Energizing the North State
At age 83, country icon Loretta Lynn still has legions of young men swarming to her Tennessee ranch in Hurricane Mills. It’s doubtful they are bumping her country hits from their headphones, but there’s no doubt they have the same love and affection for the Coal Miner’s Daughter as those who revere her music. For these fans, Loretta Lynn is known as the namesake of one of amateur motocross’ most prestigious competitions, a national championship held at her ranch. The Road to Loretta has been documented in a television series, following young men across the country as they struggle to qualify through a series of regional competitions.
Jessee Waelty, 22, of Red Bluff has been on the cusp of Loretta Lynn’s and he knows the glory and frustration of the Road. “A lot of kids will strive to make Loretta Lynn’s because if you go, it’s money,” he says. Waelty has qualified in regional competitions but says, “I’ve never had the money to make it to the other qualifiers.”
Turning pro, which he did at age 19, and focusing his energies full time on motocross is something Waelty says “was always a dream of mine since I was a little kid.” Being turned back because of finances, then, holds a particular disappointment.
Not one to drown in tears, Jessee and his dad, Robert, and grandpa John decided it was time to Beast Up.
Beast Up was a rallying cry Robert took from his five years running an inmate crew with Cal Fire to the motocross track with his son. “Let’s go, beast up!” the inmates would yell when conditions got brutal on the fire line. Sure enough, the call would muster a second wind and the crew would power through the toughest work. “That’s when I learned the power of those words,” he says.
In 2009, Robert trademarked the phrase for apparel and drinks and started plastering his son’s motorcycle, gear and clothes with the logo. For five years, it was simply that: a cool logo and phrase that encouraged riders to keep going through the roughest conditions.
In April 2014, however, Beast Up became an all-natural energy drink developed by the Waeltys with the intention of supporting the amateur dreams of young extreme sports enthusiasts. “We wanted to build a company where they can get the help they need,” says Robert, “because that’s what we needed. They need help. So we’re going to Beast Up their lives.”
To develop the first drink in their product line, the Waeltys worked with a food chemist. “We gave them the whole schedule of a motocross rider,” he says. Beast Up Alert and
Energy, Robert says, “is a performance drink. We developed it for athletes.”
The Waeltys note that Northern California is filled with local talent in sports such as motocross, but athletes are at a disadvantage because the area doesn’t have the attention of major sponsors. “Southern California sports have big sponsors,” says Jessee. “Kids may have multiple bikes.” Contrast that to the North State, where Robert notes that his son “always had one bike. He had to practice on it and race on it.”
With Beast Up, the family hopes to develop a worldwide brand that can sponsor North State young people and develop extreme sports events in the area. Says Jessee, “Northern California needs more recognition for our sports. That’s where we come in.” Adds Robert, “There’s a lot of secret talent here that no one’s ever heard about.”
Robert maintains his position at Cal Fire, while Jessee has taken time off the motocross pro-circuit to develop the Beast Up business. Right now, Beast Up’s singular drink is
available in six North State counties through a partnership with Foothill Distributing. They are in the development stage for Beast Up Refuel, an after-performance drink.
“We are an extreme sports brand,” says Jessee, noting that they promote at events such as rodeos, monster trucks, motocrosss, skateboarding and wakeboarding events. “One of the reasons we started the brand was to get out there and race.”
The team also looks forward to supporting veterans’ causes such as the Wounded Warrior Project. Robert served in Iraq during the Gulf War and his father John, who serves as Chief Operating Officer, is a veteran of the Vietnam War.
“We want to do big things for Northern California,” says Jessee. “We’re people that live our brand. We Beast Up every day.” With a grin he adds, “We’re adrenaline junkies. We live for it.”