The sponsorship allows the commission to give to a worthy cause, all while promoting how potatoes are beneficial to elite athletes.
“From a business standpoint, one of our primary missions is to communicate to consumers that potatoes should be a part of a balanced diet. They are good for fuel and an important source of nutrition. There’s no more credible source than to have more than 100 elite athletes saying it’s a base part of their healthy diet,” said Frank Muir, chairman and chief executive officer of the Eagle, Idaho-based commission.
Some of these runners are actually consuming Idaho potatoes during races, instead of the processed gels or other refueling options available.
Nutritionists are also getting involved with the promotion.
“There are nutritionists tied to some of these athletes. Some are athletes themselves, and they are writing articles about why potatoes make sense for this lifestyle,” Muir said.
From the more inspirational side of the sponsorship, Muir is proud to be associated with the RODS Racing group.
“I was inspired by Brady Murray’s story and the organization’s impact on the lives of these children,” he said.
The sponsorship is now in its second year.
Near the end of 2013, the commission gave the organization a donation of $50,000, to be used to match the donations raised by the team’s athletes.
“I liked the matching gift approach because it doubles the impact of all those racers’ fundraising,” Muir said.
To help promote the partnership, the commission has helped with advertising efforts. During the Potato Bowl, one of the 30-second spots was dedicated to RODS Racing.
“This is a way to promote Idaho potatoes as well as a relevant cause,” Muir said.
The organization has 117 athletes on their team, with an expectation to compete in over 600 races during 2014.
The group is just shy of having raised a total of $750,000, according to Brady Murray, founder of RODS Racing.
Currently, the group is racing to provide funding for the adoption of a girl from China. So far, the group has provided families to 11 orphans.
“This sponsorship has been so important because it allows us to accomplish our goals for this program, but it’s also good for them because we can promote the use of Idaho potatoes for a healthy lifestyle. We are elite athletes using Idaho potatoes for regular fuel at these events and during our training,” Murray said.