Metzger Outdoors: Driven to Give

Dec 1, 2014 | 212 Media Studios, 25 Days of Christmas, Giving, Holiday, Marketing, Non-Profit Organizations

Around this time of year people get the generosity bug. But At 212 Media Studios, we believe that giving is more than just something you should do out of habit every December. Giving is really important—and can literally change both the recipient and the giver. That’s why this Holiday season, 212 Media Studios is spending 12 days focusing exclusively on what it means to give.

To start, we want to highlight one Warsaw company who has made a habit of giving year-round—not because it’s good for marketing, but because they are passionate about what they do, and it impacts lives.

The owners of Metzger Trucking started Metzger Outdoors six years ago. Matt Metzger and a few of his brothers loved adventure races but couldn’t find anything similar in Indiana.

For those of you who don’t know, adventure races include orienteering (with a map and compass), biking, running, and a water event like kayaking, canoeing, or swimming. “It is like a triathlon but more fun. There are checkpoints you have to get to. You get as many as you can in a given time. Sometimes you have to be on foot, sometimes in canoe or on a bike. We (my brothers and I) love adventure racing,” Matt explained.

After one successful race, Metzger Outdoors exploded in popularity. They began expanding into different types of races. “We like putting on the true adventure races—but they are so complicated to put on, because you have to plan where the canoes are going to be, where the bikes will be, and how they will get back. When you have 400 racers you can only imagine how many canoes that takes. So we try to only do one of those every year. But we don’t like boring 5Ks where you run on a paved path and then turn around and come back. I do them myself, but it is just boring, so any race we put on will always have a twist. We just will not do normal,” Matt said.

This appealing sense of aMetzger Outdoors 2dventure has given Metzger Outdoors many opportunities. “People come to us every month and ask us to put on a race, and for the most part we say no. We don’t do it to make money. We actually take the money out of our own pockets to put on these races. Metzger Trucking donates a lot, but not for pats on the back. We want to help our community. We always have a cause we raise money for, like the United Way, Baker Youth Club, or Grace College veterans program. 100% of the money goes to others; we don’t keep any of it.”

For example, Metzger’s nocturnal race donates all proceeds to an anonymous person in need. “We put all the money in an envelope with a little note and a Bible verse, usually Matthew 22:37 &39 (Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself). We stick that in there with no other expectation and just hand it to them.”

“We don’t plan who we give the money to ahead of time. We just say ‘God, you figure it out. We don’t know who it needs to go to.’ Right before the very first nocturnal race, we realized we needed someone to give the money to. I was talking to someone who told me about a girl at Grace College whose dad had just been killed by a car while he was biking. And the crazy thing was that after the race was over, we all rode up on our bikes, and I told my daughter to go give the envelope to that girl. We gave her the money and just left, without ever saying anything. A couple years down the road, we see an article in the Grace’s 289 Magazine. The author was this girl, who basically said, ‘I was at the lowest of lows, and these random bikers came, and this little girl ran up and handed me money.’ I read that and was like ‘Oh my gosh…that was us!’ We have story after story like that. I kept that article because it was so impacting. It was no planning on our part; we didn’t know her from anybody. It was the craziest thing…if I just step back and say ‘OK, God—you handle it,’ it turns out awesome.”

One of Matt’s favorite giveaways was during a race called “Wet and Woodsy.” The race started in the Tippecanoe River, and the (wet) racers had to run through Owen’s Supermarket and buy rice, and then donate it to a food bank. “So the bikers are riding across town with this five-pound bag of rice. People around town are just looking at them like ‘what in the world?’ That was a real adventure race: canoeing, biking, getting lost in the woods—that is fun to me.”

That is the key. Giving this way is fun for Matt. He is passionate about racing, and only grows more devout by using it to impact others. If more people gave using their passions, we would hear a lot more stories like Matt’s. Why? Because his heart is in it. And when you put your heart into something, others can tell.

Giving can be much more than handing someone a check. It can mean something. What is your business passionate about? How can you use that to impact someone’s life?

If you want to see more about a race that Metzger Outdoors put on, check out this blog:

And be sure to come back tomorrow for day #2 in our  12-day GIVE campaign blog series.


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