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Female Perspective: Caty Carmendy

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Main Photo: Female Perspective: Caty Carmendy

By Tyler Hooks
LiveRC.com

Female Perspective is a periodic interview segment where Tyler Hooks catches up with some of the quickest female names in the hobby. Tune in to find out about their careers, social lives and how they feel about the RC hobby.  

 

Caty Carmendy is a school teacher by week and very fast 1/8th scale open class racer by weekend. She is a staple of the east coast races with her husband Dave and also the host of the Race Like a Girl podcast. We caught up with her this week to talk about her career and how she enjoys the hobby.

Sponsors: HB Racing, Proline, Ultimate Racing, Tekin, EZ Customs, M2C Racing, Beach RC, RC Wives

TH: You host a podcast geared towards the women in RC, how did you start that and how has the whole process been?
CC: A couple of years ago my husband introduced me to some RC podcasts like RIP, Loop is Live, and On the Tone. We would play them on the car rides to the races on the weekends, and it was entertaining to hear what is going on in RC. The one thing that I noticed was that the guests and hosts were always male (not that this is a bad thing because there are mostly males in the hobby/sport, but definitely something that I noticed since I am a female). At the time there weren’t as many female racers as there are even today, so I thought it would be an awesome opportunity to not only hear a female’s perspective instead of always a male, but it could also potentially promote and empower females to gain interest in this awesome hobby!

TH: Do you feel that you had the same opportunities in the beginning as male racers, how about now?
CC: I do feel that as a female racer in this hobby that I have equal opportunity even now. If anything, it has been easier for my name to be recognized because of my gender. The reality is that this is still primarily a male dominated sport, so seeing a female name on the list at a bigger event is easier to remember. I know at the fuel nationals last year there were only two of us. Once I started to become more competitive, I think sponsors and companies were able to recall who I was and supported me because I was competitive not solely because I was a female.

TH: What has been your biggest accomplishment in racing?
CC: Now that I am thinking about this question, my answer is constantly changing which is a good thing because I am continuing to improve. At one point it was getting back to back thirds in sportsman nitro buggy at PNB and Wicked a couple years ago. When I decided to commit to running the pro class locally/regionally and the open class at bigger events, I remember thinking to myself that I was never going to see those kind of results again. However, running pro has definitely made me a better racer. Following the “fast guys” has taught me invaluable lessons about how to be fast not just consistent. Some of my biggest accomplishments now are finishing third in open nitro buggy at fall brawl this past year, being able to podium in the pro class locally or regionally, and just making the A main in pro nitro buggy at some of these bigger events including making the finals of the TSOC opener this year.

TH: If you could change anything about your racing career what would it be?
CC: I probably would have got rid of my Traxxas slash sooner. Don’t get me wrong my slash was good to me, and it was a great starter car. However, there were no stock slash classes at the time, and it was hard to be competitive in the 17.5 sct class with it (lol). But seriously, I have been fortunate enough to have some great experiences and support so there is not much I would change besides maybe starting sooner in life!

TH: Being a female, do you feel that your treatment within the industry was overall positive and respectful?
CC: I have had so many positive experiences, and there have been a lot of people willing to help me along the way. I am grateful that the RC community has been so accepting of me, and I cherish all of the great friendships that I have made in this hobby! However, I do feel like I have to work harder in order to be taken seriously. There are a lot of moving parts to nitro buggy especially, but Dave has taught me how to be self-sufficient. I think this is surprising to some to hear that I decently know what I am talking about, but anyone can learn these things regardless of gender! I also feel like I have to work harder to show my speed. The faster I get, I think the more difficult it is for some people to accept that I can be competitive with them. It is possible for me to finish in front of someone because I was faster, not just because they had a bad day.

TH: You have been a role model for quite a few female racers following in your footsteps, is that type of informal mentorship role something you enjoy?
CC:  I love that the podcast gives me so many opportunities to be able to help other females start the hobby or continue to stay in the hobby. There have been so many racers that I have been able to connect with from all over the country, and I can only hope that we continue to help grow the amount of females in the sport. I feel like I see more females in the hobby now more than ever, and it is exciting to see all of these female racers at all the different events and be able to cheer each other on!

TH: What do you do for work and how do you manage the work/life/racing balance? 
CC: I am a high school math teacher, and yes I take my RC cars to school. My students love when I am able to incorporate my cars into one of their activities. Being a teacher gives me the opportunity to introduce RC car racing to the younger generation, and it is a lot of fun to share my hobby with them. It can be difficult when attending bigger races without being able to call off work unless I am off school, but it has made me really good at picking up tracks quickly with sometimes only getting a limited amount of track time before qualifying. I would say the toughest thing to balance is all of the work that I try to do with the podcast as well as working on my own RC car. I would love to be able to get more content out on a more frequent basis, and that is actually something that I have been trying to focus more on. However, my preferred class is nitro buggy and it can be time consuming to keep up with even the basic maintenance from week to week. That is also why it is sometimes hard to get track interviews at the races. It can be difficult to try to find time during the race day to get interviews if I am making set-up changes on my car. I think that it is an interesting part to our podcast when we do get them though!

TH: Any words of wisdom for the next generation of girls and boys finding a footing in the RC community?
CC: Have fun! Don’t be afraid to ask other racers for help, and enjoy your time with others in this awesome RC community. Try not to focus too much on results or podiums, but rather improvements. Practice days are as valuable as race days especially when you are first starting!

TH: Do you have any racing goals for the future, or do you just go with the flow?
CC: Some goals for this year include making the top 6 in the TSOC series so that I can be invited to the TSOC/SOS invitational race where the top 12 in the southeast will compete against each other. I am also super excited for the Fuel Nats this year and hope to be in the top half or better in nitro buggy. Lastly, I hope to make the A main in the open class at some of the bigger races including any of the Racetime entertainment or Blue Ridge National events. My long term goal is to prove that females can be competitive in this hobby. Other goals for the podcast include getting more content out, providing more coverage at the races, and we are actually working on releasing a Race Like A Girl app soon. Follow or like us on Facebook for any updates!

TH: Anyone you would like to thank?
CC: Yes! Thank you to you Tyler and LiveRC for having me on the female perspective segment. It has been fun. A big thanks to my husband, Dave Carmendy, for always supporting me, pitting me, teaching me set-up, and how to build or work on my car. Thanks to all of my sponsors for the amazing continued support. Thanks to the Race Like a Girl podcast team including Nick Johnston who is our new sound engineer, Makenzi Harbuck for always being a great co-host, and Derrick Harris for always coming on as a guest. Thanks to all of the Race Like a Girl fans and supporters including my family and friends. You guys are awesome! There have been so many people who have helped me along the way, so if you ever have or ever will help me then thank you! Last but not least, special shout out to the southeast RC for always bringing your “A” game and pushing me to be faster.

 

 

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About the Author

Tyler Hooks is a recent college graduate with a BBA in management and a Minor in Communications from St. Edwards University as well as a ROAR Stock National Champion and was apart of the IFMAR World Championship USA team in 2016. Tyler is currently an Editor as well as in the Advertising department at Live Race Media and frequently is apart of the broadcast team at major events.

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