Tyler Butterfield *File photo
Tyler Butterfield *File photo

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 21: Professional triathletes Tyler and Nikki Butterfield have announced several enhancements to Butterfield Racing as the pair eagerly approaches 2012 with their goal of qualifying for the Olympics.

Tokio Millennium Reinsurance and Philadelphia Insurance Companies have significantly increased their support of the Butterfield’s, renewing their contracts with Tyler and adding Nikki to their sponsorship programmes.

With a major component of these contracts tied to performance incentives, the highly competitive Butterfields are excited to prove themselves on course and maximize the value provided by these sponsors.

Tyler said: “We’re extremely grateful for the support of both Tokio Millennium Reinsurance and Philadelphia Insurance Companies.

He said: “Having non-endemic sponsors see the value of our sport is quite rewarding, and the added incentive of an aggressive bonus schedule gives us that extra push to perform each time we toe a starting line.”

Nikki has newly signed a three-year contract with Specialized Bicycles, a comprehensive partnership including the bicycle, helmet and shoe categories.

Nikki said: “I’m super excited to be on board with Specialized.

“Without question, they manufacture the best bikes and equipment in the industry, and they’re purely a pleasure to work with. I couldn’t ask for a better bike sponsor.”

Sean “Wattie” Watkins, under the auspices of Wattie Ink., will serve as the exclusive managing agent for Butterfield Racing.

Watkins has served in various capacities in the triathlon and cycling realms.

Watkins negotiated Nikki’s partnership with Specialized and is currently pursuing a variety of opportunities on behalf of both Butterfield’s.

Nikki said: “With both Tyler and I racing, it is almost impossible to keep on top of things and we wanted to start working with someone who could take the load off us.

“Wattie was the obvious choice. He knows everyone in the industry, he is really great with getting back to us quickly, and, perhaps most importantly, he has some really great ideas on how to provide value to our sponsors and develop our brand. We’re really excited for what’s to come in 2012.”

Watkins said: “We are honoured to have the Butterfields as part of the Wattie Ink. family. They are amazing athletes and certainly individuals we are excited to have Rocking the W!

“Both Tyler and Nikki possess the pedigree and athletic prowess of champions.  You will see some special performances from these two over the next few years, and we look forward to being a part of their success.”

Nikki will begin working under the tutelage of six-time Ironman World Champion Dave Scott.

After a year of maneuvering part-time training and racing to accommodate Tyler and daughter Savana’s schedules, Nikki is looking forward to a fully focused programme in 2012 influenced by Scott’s guidance.

Nikki said: “I’ve been playing with the idea of asking Dave to help me for a while, but I just wasn’t ready to make the commitment to working with such a high-level coach.

Of course, I am a little hesitant to give up any of the moments I spend with Savana, but I also feel fortunate to have been able to enjoy the entire first year with her while only training part-time.

“Now, I’m ready to focus more intently on my athletic career.

“Dave was the obvious choice. You can’t ignore his credibility — not only has he won Hawaii six times, he has studied the intricacies of sport science with a fervor.

“Tyler and I met with Dave together and the three of us spent hours going over everything. I wasn’t sure he’d be interested in taking me on — he already has a loaded programme and it’s no easy task coaching a professional athlete.

“I’m excited to move forward and see how far we can go together.”

New Schedule

The Butterfield family will remain in their adopted hometown of Boulder, Colorado for the next three months.

Tyler will make a quick trip to La Paz, Argentina in January for the La Paz PATCO Triathlon Pan American Championships, an important step in accumulating ITU points towards Tyler’s world ranking.

It is this ranking that will ultimately determine whether Bermuda is granted a male Olympic spot for triathlon, and thus whether London 2012 will figure into Tyler’s athletic dreams.

Nikki will travel to Abu Dhabi in late February for the renowned Abu Dhabi International Triathlon, a unique long-course race format consisting of a 3k swim, 200k bike and 20k run.

The Butterfields will then converge in Australia where they will be based for March and April.

Dependent on the starts granted him, Tyler plans to compete in the Mooloolaba ITU Triathlon World Cup and either the ITU Triathlon World Championship Series Sydney or Ishigaki ITU Triathlon World Cup.

The month of May will see the Butterfields back in Boulder, with Tyler’s race schedule determined by the success of his Olympic bid.

Nikki will race two Olympic distance (5150) and two half-ironman distance (70.3) events through the midseason.

The Ironman European Championship in Frankfurt, Germany on July 8 will serve as her attempt to qualify for the 2012 Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii on October 13.

Both Tyler and Nikki also hope to compete in the high-profile Hy-Vee Triathlon in Des Moines, Iowa on September 2.

In 2011, Nikki placed fourth at the race against a field stacked with the top short-course competitors the world over.

In order to keep fans, friends and sponsors abreast of their activities and accomplishments, the Butterfields will launch a new website (www.butterfieldracing.com) in early 2012.

Details will be forthcoming as to the exact launch date.