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What are Paddock Girls?

Allison Boelcke
Allison Boelcke

Motocross is a competitive individual sport in which motorcycle riders race over dirt, hills, or other courses. The competitions generally take place in dry areas with extremely hot temperatures. The heat from the motorcycles and the crowds near the racing courses can make the riders uncomfortable or fatigued in the already hot temperatures. Paddock girls, also referred to as grid girls or umbrella girls, are responsible for holding umbrellas over the racers at the starting lines to provide shade.

Before motocross races can actually begin, the drivers generally have to gather at the starting lines for equipment checks to ensure their motorcycles are functioning correctly. They may also have to wait for their motorcycles to get fueled properly and complete any other necessary checks before the race can begin. All of these processes can take hours and generally occur out in the open sun. Paddock girls stand by the racers with umbrellas during the pre-race examinations so the racers don’t become overheated while they are waiting for the race to begin.

Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

Paddock girls may also have other responsibilities once the pre-race checks are completed. Before the race is about to begin, each girl may stand just behind the starting lines and line up with a specific racer. She will generally hold up a sign with the racer’s name, team, or country printed on it. This is typically done to ensure all the spectators can keep track of the different racers once the competition begins.

In addition to actually performing job duties at the motocross races, paddock girls typically serve as promotional models for the sport. Fans at the motocross races may often ask the girls to pose for photographs. The girls may also model for official motocross memorabilia, such as posters, calendars, or sports magazines.

The process for selecting women to act as paddock girls is typically treated the same way as a modeling job. The hiring agencies generally hire candidates with attractive faces and fit bodies since they will wear tight or revealing costumes. The job entails constant travel to go to all the different motocross race locations and the work conditions can be uncomfortable due to the often hot weather and long periods of standing. Many females use the job as a means to gain exposure as a model and earn fans since they generally will pose for promotional material. The job can often help lead the females into modeling work for mainstream national men’s magazines.

Discussion Comments


It's too bad that, after all the diligent work women did to get the right to vote, and later on with Title IX (the opportunity to compete in team sports), that even today, many women are objectivized like the paddock girls - actresses, models, and others.

Who is responsible for this? Is it men authority figures, or the women themselves, who have low self-esteem?

I hope we can figure out a way to see all women as truly equal and not misused.


These paddock girls seem to work very hard and have to endure a lot of travel and uncomfortable weather. I hope they get paid a reasonable amount, but I'm afraid they probably don't.

Even if they are using this job as a way to move up to modeling, they will probably end up in questionable men's magazines. So they've gone from one demeaning career to another.

Just the fact that their job duties are meant to show women, who are subservient to big, tough men, is disgusting. And the beautiful, scantily dressed girls just add glamor to the event.Is this necessary, or are they just using women?


@David09 - Unfortunately, this representation of women has become part of our culture, whether willingly or not. It's also too often associated with sports events, the Yamaha paddock girls being one example.

If you want to look on the bright side, you can just look at these girls as cheerleaders. I guess I'm not that optimistic.


@sunnySkys - Well, I guess as a guy I’ll just jump into the fire here and give my opinion. You’re right - I think paddock girl pictures can be sexist and dehumanizing. However, these women volunteer for the jobs.

I worked at a company where some of the male co- workers belonged to a motorcycle club. Believe it or not, the club made a calendar (I promise, I never saw it) of different coworkers straddled on various motor bikes with their wives posing as paddock girls.

I guess it’s good to have your wife along on this kind of venture, and you can certainly bet that it was all volitional.


@sunnySkys - Wow. I think you need to calm down. Sexist? Dehumanizing?

While the practice of having scantily clad ladies prance around at male dominated sports may be distasteful, it's hardly as bad as you're making it out to be. All those women are there under their own volition and they're getting paid. If they don't feel like they're being dehumanized or exploited, why should we?


I think this is just so sexist. There isn't any reason scantily clad women need to be showing off their bodies during a motorcycle race!

Also, if being a paddock girl is anything like being a car model, they don't even get paid that much for getting ogled by all those people. I knew a girl who worked briefly as a car model-she said got paid around a hundred dollars for the whole day and she also said it was miserable!

I really think this practice of dehumanizing women needs to end. People should just focus on the sport instead!

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