Last month I was dispatched on a unique assignment for ESPN the Magazine; code name Operation ‘Base Jumpers’. My mission was to travel to the Gulf, to two military bases whose locations I cannot reveal and photograph 10 BMX legends who were there to entertain the troops. The crew who go by the moniker Bikes Over Baghdad are seasoned veterans at this sort of thing and have taken their unique show all over the middle east at great risk to themselves both on and off the bike.
The audience made up of of military personnel, median age 18-35, are usually entertained by doses of dodgy cover bands and comedians and just can’t get enough of these high adrenaline BMX bandits when they ride onto base. The show itself is full on with no expense spared either in commitment, quality, crowd participation, excitement and risk. The riders go all out. Something which the troops really react to. So there is much mutual respect and admiration.
This was one of those gigs that just hit it on so many different levels. Not only super fun and challenging creatively but one of those life experiences you could never pay for. You really had to be there to take in the magnitude of it all. The pics just don’t do the whole thing justice. Thankfully there was video too. Go here to see the adventure play out day by day.
Big ups to the whole crew: Alyssa and Ryan from ESPN, Christian and Zach Schauf of BOB and the riders: Nate Wessel, Ron Kimler, Mykel Larrin, Jeremiah Smith, Scott Powell, Brian Kachinsky, Mike ‘Rooftop’ Escamilla, Chad Kagy, Darryl Nau, Morgan Wade and to all the service men and women we encountered along the way. A truly humbling experience.
ESPN web gallery here and I will post more pics during the week…