Two Bishop High grads have put their heads together and come up with the answer to sports trophies.
Design Your Ball, owned by former Bronco athlete Patrick Bustos with Bishop’s Jacki Kruse as the local sales manager, incorporates anything from a football to a home plate replica with personalized graphics, a unique and unbreakable memento for players and coaches.
In addition to the more traditional sports, hockey pucks, lacrosse and bowling balls are also customizable.
Bustos got the ball rolling last fall in Bakersfield where he owns an insurance agency and is involved with his son’s sports activities.
Kruse, who has kept in touch with Bustos through Facebook, tells the story. “Patrick sponsored Player of the Week awards for the football teams at his son’s school,” she said. “He bought 30 custom-designed footballs to give out and the kids liked them so much, he decided to get the equipment to make them himself.”
His first Design Your Ball was a volleyball for a business associate. The associate came back the next day and ordered five more. Bustos knew he was onto something.
He started designing and handing out the functional trophies and put the finished products on his Facebook page. That’s where Kruse comes in.
She spotted the custom volleyball on Bustos’ web page and knew her daughter Callie, a member of the Lady Broncos varsity volleyball team, would like it.
Then her imagination kicked into high gear. Kruse’s husband Mark coaches their youngest son’s Little League team. Baseballs with the team photo were ordered, as were custom soccer balls for the Kruse’s grandchildren. In this youth-sports-oriented community, the potential is nearly endless, she realized.
“Patrick’s focus is on his insurance business,” said Kruse, “but he loves designing the sports balls and is excited about the possibilities.” Bustos asked Kruse to rep for Design Your Ball in the area and she hasn’t stopped figuring out new applications since.
“It’s like Christmas at my house,” she said, “orders and samples keep coming in.” Which reminds her, wouldn’t custom basketballs be perfect for Bishop’s Christmas Classic; and, Design Your Ball can do Christmas tree ornaments.
“This is something new, it’s fun and you can’t get it just anywhere,” she said.