Gearbox Racquetball just sent out a notice about some new commercials they’ve produced to be aired during the ESPN Racquetball Broadcasts (dang, now I need a blog post about that, too). Hey, if a Gearbox racquetball racquet can make a blind guy with a seeing eye dog or a an actual hamster good at the sport, I’ll take one
And Rafeal, I REALLY hope you guys post some photos or behind the scenes video from the “Hamster Court”!! Please!!
Gearbox Hamster – For the record, my guess is that the hamster with the Red shirt is played by Javier Moreno, and the one in the blue shirt is either Alvaro Beltran or Rafael Filippini
Gearbox Champion – Pretty funny, but the “unrated version” seems to be getting tons more hits
We’ve known for some time that Ben Croft had signed with Gearbox, but the company made the official announcement a few days ago with a press release. Gearbox has been consistently upping their presence in the racquetball community since appearing on the scene just over a year ago, and the addition of another top ranked pro to their player roster continues to solidify their position. Ben finished the 2007-2008 season with some big wins over top 5 players, and I’m sure Gearbox will see some big things from him in the coming seasons.
Gearbox Racquetball Welcomes Ben Croft #7 ranked player on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) Bonita, CA June 18, 2008
Gearbox racquetball is proud to announce the signing of Ben Croft from Lake Bluff, Illinois. At the bright young age of 23, Ben has stormed his way up the rankings where he is currently ranked #7 on the International Racquetball Tour.
Ben is not only the youngest player in the current top 10, he is also known as one of the most exciting and intense players to watch on the court. Ben captures the audience with his fierce approach to the game and super human speed, sometimes diving five times in one rally to chase down any ball.
Ben holds an unprecedented seven intercollegiate titles in Division I, thus forming the solid foundation of a champion. Ben Croft also received the prestigious Rookie of the Year Award in 2007 as well as the 2007 United States National Doubles Champion title. Having had successful victories over Jason Mannino, Shane Vanderson and Jason Thoerner, Ben’s determination to win was further proven in the 2007-2008 season.
Gearbox Racquetball is extremely pleased to add Ben Croft to their roster of professional athletes. Gearbox’s Athlete Manager, Joel Arredondo says, “Ben is a dominant force to be reckoned with and an extraordinarily talented athlete who brings excitement to the game. I could not be any happier to have him be a part of the Gearbox family”.
Gearbox racquetball takes it roots in being a company for the player designed by a racquetball player. Seeing racquetball not only as a great sport but also as a great lifestyle, Gearbox wants to create a proud and enduring identity for the sport. Gearbox is committed to designing products for the racquetball player lifestyle, products that promote racquetball on and off the court.
The USA Racquetball National Singles Championships has traditionally been title sponsored by Ektelon, so they have been the only manufacturer allowed to to set up a booth showcasing the new season’s products. The other companies were forced to host suites back at the sponsoring hotel, where sponsored players would congregate to see the new products and enjoy some snacks. This year, four of the major racquetball equipment manufacturers had booths in the players’ village. Ektelon, Head, E-Force, and Gearbox were all on-site showing off new products.
Ektelon – I’d say that Ektelon definitely had the largest presence, with their typical huge banners, and tons of products from their entire line (racquets, apparel, etc) both for see and for sale. As Ektelon brings this setup to all of the major national events, it’s no surprise that they have a fine-tuned event machine.
Head – A big presence at the US OPEN, it was nice to see Head with a big display at National Singles. Besides showcasing the forthcoming technology, they also a HUGE display of old racquets to stir up the racquetball memories. And to keep you always coming back for more, Head also had a TV in the booth running Fran’s instructional DVD’s, and Tennis Channel broadcasts for past US OPEN events.
Gearbox – Still relatively new on the scene, Gearbox brought a worthy booth to National Singles. New apparel, as well as some new racquet designs were on display, and the Gearbox staff of Joel Arredondo and Rafael Filippini were always ready to chat about anything racquetball related.
E-Force – The guys at E-Force kinda got the bum location of all the vendors, way back in the corner of the players’ village. You kinda missed it when walking in, and by the time you’re leaving the club after a long day, stopping by a booth seemed like the last thing on your mind. The new racquets looked and felt GREAT, and I think Chris Crowther was all the advertisement they needed. He was absolutely CRUSHING every single shot of every rally. Bar-none, he had the most powerful game of anyone at the event.
Gearbox made a big splash at this year’s 2008 USA Racquetball National Singles Championships with a large booth showcasing the new frames for 2008-2009. After some product training from Joel Arredondo and Rafael Filippini, I got a pretty good feel for the new racquets from Gearbox. Building off the popular Gearbox GB250 (170g), two new frames will debut this season. They will both feature the same design as the GB250, but will offer two new weights – 165g and 185g. The GB250 from last year will get a graphics refresh with gold letter replacing the silver versions. There was a also a pink GB250 (170g, I believe) in the Gearbox booth, but I didn’t get a close-up (manufacturer’s booth photos coming soon). Rafael was also telling me about his road trips in the Gearbox RV, spreading the good racquetball word across the nation.
‘Tis the time of year that the major equipment manufacturers start announcing any new contracts with Pro level players. This list is not comprehensive of all Pro players, as many are in the middle of existing contracts. Here is a quick summary:
Rhonda Rajsich – 2 year contract
Shane Vanderson – 3 year contract
Jason Thoerner – 3 year contract
Mike Guidry – 2 1/2 year contract
Mike Green – 2 year contract
Ryan Smith – 2 year contract
Kane Waselenchuk (*** no official word has been released to date, but Kane has been seen on event posters with his new “Krowning Moment” racquet. It appears to be his own line, produced by Pro Kennex – as noted by the Pro Kennex logo on the posters and racquet stencil)
I’ll update this list as any new information surfaces ..