Mastering challenges
Past pageant queen evolves into a sports agent

By John Rohde Published: April 24, 2008
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Life was supposed to get easier for Kelli Masters. Instead, her battles continue to become more difficult.

As Masters is about to discard one stereotype, another soon blocks her path.

The 34-year-old has gone from being a non-athletic baton-twirler, to a dumb blonde law student, to a ditzy Miss Oklahoma, to a bottom-feeding female lawyer, and now is a blood-sucking sports agent.

How quaint.

Masters has only herself to blame.

Instead of choosing the path of least resistance, Masters continues her quest to conquer stereotypic misconceptions.

Each climb seems to get higher. Metaphorically speaking, she has scaled Quartz Mountain, Mount Whitney, Rainier, Kilimanjaro and McKinley.

Presumably, Everest awaits.

The steeper the climb, the more determined Masters becomes.

"Coming out of college, I couldn't get around it,” Masters said. "I was one of those little twin twirlers. I kept thinking, ‘How in the world am I going to be taken seriously at anything I do?' Instead of looking at it as a negative, I took advantage of the fact some people knew me. That gives you an open door to network, which is huge in any business.

"My job once I get in the door is to not be a cute girl, but to be someone who knows what they're talking about.”

Masters' good looks no doubt have opened some eyes, but they also slammed some doors.

In the shark-infested waters of being a sports agent, Masters has hooked only minnows.

She was in the Adrian Peterson sweepstakes two years ago, but lost in the end.

Masters has worked the last three NFL Combines, but will not attend this weekend's NFL Draft in New York City.

This year's clientele includes defensive back Martel Van Zant and fullback Julius Crosslin of Oklahoma State, linebacker/fullback Ian Pleasant of Oklahoma, offensive tackle Walter Boyd of Tulsa, punter Chris MacDonald of Texas State, safety Brandon Logan of Grambling and wide receiver Jeremy Trimble of Army.

These clients likely will go undrafted, and will then rely on free-agent deals orchestrated by Masters, who spent an hour on the phone Wednesday morning with Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher.

Rather than shoving her clients down the throats of NFL scouts, Masters uses a more subtle approach.

"I don't try to tell scouts why they're wrong about my guy,” Masters said. "I just make sure they have all the information.”

Titans scouting coordinator Blake Beddingfield said he appreciates the method.

"She's very good at finding out if her client fits a team's personnel,” Beddingfield said. "She's really easy to talk to. She's not overbearing. If you give Kelli a call, you might get a voice mail, but you're going to get a call back in five minutes. That's rare in this business.

"She's doing it the hard way because she's dealing with clients on the fringe, but I'm confident she's going to get a big-name client.”

With Masters, doing business gets personal.

"She really takes care of her clients, takes a personal interest in their lives,” Beddingfield said. "She's spent a lot of her own personal money on players who aren't making her money, and that's not a bad thing.”

Masters has dipped her toes into other waters.

Previous clients include world-class gymnast Guard Young, weightlifting champion Shane Hamman and former Texas Tech quarterback Cody Hodges, who is now an inspirational speaker following a brief stint in arena football.

Masters represents two baseball players currently playing Class A ball.

She has worked with former OU athletes Josh Heupel, Harvey Grant, Darryl Kennedy and Chuck Watson on their charitable foundations.

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