Motocross stunt team shreds Rally skies
At first glance, the crowd gathered for the first performance of the FMX Motorcycle Stunt Team at Rally on the River looked like an odd collection.
The onlookers included motorcycle enthusiasts, of course, but the aluminum bleachers were shared with mothers and sons, Mohawk-bearing punks and even a few men that looked like they could have been grandfathers.
"No fear, the guys that do that," one of the elderly gentlemen noted while staring at the ramps before the show had even begun. "You'd get busted up pretty easily doing that."
Just before beginning, 20-year-biking vet Travis Willis revs his bike hard with a smile, prompting the gathered children to quickly throw their cupped hands to their ears.
Willis eventually lets his engine calm, and answers a few more questions for the gathered future bikers and curious on-lookers.
"It's a good rush, it's going to be freestyle motocross with tricks with names like 'Kiss of Death,' 'Heart Attack,' 'Dead Body,'" Willis said. "It's all the same stuff you've seen on the X Games, which was just on TV recently."
Despite what Willis says, the actual experience is quite a bit different than watching it on the television.
After closing out their Rally on the River shows, the team will head to Bolivia next week.
As Willis and his team shred the skies to the thrash of electric guitars, the excitement becomes even more overwhelming, but so does the sense of danger. That does not bother Willis much.
"It's more dangerous driving your car to the grocery store, that's the way I see it. I'm on a somewhat controlled course doing something to my abilities," Willis said. "I mean, there's always a risk factor, but it's just like being a roofer. If you're a roofer, you'll fall off the roof and get hurt."
Maybe so, but how many roofers do you know who leap 65 feet through the air and at 35 feet off the ground, completely let go of their grip, and then land safely?
As the FMX team hits their last jump, and the crowd cheers with throat-shredding intensity, it is clear that they are not so dissimilar after all.
They, like the FMX bikers, are just a few people looking for a thrill.