Brittney Olsen for Champion Spark Plugs




Has an opportunity ever fell in your hands and instantaneously a big, bright light bulb starts flashing above your head as your heart beat races, filling your body with warm fuzzy feelings? 

Well, this is exactly how I felt after one 20th Century Racing fan told me about the “Search for a Champion” contest. Champion Spark Plugs is awarding $125,000 in racing sponsorships for the 2014 season! There are four phases to the contest; create and upload your video entry, round one voting, grand prize voting and the grand prize announcement.

PHASE 1 — TIME FRAME  Nov 1, 2013 – Jan 3, 2014
CREATE AND UPLOAD YOUR ENTRY Entering the 2014 Search for a Champion contest begins with creating a 2-minute video entry showcasing your ride and demonstrating why you should become a Champion-sponsored driver.
I immediately thought, “What do I have to lose, there is still one month til the deadline? I use Champion Spark Plugs in my race bike! Making a two minute video, why that’s easy, right?”
So, I rushed to grab a pencil and notebook to begin making my $50,000 story board! I envisioned filming in a large, old warehouse with just me, my race bike and Matt’s 1936 Knucklehead, explaining my early aspirations of being a racer and being told racing old bikes was next to impossible, while also tying in the history of Harley-Davidson and Champion Spark Plugs.
The holidays were approaching fast upon us and our original videographer had to change his plans and was not able to shoot my video. I did not let that get in the way of making a video for the contest. Quickly, I contacted a talented photographer from my home town and asked if he could shoot my video and he agreed to do the job! We planned on filming the weekended before Christmas, however as luck would have it, he had some issues come up that day and had to reschedule for the weekend after. This was okay with me though because quite frankly, I simply was not ready.

Matt suggested that I should wear a shirt or sweater that had the Champion Logo embroidered on it, and I thought that was BRILLIANT! However, due to the logo’s register trademark, I simply figured we should just have CHAMPION embroidered on the front. So contacted a local t-shirt shop to get it done, but their quote was way to expensive and would not be done on time for the video shoot. DANG! That’s okay though, I have a knack for being crafty, especially when things get down to the wire!  With a new vision in mind, I purchased a few sheets of  felt, two spools of  wool embroidery thread and a pack of letter stencils from our small town art store. I worked around the clock to make a special, custom, one-off sweater for my Champion video.


The January 3rd deadline was within a week away and the footage we shot was not exactly the greatest. I wanted to sound unscripted, real and natural so I did not make a script, which turned out to be a big mistake! I looked and sounded pretty confused. When we were all said and done I did not feel confident in what we filmed that weekend. Thankfully, Matt pulled me aside the next day and told me, he knows how passionate I am about racing old motorcycles and that he believes I am a Champion. He asked that I spend the next day writing a script and organizing a real blue print for the video and if I could do that we would re-shoot the video on January 1st, the only day available for a great film studio in our area.

You guessed it! I researched the use of champion plugs in race bikes from the 1920’s and the history of the Champion Spark Plugs founder, Albert Champion and what I found brought tears of joy to my eyes. I wrote a powerful script and rehearsed my lines over 100 times! Together Matt and I worked on a blue print that laid every video clip and image out to the exact time of the audio. Then the first of January came and our video crew arrived at 9 a.m. sharp! I quickly styled my hair, threw on some make-up, put on my leather racing pants and topped the wardrobe attire with my fine custom wool garment that I embroidered by hand.


By noon, we had all the footage we needed and were heading into town to edit!  I could not believe we had shot and edited my video all within the same day and had a polished, completely edited two minute video done by 11 p.m.

Following Albert Champion’s untimely death at age 49, GM board chairman Alfred P. Sloan observed that “the keynote of [Champion’s] success was that he was never satisfied…his mind was open to the necessity for constant improvement.”

This quote from the Automotive Hall of Fame website, stuck with me while shooting my Champion video. I could have quit and given up so many times, but problems are just something you solve and work past. It takes a lot of hard work to get to what you want but if you are diligent and remain focused you can overcome your difficulties to achieve whatever it is that you wish.

Now that the entry deadline has past, the 387 contestants face the next phase of the contest, Round One voting which begins tonight at midnight.

PHASE 2 — TIME FRAME Jan 6, 2014 – Feb 2, 2014
Starting January 6, 2014 the race is on to become a Champion-sponsored driver and 1 of 15 grand prize finalists. You and your fans can vote once per day for each entry and every vote counts.

If we are able to win a sponsorship from Champion, 20th Century Racing, in return will sponsor another young racer to compete in the 165cc lightweight Hummer class, as part of our mission to keep antique motorcycle racing alive!



20th Century Racing would like to thank Labyrinth Film Studios, Carl’s Cycle Supply, Wheels Through Time, Hunting Harley’s, Ryan HK, and Jim Wall for helping us on this project!

One Comment

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  1. This is very exciting! Good luck to you. I’ll be happy to pass this information along!

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