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Rusch Ventures: Meet the Team!

Updated: Jan 17, 2023

I may be a seven-time World Champion and elite ultra-endurance athlete but I will be the first to say that I would not be where I am without the people around me who help support me and all of my wild endeavors. This is especially true with my businesses, and the amazing team I am so fortunate to have work alongside me. As a way to say ‘Thank you’ to my team, I wanted to give them each a proper spotlight so I can brag about how incredible each and every one of them is. I encourage you to keep scrolling, meet my team and enjoy the humans behind Rusch Ventures as much as I do.

Aerah Hardin, Rusch Ventures COO

While Aerah is Rusch Ventures’ Chief Operating Officer, she likes to call herself ‘Chief Rebecca Wrangler’ and that title may just suit her more. Originally from Hot Springs, Arkansas, Aerah has been living in Ketchum, Idaho since 2020. Aerah and Rebecca connected during the 2019 MTB LAO trip and stayed in touch.

“She knew I had started looking at doing something different and called me one day in June and offered me a job running the operations of all three companies,” says Aerah. “I sold my house in 24 hours, found the best replacement ever for my position at a company I cared deeply about and had worked at for 18 years, and I sold what didn’t fit in my car and camper and drove up to Idaho sight unseen!”

You can find Aerah on her mountain or gravel bike, venturing far and high into the beautiful Idaho wilderness, or walking her beloved cat, Cosmos.

Kara Keeley, Rusch Ventures Director of Marketing

Kara has been a part of the team for less than a year but her impact as the Director of Marketing for Rusch Ventures is immeasurable. Kara and Rebecca first worked together when Kara was part of the Giant Bicycle marketing team. Logging on from Los Angeles, California, and occasionally Park City, Utah, for her mountain fix, Kara is a midwest girl at heart, having grown up in Columbus, Ohio.

Don’t threaten Kara with a good cheese plate, she’ll never be able to say no—blame that midwest politeness. Kara strives to Be Good by practicing kindness and appeasing her parents well beyond her childhood by always saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’

Erica Worden, Be Good Foundation Executive Director

Erica is our Be Good Foundation Executive Director and the reach that our foundation has is much thanks to her. A mom of two adorable kids, daughter Avalon (2 years old) and son Axel (11 months old), Erica and her family recently said goodbye to their 22-year-old chihuahua—you read that right. Romp in Paradise, Omar!

Erica first met Rebecca through her husband, Chris, who formerly worked with Rebecca at Red Bull. Originally from Lewiston, Idaho, Erica and her family now call Boise home. You can find Erica at the CrossFit gym she also manages or at the yoga studio, where she tends to take care of herself, because after all, movement is medicine.

Cierra Smith, Rusch Ventures Digital Communications & eCommerce Coordinator

Cierra is our go-to, do-it-all digital master. Officially the Digital Comms & eCommerce Coordinator for Rusch Ventures, Cierra has been engrained in all things Rusch for four years now. Originally just part-time, Cierra has proven her worth and our social media would be nowhere without her.

Raised in Reno, Nevada, Cierra still lives close to friends and family—including her miniature dachshund, Noodle—in the sagebrush state. Along with being an irreplaceable member of our team, Cierra is also a mountain bike skills coach, specializing in teaching kids how to mountain bike and grow their potential in and out of the saddle

“My favorite activity is hands down mountain biking,” says Cierra. “There is nothing like being with a group of friends on the mountain, you're all working hard yet having the most fun imaginable. There is something about being deep in the trees with your best friends that is magical and always fills my cup.”

AnneMarie Hennes, Rusch Ventures Creative Director

AnneMarie first joined Rusch Ventures as a freelance videographer for the 2016 RPI event. Her unique perspective behind the lens and Rebecca’s unwavering passion for connecting humans on the bike has led to an inseparable bond. Originally from Griffith, Indiana, AnneMarie now lives in Santa Cruz, California, with her partner, Kristen, their two pitbulls, Scout and Hank, and their two horses, Estrella and Brodi.

You can find AnneMarie riding her horses, her dirtbike or mountain bike, or these days—getting after it on a road bike. While adrenaline sports have been AnneMarie’s main attractions since childhood, she admits that her age and her partner have successfully turned her on to endurance sports—as well as working for the ‘Queen of Pain’ herself.

In an effort to Be Good everyday, AnneMarie believes in rescuing pitbulls, working with clients with similar values and treating everyone with the same amount of respect, patience and understanding. And tacos, eating tacos is always good too.

Erin Spong, Rusch Ventures Marketing & Communications Coordinator

Erin first joined the team last spring to help bring RPI 2022 to life. As a professional skier herself, Erin and Rebecca immediately bonded over their epic love of sport. A wizard with words, Erin develops the majority of the copy you read in our newsletters, websites, blog posts and the like.

Originally from Bloomington, Minnesota, Erin moved to Pocatello, Idaho at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March of 2020. Since then, Erin has developed a deep love for the state and when she found the opportunity to support an Idaho athlete and cycling event, she jumped at the opportunity. Erin loves Idaho so much, potatoes are her favorite food and she has no plans of ever leaving the Gem State. If the snow has melted for the season, you can find Erin ripping the local mountain bike trails in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest.

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