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Holy smokes, y’all! I’m in…..password still works……hotdog themed nickname still intact. If you remember me, you’re probably thinking, “Man, it’s been a while!” Too long, I’d say. In fact, the last time I had the chance to sit down and write, let alone write for an audience (yes, the five of you reading this are my audience, and I thank you!) was back in Salt Lake City, Utah in June of ’20. Click Here if you want to read that.
As the story goes, Vurbwes needed a guy to come out to intern and lend a hand while he and Kyle Cowling covered the SX series for Red Bull Moto Spy. I had recently started a career as a freelance photographer, and I replied with an immediate HELL YES and high tailed it on out to SLC. Now, as we near the end of Feb ’21, I’m proud to have earned my way onto the crew and consider this my full-time job. So while it’s now maybe a little less of a surprise when I’m asked to go shoot something for Vurb, or Moto Spy, it’s still a massive privilege to get that call.
Though you’ll find me in Southern California today, I grew up in Central Florida. Smack dab in the middle of the Sunshine State. A trip back home to cover motocross has been at the top of the list of my goals since I decided to take a shot at this whole “making it” thing out West. So, when Wes mentioned the idea to me about a trip out to Florida to continue to learn the ropes, I couldn’t say yes fast enough. FUN FACT: I’m technically a Texan, and like any good Texan, I sure am proud of it. Although, I must admit that I never really lived in Texas all that long, and have always considered Florida “Home”.
The cool thing about what’s going on down in Florida is that within an hour or so you’ve got multiple top tier facilities, including Moto Sandbox, Rattray’s Facility, Baker’s Factory, and bit further southwest is the 83 compound, Ferry Compound, amongst others. Most of the riders could be found here at the facilities training for the upcoming Orlando rounds, so the plan was that I’d arrive in Orlando and catch up with the Moto Spy crew. We’d make our way to the various facilities in the area, creating content for Vurb and filming parts for the upcoming Moto Spy episodes.
Anyways, figured it would be fun to recount a few of our days in the Sunshine State.
Day 1: Moto Sandbox
We didn’t have a shoot for Moto Spy, so after a quick nasal probe (testing for the ‘VID) we headed over to Jason Baker’s Moto Sandbox to get some shots of the amateur kids out there for the website. I always like to take a little bit of time to get to know a new place, and get an idea of what areas may work best as far as composition and lighting at a given location. As I found my way around the track, I snapped a few stills of the groms as they did their sprints. Something notable is the discipline those kids have. It’s clear that these young athletes are here on a mission, and I respect their hustle as they pound out lap after lap in the Florida sun.
Day 2: Rattray’s Facility
I teamed up with Blake Keith to work on a joint project, A Day with Daxton Bennick. We arrived at a campground at a crisp 6:45 AM with plans to shadow Daxton and his mechanic, Kyle, for a documentary style short for vurbmoto. After Dax did his morning warm up, we were en route to the Rattray Facility, the newest compound where he has recently started training. Dax is a hard-working, bright young talent and I’m excited to see what the future has in store for him. I spent most of my day shooting for the video, but I also take a moment to pull out my camera to snap a few still photographs of him and some of the other riders training at the facility.
Day 3: Moto Spy with The Frog
Headed back to Moto Sandbox to shoot with my favorite dude, Justin Barcia. When I really got in to moto, around 2007-2008, Justin was still a young kid with tons of attitude and style, and he quickly became one of my favorite racers. It’s always really cool to meet someone that you look up to or admire and they turn out to be the kinda dude you’d hoped and luckily, that’s Justin. Every time I have had the chance to work with him it’s a total pleasure. I spent most of the day shooting for Moto Spy, but also grabbed a few stills. FUN FACT: In 2019, I witnessed JB just destroy a jar of pickles after his second moto at Washougal. I wandered over, and after a discussion about our mutual love of pickles and which types we preferred, Justin signed my Pit Pass. Thanks JB!
Day 4: Moto Spy with Ken Sauce
My last day shooting in Florida was spent with Ken Roczen. Ken was pleasant but all business at the Sandbox. In the midst of a title fight, he seems to be laser focused on the task at hand and wastes no time getting the job done. I swear this isn’t a marketing ploy, exactly, but for this one you guys are going to have to wait for the Moto Spy episode to see how things went with Ken. While that doesn’t make for a great blog post, it’s good news for me because I was busy with a fancy video camera in my hands…yes, my sole mission was capturing footage for Moto Spy. Crazy!! I got to work side-by-side with DannyStu(Dog) to get the footage we needed as Ken did his motos. Definitely one of my most rewarding experiences so far. Hopefully it’s just the first rung of the ladder for me.
Once Ken wrapped up for the day, we headed home and I got to packing the 88 pounds of luggage I somehow managed to cram between the two black Pelican cases brought from California.
The last six months has been anything but predictable. Moving my family across the country to start a new career was terrifying, but also the most liberating thing I’ve ever done. I am excited for the future, and can only hope the next six months are as rad as the last.