2008 Big Air Kids Fair

February 4, 2008
Adam Waheed
By Adam Waheed
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The floral colored wallpaper, cool chill of the room, unmistakably ‘clean’ bleach-like smell and the electronic hum of the various medical gizmos can only mean one thing: hospital. From time to time many of us riders have had the misfortune of finding ourselves experiencing all the sights and sounds of a hospital, but on Friday, February 1, the tables were turned as members of the motocross community dropped in on both patients and staff at the Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital for an afternoon of freestyle fun to combat sickness with smiles.

Left to right  Erin Bates  Ronnie Renner  Zach Osborne and Tommy Clowers take a minute to meet one of the patients at Loma Linda Children s Hospital.
Left to right, Erin Bates, Ronnie Renner, Zach Osborne and Tommy Clowers take a minute to meet one of the patients at Loma Linda Children’s Hospital.

This time the weather at the Big Air Kids Fair wasn’t an issue as all were greeted to beautiful sunny skies and mild February temperatures. A large crowd consisting of patients and families, staff and even some passerbys made their way to the front lawn of the children’s hospital for the high-flying theatrics of the Red Bull trio of nine-time X-Games medalist Tommy Clowers, Jeff Tilton, and AST Dew Tour competitor, Myles Richmond.

The event, which is in its sixth year, is coordinated by Steve Bauer, co-founder of the Wonder Warthog Racing effort. Bauer first got the idea while visiting a friend at the world-renowned Inland Empire hospital. During his visit, he couldn’t help but notice all of the long faces just searching for some relief. There’s nothing more thrilling than the sights and sounds of motorcycles flying through the air to erase some of the hospital heartache. A quick look toward the crowd, confirms Bauer’s theory, as the ear-to-ear smiles donned by patients and staff alike were more than enough to realize Bauer’s on to something.

“Coming out and seeing these kids smile is what it’s all about,” says FMX guru Tilton. “A lot of the kids inside wouldn’t normally get to see this kind of thing, so instead of them coming to us, we come to them.”

TNT Action Sports, founded by Tilton and Clowers, donated their time and equipment for the event and quickly had the show up and running despite the small confines of the hospital parking lot.

Red Bull s Tommy Clower s puts the moves on his Yamaha YZ250.
Red Bull’s Tommy Clower’s puts the moves on his Yamaha YZ250.

After the action-packed exhibition, which included a variety of tricks and even a backflip by Richmond, all three riders along with Red Bull’s Ronnie Renner and Supercross Lites racer and Yamaha of Troy rider Zach Osborne checked in on the kids, families and staff inside. The group toured all through the hospital and exchanged stories, signed autographs, took pictures, and gave away a bunch of cool gifts provided by FMF, NoFear, Smooth Industries, Pro-Circuit, Troy Lee Designs, LA Sleeve, Alpinestars and even a few things MotoUSA was able to scrounge up on late notice. Sure, the gifts were cool, but the kids were much more excited to be able to meet some of the same Freestyle hero’s that routinely flash across the TV.

“How many bones have you broken?” asked one of the patients. “Probably about 20,” chuckled Tilton. “I’ve spent a lot of time in the hospital.” Evident from his smile, the young boy suddenly felt a little bit better about being stuck inside.