There’s no question that Title IX has been a game-changer for women’s sports. But the motorcoach industry has also been a beneficiary.
The increase in females playing sports has grown the demand for buses and coaches to transport teams to games, meets and competitions.
“Title IX directly impacts our business,” said Ross Gabrick, Operations Manager for Richfield Bus Co. in Bloomington, Minnesota.
That’s why the United Motorcoach Association operator was eager to take part in a yearlong campaign celebrating the impact of the landmark federal legislation in Minnesota.
50th anniversary of Title IX
Title IX is a federal civil rights law passed as part of the Education Amendments of 1972 that prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or other education program that receives federal money. As a result of the law, female participation in high school sports in Minnesota has soared to 49% from 15% — the highest percentage per capita of any state, according to news reports.
With the 50th anniversary of Title IX coming in 2022, Minnesota Sports and Events (MNSE) has announced the creation of the Land O’Lakes Inc. Title IX Championship Tour to honor and celebrate the contributions that Minnesota female athletes and leaders have made to the advancement of girls’ and women’s sports.
The tour will feature a custom-decorated coach wrapped in a mural spotlighting 11 legendary Minnesota women who have been selected for their notable achievements in athletics: Annie Adamczak-Glavan, Ann Bancroft, Peg Brenden, Natalie Darwitz, Jessie Diggins, Tasha Feigh, Lisa Lissimore, Fartun Osman, Samantha Seliger-Swenson, Deb Sunderman and Lindsay Whalen.
A rich history of women’s athletics
The state of Minnesota has a rich history of women’s athletics — from trailblazers to Olympians, Minnesota has produced a staggering number of individuals who have made their mark on girls’ and women’s sports locally, nationally and internationally.
The bus tour is the first of several events scheduled to highlight the 50th anniversary of Title IX in advance of the 2022 NCAA Women’s Final Four on April 1 and 3 at the Target Center in Minneapolis.
Richfield Bus is responsible for moving around the bus that is serving as an interactive rolling billboard about the impact of Title IX. When parked, the motorcoach becomes a mini-sports center with a basketball hoop mounted on the side and a mini-golf setup. There are a number of sports set up in areas that are designed for play.
‘A message worth sharing’
“When you have a message worth sharing, this is the kind of idea you need to pursue. We as bus companies need to be willing to find ways to work with people who want to send this kind of message. It provides benefits to us as a bus company, and the industry as a whole, the more people who are involved in these kinds of things,” Gabrick said.
As part of the arrangement, Richfield Bus sold the bus to the nonprofit for the project, explained Stan Holter, the company’s General Manager.
“We’ve contracted with them to drive the bus, moving it to the different events,” said Holter, who has personally taken on those duties.
Gabrick notes that the benefit of more women in sports means access to more scholarships providing affordable access to a college education.
“I think it’s important to remind people that Title IX provides opportunities for younger female athletes to get a start in sports, and that leads to scholarships and the opportunity to actually become educated, because of their connection to a sport,” he said.
Highlighting ‘amazing achievements’
This summer and fall, the Land O’Lakes Inc. Title IX Championship Tour will travel to events in the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota, including the Minnesota Vikings Training Camp, the Land O’Lakes Legends Classic, the Mankato Marathon and more. Each tour stop will include educational exhibits, interactive games and photo opportunities. Click here for the current schedule.
“As a Minnesota-based farmer cooperative with a deep commitment to our communities, we’re proud to support the effort to highlight the amazing achievements that so many of this state’s citizens have made in women’s athletics,” Land O’Lakes Chief Communications Officer Kim Olson said in a statement. “The Land O’Lakes Title IX Championship Tour will be a great way for people to learn about the importance of, and celebrate, Title IX in advancing girls’ and women’s sports in Minnesota and beyond.”
The custom-wrapped exterior of the Land O’Lakes Inc. Title IX Championship Tour bus was designed by Leeya Rose Jackson, a renowned black, femme and queer art director and designer living in Minneapolis.
“We’re excited about the opportunity to educate, entertain and inspire Minnesotans — especially young girls who are aspiring athletes and future leaders — through the Land O’Lakes Title IX Championship Tour,” MNSE President & CEO Wendy Blackshaw said in a statement. “The beautifully designed bus will be a traveling billboard for the accomplishments that so many women have made to sports, and we look forward to sharing these women’s stories with the state.”