At 22, Jack Dugan has turned his love of sometimes-dangerous outdoor sports into a magazine with a circulation of 20,000 and a strong stable of readers and advertisers. ISM (Intense Sport Magazine) is produced from Dugan’s Chico home office and distributed all over Northern Cali. The Maui native, who formerly attended Chico State and sold ads for the Enterprise-Record, chronicles the adventures of hobby and competitive enthusiasts of such sports as wakeboarding and motocross. The first issue came out in November, and it will go monthly starting in July. Dugan and his wife, Tara, have a 14-month-old girl, Kaya Rose.
How’d you decide to publish your own magazine?
I’ve always been into this stuff, [but] really it was just about me being unhappy working for other people and me not having enough time, money or resources to do the things I love to do. I just really tried to put my head together and look at what I was capable of [and would be] a career that I really loved.
You sure have some big advertisers.
That’s a lot of work. These guys [cycle, car and RV dealerships] didn’t call me up. It’s brute labor on my part. I can sell someone on something I believe in, is the bottom line. The hardest thing by far is how far I have to travel. I distribute down to Fresno, San Luis Obispo and Reno. I like to meet with my advertisers face-to-face. I probably spend 30 percent of my time driving.
Are these “extreme” sports?
I don’t really use that word anymore. I think they only use that on cereal boxes; it’s so played out. I called it Intense Sport Magazine because all these sports, when you’re doing them, you can’t think about anything else or you’ll get hurt.
What’s your worst sports injury?
I fractured my pelvis a while ago. It hurt. I was doing a step-up, where there’s a pile of dirt before a big hill or a cliff, and you jump the pile of dirt and try to land on top of it. I came up two feet short. I just tumbled and stood up and fell back down. [As for safety,] you learn pretty quick you’ve got to be smart.
Where do you go from here?
My No. 1 goal has been to grow the magazine as quick as I can. Every little profit I get, it goes back in. I want more pages. I want to go monthly. I want a better paper. I went up to the glossy back in March—everything I can do to make it a nice, free, very informative publication.