Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Appleton, WI
Training Exp: > 13 years
Training Type: Bodybuilding
Fav Supp: AAEFX's whole line.
Rich Knapp WNBF Pro by Paul Kemp Jr
Paul Kemp Jr
Rich Knapp WNBF Pro
Over the course of the last 16 weeks I have steadily discovered that when it comes to sport management professionals there isn’t a homogenized mold to speak of. If there were a particular sport management mold, Rich Knapp would definitely have broken it. Rich is the first wheelchair-class World Natural Bodybuilding Federation (WNBF) Pro in history. Typically the roles of manager and athlete aren't as intimately intertwined, however besides bodybuilding Rich’s other profession it would seem, is being consistently first in everything he sets out to do, and he does both full time.
Rich claims that he “kind of fell into” this business. While battling with multiple sclerosis Rich, like so many others facing adversity, decided to make some changes to his lifestyle to live longer, stronger, and healthier. Amongst other things, he started lifting weights and making healthier dietary choices. Once physical changes and growth started to become visibly apparent some friends and co-workers urged him to enter a bodybuilding competition, and it was love at first pose. But it isn’t all stage-lights and cameras. A good portion of his day is dedicated to good old fashioned marketing, management, and administration duties. For example on any given day you might catch rich trying to follow leads to gain new, or manage and maintain existing sponsorships, while simultaneously engaged in social media marketing and networking, filling out and filing endless logs and paperwork. And all of this while diligently training and tracking food and water intake throughout the day. In addition to all of this, being the very first wheelchair-class WNBF Pro puts Rich in a strong position of leadership and advocacy where “helping to support and promote drug free and drug tested wheelchair bodybuilding shows, and drug free Pro Wheelchair divisions in the sport” have become not only hallmark responsibilities of his career but his unequivocal and personal mission statement.
Amongst the aspects of his job that Rich describes as most important are time management, which was at the top of his list and included balancing his family life with his professional life. Career development, which he feels is not just for his benefit, but hopes that his example and dedication to all aspects of this industry will nurture, grow, and show the next generation of wheelchair-bound athletes that they have choices in sports, other than traditional team sports such as basketball and rugby that they have been limited to in the past. Third on that list was public relations. Not the kind of person to take the gravity of any situation lightly rich muses, “I’m in the spotlight and everything I do is followed and scrutinized.” When Rich decided to make a comeback in the amateur wheelchair-class after being retired as an able bodied athlete 5 years prior, he says that two companies in particular, 3D Muscle Journey, and All American EFX, had faith in him and his drive and dedication, and as such really made a difference to him. So it goes without saying, he is devoted to making a difference for his sponsors.
When asked how he would describe the amount of structure, direction, and feedback needed to excel in this field his response was nothing short of direct in true Rich Knapp fashion, “Priceless. In bodybuilding these are all tied together at any level. How much effort you put into them reflects how far you will advance. Structure leads to gains. Feedback tells you what direction your changes need to go. Direction is getting help from someone more knowledgeable or experienced than you on how to use that feedback to increase your chances and make gains.” In relation, the most important thing Rich says he learned from this job is the true meaning of dedication and loyalty. “Being a pro is not all glory as many amateurs believe. It’s just a new start to establishing yourself on a new level. It’s like going from middle school to high school, or high school to college. The real work begins.”
According to Rich, the real work encompasses establishing your credibility in this field, which again hits upon what seems to be our topic de jour, dedication and drive. He says this was done simply by performing his job and doing it well. “Hitting the stage and winning. That time on stage takes months of work, one wrong move and it all blows up in your face. I am very consistent and that shows people my attention to detail and dedication. A big one is I never complain or make excuses because of my M.S. I just get the work done.” With over 14 shows and 7 first place wins under his belt, this philosophy seems to be garnering results.
So, is Rich Knapp WNBF Pro a typical sport manager? No, but he Typically gets things accomplished, big things. Both as a sports manager and as a professional athlete, including Winning his WNBF Pro card and becoming the First WNBF Wheelchair Pro in history, along with giving others drive to meet and achieve their goals. “No one hands us anything. Why should it be any different with the way we treat ourselves, especially when it comes to our workouts? If you you can lift, lift then. Think about the people that can't even get out of bed, and take advantage of your gift.”