We often say that our products are designed by riders and for riders, that our passion for the industry drives everything we do, and that this company is built on the back of expertise.We wouldn’t say that if it wasn’t true, but it applies to more than just the owners, engineers, and mechanics.
That love of riding extends to every corner of SuperATV, including customer service. That’s where you’ll find Kristen Smith helping people place orders and solving complex vehicle issues every day.
She knows her way around an ATV better than most—not because SuperATV taught her, but because of her dedication to the industry.
Kristen grew up on a farm near the small town of Deputy, Indiana, just a few miles north of SuperATV’s home in Madison, where they raised chickens, goats, and horses. Quads were a way of life then—an everyday tool that was required to just get the daily chores done, whether that was feeding animals or hauling firewood. That doesn’t mean they were only for work, though. In their free time, Kristen and her family made trails throughout their land and rode for hours.
Those long evenings cruising around her family’s farmland would prove to be formative, but horse racing would be where she first cut her teeth.
When she watched her first Kentucky Derby as a kid, the horse she picked won. It was love at first sight. At age 13, she bought a horse—the first horse on the farm. She knew she wanted to be a jockey.
She needed to save money so she could study to be a jockey at college. To that end, she began working as an assistant retail manager here in Madison. That’s when she met her first boyfriend, Trent.
He was an avid quad cross-country racer. He had been racing for years and was becoming a competitive force in the sport. His love for quads was infectious, and she found herself itching to be back on the track with him instead of watching from the sidelines.
Kristen bought her own race quad—a 2002 Honda 400EX just like Trent’s—and started to practice and improve alongside him. When she raced, the feeling of flying off the line into the unknown jumble of racers was intoxicating. She was adopted into an ever-growing family filled with like-minded racers and competitors.
“Everyone just understands each other,” says Kristen. “They’re always there to help you out.”
The community is what she loves most.
She still had her first love, though. Thoroughbred racing was calling her name, so she left her assistant retail manager position, put quads on hold, and went to Kentucky to finish her degree to become a horse jockey.
While studying at the North American Racing Academy in Kentucky, she got her first real taste of what life as a jockey meant. She watched the students around her sacrifice everything to fight for real racing success and fall short. She saw the successful thoroughbred racers that sacrificed enough to be on top and the toll it took on their lives.
“The people that I worked with never had a smile or a kind word to say,” Kristen said.
To succeed in that industry would have taken all her time and demanded a singular focus. It would have cost her too much—family, quads, and, apparently, joy. She made the difficult decision to return home to Indiana and leave thoroughbred racing behind.
When Kristen arrived back in Madison, SuperATV was on her mind. She had made a choice—it was quad racing over horse racing—and getting a job at SuperATV would mean that she would be that much more immersed in the industry. So that’s what she did. Kristen started out working as a customer service representative, where she spent her days helping customers find the parts they needed to get the technical support they were looking for.
She has since been promoted and now works as an inside sales supervisor. Her interaction with customers hasn’t changed much—she still takes calls and uses her industry knowledge to help customers on a daily basis—but now she also manages a team of seven customer service reps.
In her spare time, she and Trent (now her husband) buy old, beat-up ATVs and fix them up for resale. The process of fixing up a quad almost always results in installing a SuperATV carrier bearing. “The OEM carrier and a lot of other brands just don’t hold up with racing or frequent trail riding,” she says.
She also owns a 1984 Honda 50 Pit bike as sort of a pet project. Originally maxing out at 22 mph downhill, the bike has been completely rebuilt and now turns 80ccs—closer to 35 mph at top speed.
Kristen owns three race quads, all of which have that same SuperATV carrier bearing installed in them. She also owns work quads that she uses to get chores done or just go trail riding. Her favorite vehicle of all time is the Honda 400EX—only 2007 and older models, though.
“The older models are just tanks and will last forever. The first quad I bought was a 2002 with the ‘goggle’ style headlights, bone stock, and practically brand new.”
She expects that machine to outlast every other machine she owns.
Kristen never looked back. Quad racing gives her the thrill she always hunted for in her childhood and in horse racing. She still practices with Trent, but now they take turns cheering each other on from the sidelines.
Her dedication to the industry has led to constant improvement in her racing abilities. She’s been in numerous races to get better at the sport she loves most. Even after sitting out most of the 2018 racing season with a broken hand, Kristen was able to come back and win her first race in September of that year.
The next year she remained injury free and ended up winning the Women’s Advance Class Championship in IXCR.
So what’s next for Kristen?
According to her, “Next year my goal is to do a couple GNCC races and attend a new series starting in Kentucky called KXCR.” She’s hoping to come out with a few wins in the Women’s Advance and C classes.
That fighting spirit and her faith are the driving forces behind who Kristen is and everything she does. “Without my faith in Jesus Christ there is no way I could have accomplished what I have in work and racing,” she says. Her goal of being better than the artificial barriers placed around her, all in service of the hobby she loves, is emblematic of SuperATV’s spirit and the reason why Kristen is such a perfect fit here.
The next time you call in for support, just remember—that voice on the other end of the line carries a multitude of knowledge, and it’s no accident that they’re the one you’re talking to.