Sam of CrossFit Pampa talks about the upsides and downsides of owning a box in a small town.

Good morning. This is Peter from Fringe Sport and I am very happy and excited to be talking this morning with Sam Steen from CrossFit Pampa. He's in Pampa, Texas, up in the Texas panhandle. Sam, tell us a little bit about yourself and about CrossFit Pampa.

Sam Steen: Well, first of all, thanks for having me. I appreciate it. My name's Sam Steen. I am from Wichita Falls, Texas. Went to Texas Tech with a marketing degree and all that, but I just fell in love with CrossFit about 2008 or so, and went and just finally had to go get certified in 2009, not thinking I'd ever own a gym or anything, and then we had the opportunity, my wife and I, to move to Pampa which is a place where there was no CrossFit affiliate. She works in the medical field, so she can move around. We thought, "Shoot. Let's just head out there and be the CrossFit people there." Then affiliated about four years ago and going strong ever since.

I love it. One thing that was interesting, because you and I had chatted a little bit earlier, was the fact that you're the only box in town. Tell us a little bit about Pampa, the demographics and size of the town.

Sam Steen: Yeah. It's kind of an oil and gas town, so there's about 18,000 people. The closest large city is Amarillo. It's like 50 or 60 miles from here. We are just this little pocket out here of just hardworking people. It's really cool because unlike maybe Austin, or Dallas, or even Oklahoma City, where people are shopping around for CrossFit gyms or just for fitness in general, here we really get a chance to introduce people to CrossFit.

They have no idea what it is. They don't care that it's necessarily Crossfit because they don't even know what it is, so I get the rare opportunity to be the ones to tell them what it is and what it's like. That's a really cool thing. They don't come in with pre-conceived notions a lot of times like maybe in a big town or something like that. It's really neat.

We get an eclectic group of people from high school kids to 70 year old women. Most CrossFit gyms are like that, but they're just, a lot of people, they aren't afraid to try CrossFit because they don't know what it is. They haven't even seen the CrossFit games and stuff, a lot of them, so it's really cool to be the guy that introduces it to them, to their life.

Wow. I love hearing about that. What is the style of program and your style of training that you're introducing most of these people to? 

Sam Steen: We do pure CrossFit. When I say that, I don't have like a competitors programming side or a fire breather class or anything like that. We have basically one workout a day. We come in and it's a group warmup. It's a skill development and it's a workout, high fives, go home. Really it's one of those things where I don't even really have an on-ramp style class right now.

It's organic enough where we can introduce people into the class, and everybody's used to working out from X Division I athletes to 70 year old women. Everybody's used to working out together, and they're cool with scaling up or scaling down accordingly. It's a real true kind of CrossFit style programming I would say.

I love it. By the way, I'm just checking out your website as we're chatting and I see you've got a big banner at the top that says, "Die a little to live a lot." I actually had not heard that before. That's pretty awesome.

Sam Steen: Yeah, that's kind of our motto, "Die to live," or "Die a little to live a lot." I think that just says it all. People hear that or something, or see that on the back of T-shirts around here and they don't think about it or get it. Then I have people all the time after the first week come in here, and they're like, "I get it. Man, I get that. I see that you have to really really die a little, but I'm going to get something out of this in the long term and I can feel that." That's a really cool feeling.

I love it. Is there anything that you miss about possibly being in Dallas or even in Amarillo, or Austin or something like that, where there would be more of a community of box owners in different boxes?

Sam Steen: Around here, when we have our little competition or people have regional competitions, we still feel like a tight knit group of guys, even if we have to travel an hour or two to go to some competitions, but people around here are used to that. I don't know that I necessarily miss that. I never even really thought about the up or downside of being within ten miles of ten other CrossFit gyms. I'm not too worried about that.

I just think that around here, people are just used to traveling a little bit for competitions and stuff, and everybody around here is really cool as far as the affiliate owners and stuff helping each other out, sending their people and getting the word out for competitions, people move around and stuff, people referring other people to our box all the time and stuff, so it's a really cool deal.

I love it. Now, we've talked a lot about some of the upsides. Are there any downsides to you guys being the only game in town in Pampa?

Sam Steen: Yeah. I guess as far as just reach, reaching people and it being kind of a big deal. If you're in any town, there's like ten CrossFit gyms around and everybody's blasting you with Facebook ads and stuff like that, I guess you could potentially feel like, "Wow. This CrossFit thing is kind of a big deal and maybe I should look into one of these gyms," or something like that.

We're here, it's just like, "Okay. There's a CrossFit gym. There's an Anytime Fitness," and maybe they kind of lump us in with that, so that would potentially be the downside, I think, as far as we're trying to show people that we're not the Anytime Fitness, or the community center, or something like that. This isn't just a gym membership. This is coach-led group classes where you have accountability and you have a bunch of people around you yelling and screaming and helping you try to get better every day. It's just completely different than the other model, and trying to change people's minds on that is like one of my only jobs, and so that can probably be the downside.

Got it. I hear you. Cool. Well, is there anything else you'd like to share with our audience?

Sam Steen: I don't guess so, not necessarily. We're just getting after the open, or right in the middle of it right now as we speak, so I guess I just say best of luck to everybody in the open and tear up 17.3.

I love it. We're talking now a day before 17.3 is announced. Do you have any predictions?

Sam Steen: Yeah. I think it's got to be some kind of squat. We've seen the single dumbbell, we've seen the double dumbbells. I'm really like everybody else. I think there's going to be a barbell and so my guess, if you're on the board to win a Fit Aid is squat cleans and jerks and a shuttle run for 9 minutes.

You're not part of the conspiracy theorists that think that now we're going to do a three dumbbell movement since we did one, two?

Sam Steen: No. I saw that. That would be interesting. I don't know how we'd do it, but no, I'm not on that camp yet.

Got it. For what it's worth, I do think we got to see dumbbell movement ... Sorry. Excuse me. Barbell movement, like you had mentioned.

Sam Steen: Barbell, yeah. I think so.

Then I think we need to move a little weight, so we'll see how it goes. Cool. Well, if people want to find out more, I see that you're at Is that the best place to get ahold of you guys, or how would you prefer?

Sam Steen: Yeah. Yeah, that's the best place. Our email's on there too, I'm emailing with other affiliate owner all the time sharing ideas and stuff like that, and just learning. I think the learning never stops and we're never done. I'm also on Instagram - @crossfitpampa. You can check out our stuff there. We have our big competitions on April 22nd, so if this doesn't come out before then, we'd love if everybody could check that out too.

Awesome. We'll make sure to get this out before then. Well, Sam, it's been a pleasure chatting with you this morning, and have a great day.

Sam Steen: Appreciate it Peter. Thanks man.

CrossFit Pampa

201 N Wells St
Pampa, Texas
(806) 662-1264

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