Rev-Up: View from the TentThursday, August 24, 2006 | 12:29 PM
In this article…
Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Rev-Up. With the last break of 2006 staring us in the face this weekend, I wanted to take this chance to talk about a pretty cool experience I was able to enjoy last weekend. Over the years I have discovered that you can make a positive out of anything you do, no matter what the task may be. If you go into a project with an open mind and a glass-half-full attitude, chances are you can make it work. All the same, I am one of those guys that like to do what he wants to do. I have made it a goal to live my life on my own terms, and one thing I am quite proud of is that I have been fortunate enough to walk the path I chose to, instead of the path I had to.
With that in mind I was faced with a question last Wednesday that had me pondering if I would continue on this path. The question, which was asked to me by Racer X Brand Manager Mike “Fubar” Farber, was simple: “Hey, Bowyer, I need you to work the tent this weekend. Sissly. Can you do it?”
It started off pretty badly. Upon arrival, we discovered the tent was still caked with Millville mud. After a sound power-washing inside and out, it was back to its familiar white color and the Racer X shield was once again shining proud. But the ground was soaked. A shredded hay bale later, we were in pretty good shape. As the spectators began to roll in, I glanced over to the pits and fought the urge to run down and wander like some of the usual suspects of the industry. You know, throw on the backpack, the black socks, and the shades and walk around like you’re important (which you kind of are, I guess, but sometimes I want to stop people and ask, “So what exactly do you have in that backpack?”).
Instead, Mike handed me a block of Broome 2006 Racer X stickers with a wicked smile and said, “Have fun, I have to hang up banners.” With that, I spent my Saturday afternoon handing out free stickers and working the tent. It wasn’t bad. Some of the people are really nice and polite, and I could see most of practice from the tent. Then came the rain.
In an instant there was a river flowing through the tent that was almost up to the laces on my DC Shoes. I was wet, I was cold, and I was bored. I glanced up to the tower and saw Weege, who gave me a sarcastic wave from the shelter of the announcing tower. I gave him back the finger. To put it mildly, I was not walking the path I wanted to be walking; I was kind of wading through it. With the drone of the women’s class sliding around the muddy track in the background, I saved some hope for Sunday to be better.
The crowd rolling in and the sun breaking through the clouds matched each other’s intensity. By noon the place was packed and there was hardly a cloud in the sky. Soon I was busy at the tent. In between handing out free stickers, I did my best to keep up with customers wanting some Racer X Brand stuff. The time really flew by. In the back of my mind I thought about Clint and how he may be doing in the Nextel Cup race in Michigan…
One of the cooler instances of meeting people was when a woman asked me how small our kids' stuff goes. I had been mobbed with a horde of people, and I had my head down and was frustratedly trying to tear open a fresh pack of stickers. I replied to the woman, “I dunno, check out the ones on the counter!” Then I looked up I saw a woman holding one of our infant-sized shirts up against her protruding and pregnant belly. She said, “I’ll take this one and one of those Motocross des Nations 2023 bibs.” Damn, that was cute.
Not long after that, a man approached me and asked, “Are you Andy Bowyer?” I nervously answered yes. He stuck out his hand and told me that he has read every single Rev-Up and he really liked my work. Hey man, my path might not ever make me a million dollars, but when things like that happen, it makes me feel like a very rich man inside. He noticed I was really busy and politely nodded at me and said he would be back to chat.
I also got to watch most of the racing. Earlier in the day, a man walked by the tent and said, “Hey I see you have Alessi on the cover. That’s awesome, because I'm a Villopoto fan and he got a DNF when he was on the cover. This time its Mikey’s turn!”
Later, when I heard Weege scream over the PA, “Alessi goes down! Alessi goes down!” I could only shake my head in amazement. But trust me, there is no cover curse. I mean, Davi Millsaps was the worst starter ever, then he got the cover and suddenly he gets every holeshot he tries!
I was still cussing under my breath when I arrived at the tent and somebody put their hand on my shoulder. It was the man who shook my hand earlier in the day. Seeing the dejected and disgusted look on my face, he told me a story. His name is Greg Papandrea, and he told me about his battle with cancer, how lucky he was to beat it, and how he makes the most out of every day he has. He also told me of his genuine love for motocross and how he would go to every race if he could. Then he told me a quote that he liked to live by since the day he got sick. It is from Eleanor Roosevelt, and it goes, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift.” You’re damn right it is. Thanks, Greg.
Weekends like this one really remind me why I love this sport so much. Seeing all of those kids smile when they got something free and meeting amazing people like Mr. Papandrea leave me waiting for the next race to get here. Next stop, Steel City. I invite you to please come out and watch the races—I’ll be in the Racer X tent.
Thanks for reading, see you next week.
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When the lights go off on supercross and racing hits the daylight with the launch of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, everyone gets to start over. Page 110.