Why Thor’s Skyr is Entering the World of Rodeo
When David Guinan, Chief Digital Officer of The Cowboy Channel, was approached by York Underwood, the Brand Manager of Thor’s Skyr, about a possible partnership, Guinan’s first instinct was to not-so-politely decline the invitation.
“I’ve known York for a long time, and I didn’t want to waste his time or money on something I didn’t think would work,” Guinan said. “I mean, what does yogurt have to do with rodeo?”
But York persisted.
Thor’s Skyr is not yogurt. It’s skyr. But what’s skyr?
Skyr is a traditional Icelandic dairy product that’s made in a similar process to yogurt, but filtered to be thicker, packed with protein, and lower in sugar. All fermented milk products like yogurt, kefir, and skyr are made in a similar way. It’s the temperature and filtration that gets the results. What makes skyr unique is that it is the most filtered, the most nutrient-dense, and contains the most protein and the least milk sugar or lactose. Skyr is thick and smooth, providing slow-release energy from the casein protein.
What’s skyr’s connection to America?
“I don’t like to think of skyr as a specialty product,” Underwood said. “Skyr has been in America for a long time. It was likely brought on board the Viking ships 400 years before Columbus and Icelanders have been in America since its formation. The United States and Canada have the largest Icelandic diaspora in the world. Obviously, “largest” is relative as Iceland only has a population today of 340,000.”
One of Iceland’s most celebrated poets, The Rocky Mountain Poet, Stefan Stefansson, settled in Wisconsin in 1873. He was known for making skyr for his community when times were tough.
“Skyr is how Iceland survived for over 1000 years. Not much grows there,” Underwood said. “Yet despite all this hardship, Iceland has produced world-class strongmen.”
Thor’s Skyr was founded by Terry Crews, Dylan Sprouse, Hafthor Julius Bjornsson, and Unnar Beck Danielsson.
Hafthor Julius Bjornsson is best known for playing “The Mountain” in HBO’s Game of Thrones and holding the World Record for deadlift (1105 lbs) making him the 2019 World’s Strongest Man. Terry Crews is known for his many television roles and his stand-out performance as “President Camacho” in Mike Judge’s Idiocracy. Dylan Sprouse has moved into feature films after making his name on the Disney Channel with The Suite Life of Zach & Cody. Then there is, Danielsson, or Unnar, the Icelandic entrepreneur that ties them all together and has already introduced himself on RFD-TV.
So, what does Thor’s Skyr have to do with rodeo?
“Rodeo stars are athletes,” Underwood said. “It’s one of the most dangerous and challenging sports in the world. The Mountain is a world-class athlete. Terry Crews is a former NFL player. Rodeo is a perfect fit for Thor’s Skyr and Thor’s Skyr is perfect for the rodeo.”
Underwood worked as a reporter covering rodeos in Alberta, Canada when he was younger and before that paid for his university fees building grain bins in Saskatchewan.
“The product is good. It’s made in Pennsylvania using milk sourced from family-owned dairy producers,” said Underwood. “All the Co-founders of Thor’s Skyr first tried skyr in Iceland and wanted to make it in America for Americans. The tradition is rooted in Iceland, but what’s more American than building something based on what you’ve learned and giving back to your community?”
Thor’s Skyr has partnered with The Cowboy Channel and RFD-TV to reach out and invite people to try this simple, delicious product.
For more you can follow Thor’s Skyr on Instagram here, Facebook here and Youtube here. You can also find them at https://thorsskyr.com/ and 3,400 stores across North America.