When starting any type of new program there are so many things that need to happen to make the machine run that figuring out where to begin is often the most difficult step. After securing backing and sponsorship, the next step was to lock down the talent-riders, that is. Kidd and his staff used the strong relationships they had built with the teams, owners and riders to lure the majority of the top talent of the sport. Even with the lack of an AMA sanction on the championship, the last former champion still racing arenacross, Josh Demuth, made the switch, as did longtime top contenders Tiger Lacey, Tommy Hofmaster, Shane Bess, Damien Plotts, Brad Hagseth and Jeff Willoh. Kidd has always had a good reputation with the athletes. So good that he says he's often been criticized for putting too much back into the riders' pockets. He says that's the point. "When I sold my series to Pace in '97, the purse was $25,000 with a $100,000 points fund. Their purse and point fund today is still the same. With our startup, we raised the weekly purse to $31,500 and a $150,000 point fund. We want to take care of our riders because our talent is our show and without a show we're not going to sell tickets." It should be noted that in '05/'06 Live Nation changed the format for arenacross, putting the emphasis (championship and money) on what used to be known as the 250 class, now the AMA Arenacross class. The Arenacross Lites (125cc class) is a support class. The BooKoo Championship continues to place equal weight on both classes, but they are named in terms of displacement, 250 Pro and 450 Pro.In addition to a higher purse and point fund, Kidd also waived the rider entry fees that have always been a mainstay in motorcycle racing at all levels in the United States. The $45 per class per night fee added up to just less than $2000 in savings by the end of the season. Small incentives such as that are what have kept guys like Tommy Hofmaster on the road. An eight-year veteran of the circuit, Hofmaster has built his career in arenacross despite offers to move up to the holy grail of supercross. His reason is unfinished business: He wants to win an arenacross title first. "I think it goes to show a lot for the arenacross riders, that we're working hard, too," he said. "It's a lot of racing and a lot of people don't look at it that way. We're racing two bikes and four main events a weekend. Eleven rounds equals 44 main events a year. That's a lot of racing if you look at it that way."Most of the riders don't have a whole lot to say about the fact that there are two arenacross series running simultaneously, with both championships pulling in decent crowds and top riders. Hofmaster likes two series because it has doubled the numbers of available jobs for the riders who would have been on the fence without support. He was a struggling privateer once himself. As for why he switched to the new series, he has definite reasons and plans. "I picked Mike Kidd's series because of sponsorship and who is helping out my team," Hofmaster said. "I had more selling power with the BooKoo series. No hard feelings with Live Nation and the AMA, they've helped me out over the years, but I had sponsors backing me to go the other way."Another rider who found success in arenacross in '05/'06 was Suzuki's Josh Woods. The Flint, Michigan, native has shown brilliance and speed in his short AMA supercross and motocross career but has also struggled with injuries. On Thursday, November 3, 2005, at 10:30 p.m., as he was getting ready to go to bed at his southern Georgia practice facility, Woods got a call from Cole Gress and Buddy Antunez. Gress runs the motocross support department at Suzuki while Antunez, of course, is the former five-time arenacross champion, turned team owner. His rider, Brad Hagseth, had broken his leg during press day. Antunez needed a teammate for Shane Bess. Woods and a friend loaded up his ragged-out RM-Z450 practice bike and drove from south Georgia to Fort Worth in time to make the 2:30 p.m. scheduled practice session the next day. Thirty-two hours and four main events later Woods was in a three-way tie for the championship point lead. With the weekend purse and Woods' sponsorship contingency money, he walked away with close to $10,000 in his pockets on a weekend whereas previously his biggest of plans was to mow the grass.For the first six rounds of the series, Woods and Demuth swapped the point lead, but during a practice session over the December holiday break, Woods aggravated a nagging injury in his back and bowed out of the BooKoo Championship. While Demuth struggled with his own injuries, he still maintained the point lead and won the eventual championship, his third, in true ironman fashion. Woods returned at the penultimate round of the series in Minneapolis and picked right back up where he left off, sweeping both main events on Saturday night. It didn't end with a title for the Suzuki rider, but he also didn't end his season empty-handed. "Based on my results in arenacross, I was able to get a ride with the Rockstar Suzuki team to race the Eastern Regional Supercross season," Woods said. " I don't know what I'd be doing right now. I didn't have a whole lot going for me. Most likely I'd be riding the AMA supercross class on a privateer bike. It was a blessing, for sure."The BooKoo race in Fort Worth wasn't Woods' first arenacross. As a young Team Green rider years ago he tried out a couple without much fanfare. But what was most impressive was his ability to get on pace with the regulars right out of the gate-especially after driving 16 hours to get there. "Growing up, I always had a small arenacross-style track in the backyard," Woods said. "But those guys have a little more experience than me and I still have more to learn. I knew I needed to back it down a little. In arenacross, taking a fifth isn't so bad because there are so many main events. It's important to be consistent. I'll use that to my advantage in the future. Now I have experience with both sides." Woods said he can't say for sure what his plans are for next season but he is interested in coming back to arenacross.