Bradley Copley runs and owns Boss Pro-Karting in Cleveland, an indoor go-kart racing facility for adrenaline junkies.
Boss Pro-Karting, Bradley Copley, Lee Boss, Cleveland Ohio
MRV: The Buzz, Your Outdoor Lifestyle Insider, Written By: Andrew Malo
Adrenaline Pumping Action At Boss Pro-Karting
Bradley Copley Helps People Push Beyond Their Limit With His Indoor Go-Kart Racing Business That Began With Family In Mind And Ends With It
Many good things in this world start and end with family - whether that be blood, a group of close friends, or co-workers, or it even happens sometimes when an experience is shared with someone for the first time. Bradley Copley understands this and has a unique of showing it - through go-karting. These makeshift machines, powered by machine or by gravity, are made by creative, focused, broke teenagers on hot summer days to feel that power of innovation and speed.
Copley runs and owns Boss Pro-Karting, an indoor go-kart racing facility that caters to really anyone that wants to have some fun. The story on how it came about is about as modern day American as it gets. “Let me start at the beginning,” jokes Copley, “it has been a love of our family for a long time.” He explains that Boss comes from his Mother’s maiden name, where the go-karting love comes from. The gist of the beginning is “my Uncle really wanted a go-kart but didn’t want his mom, my Grandma, to find out, so he took my Dad with him to get it,” he recalls, “of course, you can’t really hide a go-kart. So when he got off the bus, he surprisingly saw Gran riding the go-kart around the yard.”
Since then, Copley’s family has been heavily involved in racing, at least as “weekend warriors,” Copley explains. His cousin, Lee Boss, is more professional about it - having been the national karting champion for several years. Copley was always the mechanic-type and went to school in mechanical engineering. He got a corporate job and started working in global sales. “I traveled the world and in 2002, I was in Budapest, Hungary,” Copley recalls, “I happened to go into an indoor go-kart track and I was astounded.” What Copley saw was pretty much unheard of to him - at the track there were “professional drivers who were surrounded by a couple of other people that turned out to be the pit crew.” Since then, Copley would go to indoor tracks every chance he got - in “Milan, Melbourne, Shanghai, and more,” Copley says.
This is where the story turns modern day American and provides a clue into how Copley feels go-karting builds character. Large corporations, like the one that Copley worked for, are shifting their workforce, in most cases downsizing due to finances or because the job is no longer necessary for profit. In the fall of 2014, “October to be exact,” recalls Copley, “the corporation started downsizing. They were actually eliminating businesses that they were invested in - my business that I ran for them was eliminated. So I was without a job after 25 years with the company.” Copley took this opportunity to look at things from the crossroads - “I said to myself ‘gosh do I really want to work for someone else in corporate’ and he said ‘I want to do something with go-karting.’” A month later on Thanksgiving Day, Copley and Lee Boss were carving the turkey, Lee was complaining about his job and Copley told him his idea. Lee Boss immediately replied, “I’m in.”
In 2016, Boss Pro-Karting opened. Another memory that most people have that played with engines when they were kids is the smell and noise - that exhaust and revving that can be smelled and heard for about a mile. At Pro-Karting, that is not the case because “all the karts are electric,” explains Copley. Being electric, they are quiet and it provides a key safety feature. “We have a remote control that works for all the karts,” explains Copley, “we can speed them up or slow them down individually or as a group. We can even cut the power if there is an accident or something.” The karts go about 33 mph on the track, which, indoors, “feels like 160 mph”.
The building of character is the most important aspect of any sport and karting, especially the racing aspect of it, is no different. For Copley, there is an emphasis on going a bit out of one’s comfort zone. “Look, we are not an extreme sport,” Copley says. “We are not putting people into danger or anything like that. We just help people find their limit and push beyond that a little bit - to get a better time, to feel that adrenaline.” Copley says that as a father, he always asks his kids when they try something new, “did you scare yourself at least once? That is how you know you are having fun.” With all of this focus and pushing the limits, “you will find a new level of yourself,” explains Copley.
As Copley’s journey to owning an indoor go-kart race track starts with family, it ends with one, too. “I remember the 2nd weekend we were open, it was a Sunday and we were slow so I sent everyone home,” recalls Copley,” about 30 minutes before closing, a father with two boys and daughter walk in. I am very jolly and boisterous so I greeted them healthily. They were introverted and a bit standoffish. I gave them the rundown of the track and they started. After the first lap, they came over and hugged me, gave me high fives, laughing and smiling and asking if they can go around more.” Needless to say, he didn’t close in 30 minutes, instead letting the dad and kids go around and enjoy themselves because “they became like family after that first lap.”
A graduate of Northeastern Illinois University in Education, Andrew has taught for the past decade in Chicago, New Mexico, and Japan. He enjoys tinkering with trucks and motorcycles, woodworking, reading and computer programming.
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