Yerbae Launches Campaign, Will Award $50,000 to Ordinary CrossFit Athletes Doing Extraordinary Things
The year was 2016, and Karrie and Todd Gibson knew it was time to make a change.
After spending years in the energy drink industry, pounding can after can of Monster Energy and Red Bull, Todd was pre-diabetic, and when the couple went for an inflammation test, their results were “off the charts on certain things,” Todd said.
“Our sugar levels were just constantly spiking,” he added.
Both Todd and Karrie knew one of the answers to turning the health ship around would include finding a healthier option to their carbonated sugar drinks that had become part of their day-to-day lives.
“We set on an adventure to try and find our own beverage that we would love to drink that wasn’t (filled with sugar), and we struck out. We bought literally like every can or bottle of whatever we could find…looking for healthy alternatives, and we just didn’t find one that we loved. And at the time we loved drinking sparkling water because we had this insatiable thirst for bubbles,” Todd said.
They abandoned their search, took matters into their own hands and founded Yerbae in 2017, a clean energy drink company that uses yerba mate—a naturally caffeinated plant grown in South and Central America—to create a caffeinated drink stronger than coffee or black tea.
At the time, neither Todd or Karrie knew anything about CrossFit.
“I just thought CrossFit was just one exercise,” Todd said, laughing.
But in the last year, Yerbae has quickly become a household brand in the CrossFit community, with 11-time CrossFit Games athlete Annie Thorisdottir now an investor in their company.
Today, Yerbae products are sold in more than 200 CrossFit affiliates in the United States, and can also be purchased in 8,000 retail stores, mostly on the west and east coast of the country.
Discovering the CrossFit Community
In January 2021, the Gibsons hired an AI firm to help them identify who was buying their products. What they discovered surprised them.
“This consumer is a CrossFitter, and this consumer is a CrossFitter, and this consumer is a CrossFitter. Wait, all of a sudden we had all these CrossFitters,” Todd explained of the trend that emerged from their findings.
Realizing that their products had unknowingly entered the CrossFit space, Todd and Karrie decided it would be wise to make some connections with the community they still knew nothing about.
One of their sales reps soon connected with seven-time Games athlete Brooke Wells, who put them in touch with Loud and Live President Matt O’Keefe and the rest of the Loud and Live team.
“The way the community has embraced us, we want to be able to show our gratitude back and help where we can help.”
“Matt brought us in and introduced us to a couple of people in the industry, and we just started having conversations with this CrossFit community, this box, this, you know, celebrity athlete, so on and so forth,” said Todd, who now does CrossFit at Power In Motion in Scottsdale, AZ along with Karrie.
Eventually, this led them to Thorisdottir, who first became a brand ambassador for Yerbae first, before deciding she liked the company so much she wanted to invest her own money.
Today, other Yerbae athlete ambassadors include Shaylin Laure, a 2021 Semifinals athlete and FBI agent who won the 2021 Occupational Games, and Nicole Gibson-Burke, who placed eight at the 2021 Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge semifinal.
They have also partnered with Jen and Sam Dancer’s Dancer Love Foundation, a non-profit that seeks to empower individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities through fitness, education and love. During last summer’s CrossFit Games, through selling bracelets, Yerbae donated $14,000 to the Dancer Love Foundation.
Creating these types of partnerships, and participating at events like the MACC, the Granite Games, the West Coast Classic and the CrossFit Games has been “incredible” for their brand on so many levels, Gibson said.
“They keep inviting us along, and we’re so thankful to be there,” he added.
The Making of The B.A.E. Project
The Gibson’s experience in the CrossFit community in recent months led them to want to celebrate the extraordinary, everyday people who can be found at every box around the world, as this is where the “magic happens” Todd said, adding that oftentimes these people are “overlooked.”
“While we were at the CrossFit Games, we heard so many people’s messages in various forms…And we want to make sure we can shine a light on those who so deserve to have a light shined on them…We want to hear their story,” Todd said.
This became the impetus behind The B.A.E Project, a campaign designed to shine the light on ordinary CrossFit enthusiasts doing extraordinary things.
The Gibson’s ultimate reason for the campaign, Todd, explained, is to give back to a community that has given them so much in such a short amount of time.
“We fell into CrossFit. CrossFit brought us in. We didn’t go into CrossFit,” Todd said. “The way the community has embraced us, we want to be able to show our gratitude back and help where we can help.”
Know an athlete at your box who deserves to win?
Follow these three simple steps to nominate them:
- Head to Yerbae.com and hit the Nominate Yer B.A.E button
- Let Yerbae know how your nominee goes above and beyond at your gym
- Wait and find out if they’re one of the lucky winners
Prizes, including tickets to Wodapalooza, as well as a total of $50,000 will also be distributed throughout the campaign.