Case Study

Teton Ridge: Technical Product Management

The Client

A thriving lifestyle brand making data-driven decisions to empower the next generation of Western Sports fans and athletes.

Teton Ridge, a fast-growing player in the Western Sports and Lifestyle industry, had a vision to bring together fans and athletes who share a passion for Western Sports. 

The company was founded by a group of experienced professionals who recognized the value of data as a key driver of informed decision-making, fan engagement, and productivity. Growing access to, and ownership of, data is a key focus of Teton Ridge as a newcomer looking to reshape Western Sports.

The Challenge

Execute multiple application builds comprised of multiple teams while adhering to a “set in stone” deadline.

Teton Ridge engaged Apollo 21 to create three core applications focused on various aspects of rodeo events and fan engagement. These efforts were aimed at supporting the more than 600 rodeo events conducted by Teton Ridge and their subsidiary companies, annually. The crown jewel of these events is The American Rodeo — often considered the “Super Bowl” of rodeo events — which attracts more than 40,000 fans every year. 

The first application, a data management and analytics platform for their growing marketing database, was built on our Mission Control platform. The second, also built on Mission Control, was an event planning app focused on management and athlete engagement for these events. And the third, a mobile web application, was designed to bolster fan/athlete engagement while allowing for content distribution across multiple publishing destinations.

The efforts of building and coordinating each of these applications while ensuring a single source of truth for all data across the Teton Ridge ecosystem, represented a considerable technical challenge. Adding to the difficulty was a short execution timeline culminating in the 2023 iteration of the American Rodeo — a deadline that absolutely could not be missed.

To accomplish this feat, the Technical Product Leads at Apollo 21 oversaw a team of more than twenty designers, software engineers, devops engineers, content strategists, etc. The effort also required deep collaboration with the Teton Ridge team to ensure the orchestration of content delivery across the ecosystem, including the distribution of live video.

The Plan

Focused architectural design. Standardized development processes. Clear channels of communication. Deep collaboration.

One of our superpowers at Apollo 21 is process. We have a defined process that we re-evaluate and follow for every project 

When we approach a project, particularly one with this level of complexity, the Technical Product Leads at Apollo 21 begin with, and lead, our efforts around architectural planning. This ensures that we begin a project with a holistic view of the technical ecosystem we’re creating.

We follow this with roadmap planning and team-wide discussions to ensure dependencies are identified and accounted for early in our process.

During execution, our TPMs are focused on cross-team communication and progress monitoring. They are also responsible for tracking our adherence to process and our development KPIs, drawing attention to risk areas the moment they’re identified.

The Solution

Multiple applications and websites creating a technical ecosystem for rodeo.

Data was initially delivered to the Apollo 21 team in the form of roughly 75 csv files, each containing outputs from one of the five brands acquired by Teton Ridge. 

By building on top of Mission Control, we were able to ingest, normalize, and visualize analytics data across this data set within six weeks of receipt. This quick turn-around gave Teton Ridge the insights they needed to impact planning for the upcoming American Rodeo while integrating Mission Control into the rest of the technology ecosystem.

For an organization conducting more than 600 rodeo events annually, including The American Rodeo which attracts more than 40,000 fans, remaining organized and ensuring data collection is a gargantuan task. Our rodeo event management app was designed to allow Teton Ridge to create events, manage livestock and athlete applications, and collect data on an ongoing basis. Each event is created and managed individually with a kanban-style board until the event is complete. The application is integrated with the data/analytics platform as well as the mobile experience, keeping both Teton Ridge and fans up to date as athletes register for events nationwide.

Given the target market, Apollo 21’s TPMs chose to prioritize a mobile-first web approach instead of developing a native application. This decision allowed our engineers to build and iterate rapidly while catering to an audience that tends toward slow adoption of new technologies.

This fast, iterative approach enabled Apollo 21 to develop the core feature set for Teton Ridge+ in half the anticipated timeline, including the integration of Teton Ridge+ with Mission Control, Shopify, and a variety of other services to create a complete app experience unlike any previously created for the rodeo space.

The Outcomes

In Their Own Words

“Working with Apollo 21 could not have been better. We found their willingness to offer ideas and solutions refreshing after working with product teams that simply waited to be told what to do.”

— Ellen Newberg, EVP of Sports at Teton Ridge

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