of key partners.”

Rural is Rad hosts micro gatherings and promotions throughout the year, with one main event happening during Small Business Saturday. "Rural is Rad Week" will kick off on Small Business Saturday November 30 this year. Last year was the inaugural year for Rural is Rad Week. RiR aims to provide consumers with an alternative to shopping big business through the feel-good purchasing power of shopping rural as well as connecting with local communities. The goal is to showcase purposeful purchasing opportunities, encourage collaboration and diversify economic growth. 

Rural is Rad showcases the grit and determination of rural outdoor brands and founders in the outdoor industry, helping them get discovered because in rural communities it is harder to gain awareness. Ultimately, the movement hopes to draw in the consumer who is mindful about what they are purchasing and seeks to connect with brands that are centered around purpose and values — those who are likely to care for the outdoors and treat the outdoors with respect. 

"We believe that rural communities are not only the heart of the outdoor experience, but also the engine driving connections and sustainability in our industry," adds Mazanti. "Through our movement, we aim to shine a bright light on hard-working and passionate rural businesses, create deep bonds between brands and build a loyal following with consumers.” 

“As founders in rural communities in Colorado, we know how important it is to collaborate and support each other due to working with more constraints and limited resources that are available in urban environments,” adds Smith. “We are excited to help retailers and consumers find and fall in love with passionate, hard-working companies that provide great gear and services.”

As part of its commitment to fostering inclusivity and collaboration, Rural is Rad will host a series of events, workshops and networking opportunities designed to empower rural entrepreneurs, connect industry leaders and inspire the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts. Additionally, the movement has launched an online platform, serving as a hub for rural-based brands to showcase their products, share stories, and connect with a global audience. For a calendar of events: Also follow and connect with RiR on Instagram @ruralisrad 

ATRA Opens Applications for Youth Trail Race Certification

In an effort to bring more awareness to trail racing among America’s youth, the American Trail Running Association (ATRA) is starting a program to list existing trail races under an ATRA Youth calendar. To make them more visible on the ATRA calendar and bring awareness to races, the association has created a Youth Trail label that race directors can feature on their race website so runners will know that youth athletes are welcome and encouraged to participate. 

There are very few requirements to be included in this listing — it requires no changes to how organizers manage or run their race, just an acknowledgement that they allow youth participation. The recommended race attributes being used as guidelines to be included in this new program are: 

  • Race distance of under 10 miles
  • Terrain is greater than 75 percent natural surface
  • Allows youth participants at least as young as 14 years
  • Willing to offer 15 percent discount to youth 19 years and under or host a specifically youth oriented event
  • Willing to offer a minimum of two free youth entries if requested

What ATRA will do: 

  • A link to the race on the youth webpage and calendar of youth races
  • A badge next to the race on the main ATRA calendar calling out the race as Youth Approved
  • Social posts on ATRA's Instagram account calling out youth trail race opportunities

For more: Max King, [email protected]; or Paul Kirsch, [email protected]

Outdoor Alliance Names Rogers Grasstops Advocacy Director

The  Outdoor Alliance has hired Taylor Rogers as its new Grasstops Advocacy Director to guide 20 members of the first cohort of its Grasstops Collective, a leadership and advocacy development program that trains grasstops advocates to build relationships with policymakers and advocate for conservation priorities. 

The Grasstops Collective program will train these community leaders on conservation-based advocacy skills, such as building meaningful relationships with decision-makers, including policymakers and their staff; identifying opportunities for others in their community to advocate for public lands and outdoor recreation; and legislative terminology and process. Advocates who graduate from the program will go on to advocate for conservation and recreation policy for years to come. 

“There are many engaged individuals committed to public land and outdoor recreation advocacy and this program aims to help amplify their efforts through their larger networks,” explains Adam Cramer, CEO of Outdoor Alliance. “We see this program as a means for generating a ripple effect in the outdoor community that inspires more people to pair their adventure pursuits with civic engagement.”

This cohort of 20 grasstops advocates come from across the country, with various backgrounds, outdoor recreation pursuits, and leadership roles. They include leaders of local climbing organizations, executive directors of mountain bike, recreation and trail running organizations,

Rogers has worked in policy and advocacy targeting decision-makers from local city councils to global leaders, most recently having worked as the senior legislative aide for a Colorado state senator. She completed a master’s in development studies specializing in Power, Participation and Social Change from the University of Sussex in England, centering her career around facilitation, community building and volunteer engagement. 

“Grasstops leaders are unique for their meaningful voices in their communities, whether in business, nonprofit, or local government. They are the unofficial mayors who know everyone at the crag, trailhead, or put-in,” says Rogers. “I’m very excited to help coordinate Outdoor Alliance’s first-ever Grasstops Collective cohort and help train these grasstops leaders on outdoor policy and advocacy, so they can move the needle on conservation, recreation, and climate policy.”