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Graphic artists feverishly market extreme sport athletes

NNBW Staff

Ronnie Parker and Chad Antos have an enviable problem at their new firm, 56 Solid: They’re hearing from so many potential clients that they’re worried about their capacity to handle all the work.

The duo, who work as graphic designers in Reno these days after retiring from careers as action sports athletes, offer to help athletes who want to play a big role in designing the T-shirts that will be sold to their fans.

Athletes receive a blank T-shirt template and sketch their ideas for a design. Antos and Parker polish the rough design and oversee production of the finished product T-shirts sold over the Web, at retailers and at booths at action-sports events.

“We don’t want to have a corporate world dictate what apparel the kids want in the action sports industry,” says Parker. “We’re going to get the athletes involved, the ones who are in touch with what’s going on in the sport today.”

Early clients include the LivFast motocross team as well as freestyle skier David Wise, a national superpipe champion.

“We’ve had a lot of interest,” says Parker. “We aren’t able to take on all the athletes that would like to come on board.”

Parker says 56 Solid provides a rich cut from T-shirt sales back to the athletes themselves, and that’s helping the Reno company get the ear of athletes’ business managers.

Antos and Parker target action sports think of athletes in ESPN’s X games as well as stars of mixed martial arts.

They’re both retired Jet Ski racers Antos won a world championship, while Parker won state honors who continue to wakeboard, surf and snowboard.

They also own Boost Creative Services, a company that provides Web development, public relations and other marketing services to athletes.

The new firm’s name, 56 Solid, comes from a type of rocket fuel.

Three years in development, 56 Solid has been personally financed by its founders. The debt-free company, Parker says, will have greater staying power than competitors who are more thinly capitalized.

“When the economy comes back, we will be well-positioned to take advantage,” says Antos.