In a video clip that went viral three years ago an unknown rider from Colombia is towed by motorcycle to jump a massive single dirt jump. Understandably, the feat sent the internet into a frenzy. More impressive the rider, Julian Molina had one leg, and the moto-tow was the only way he could get enough speed to clear the 25-foot-plus gap. It was a wildly uplifting moment that illustrated the human spirit at its best. The whole crowd erupted in cheers of support and disbelief and he cemented his name as an icon of all things rad! The venue? RADshare‘s Rumble in Richmond.
For those of you unfamiliar, the Rumble in Richmond is an event that benefits RADshare, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to educate and empower underrepresented and underserved youth by providing them with the resources needed to participate in outdoor activities, specifically BMX and action sports.
RADshare’s impact extends beyond supporting the non-profit; it also connects kids and pros in a way that other sporting events don’t. It’s a truly unique and inspiring day. For the Rumble, we had loaner bikes to share, bike give-aways and free helmets for every kid who needed one (and grown ups, too).
This year we had riders of all ages, and from all walks of life, coming into town from as far away as Japan, the UK, Australia, Colombia, Brazil, Canada, and even places like New Jersey and Ohio. It was the biggest turnout yet with the highest level of riding ever seen in a modest volunteer-run bike park on the east side of this small Mid-Atlantic East Coast city!
To give you a brief rundown, the first part of the day is a pump track event for the kids: there is no entry fee, no cost for spectators, and the sidelines are packed with friends, family, and local fun-havers, all cheering for young riders of all skill levels. What really makes it special is when top pros drop-in to ride with the kids, encouraging them, getting them stoked, and, afterwards, awarding each rider with a bag of prizes. The theme being whoever has the most fun wins. Seeing Dennis Enerson and the Fast And Loose team do a train through the rhythm with kids ranging from five to fifteen was pretty amazing. I’m not sure who wore the bigger smile when it was done.
Throughout the day there is a trail jam and free riding, while the pump track is cleared for a women’s-only session with a similar vibe as the kids jam: inclusive, supportive, and everyone cheering for the pros and young riders alike. Fun for everyone. One young lady from Florida won a trip to Woodward Camp to ride during Bloom week, which encourages and supports women in freestyle. It’s pretty awesome to see everyone getting a chance to shine, bike riding really does transcend and bring joy.
After the pump track fun it was time for the main event. The Rumble in Richmond is a throwback to the early days of BMX when riders sprinted at a giant set of doubles in the middle of a race track. One jump. One trick. Maybe the tricks have progressed these days, and the combos are insane—so many tricks! The announcer could hardly keep up.
The judges for this event included two Richmond local heroes, a New York BMX Icon and a USA Olympic BMX racing professional from San Diego, who was traveling the states in an RV with a naked cat named Kevin. In keeping with the old school tradition they were each given a clipboard, judging sheets, and ballpoint pens that hardly worked.
Three heats to qualify for a 12 rider final, where thousands of dollars in cold hard cash are on the line, as well as a payout for best trick. The top riders from around the world were chomping at the bit, competing with young local up-and-comers, underground legends, and straight up kooks, it was a sight to behold. A true hero story of fortune and glory, while the kids from the pump track jam looked on, mesmerized while holding a prize bag of goodies that their new heroes had shared with them moments earlier.
Although it’s a pro contest, the loose styling allows for jam format riding, which we saw a 16 year old kid from Australia sit down before the lip at high speed and do an inverted 360 as high as anyone had jumped all day, all the while the Fast and Loose team did trains as each rider’s name was called , and Dennis Enerson did a perfectly executed tabletop partway through a backflip tailwhip 14 feet in the air. The crowd roared, the riders rejoiced, people were stoked!
This year Julian came back, and after the finals, once again blew minds while being towed in to launch the massive dirt pile, this time on his second try, closing out round 3 of the Rumble in Richmond, a sunny afternoon in Virginia, that few in attendance will likely forget.
Bikes, smiles, and sharing the art of fun. What a great weekend…