Bikes Over Baghdad: X-Games athletes visit Baghdad
September 10, 2009
CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq - Crowds cheered and X-Games sports stars bounced off of ramps and concrete T-walls as Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldiers hosted "Bikes Over Baghdad" at Camp Liberty, here, Sept. 9.
For more than an hour, seven of the world's best bike and skateboard athletes thrilled Soldiers with tricks on ramps, made with the help of Soldiers from Division Special Troops Battalion.
"There's so much work that has been done in putting this thing together. We've been here all day long with these [DSTB troops]," said Zach "Catfish" Yankush, an X-Games announcer and pro BMX bike rider. "Like everything else with the military, it was a team effort and all these guys came together for this show."
The Soldiers and riders worked together to build a set of two vertical ramps and one plateau ramp next to the division's dining facility for the event.
"I feel good, but now I feel tired," said Staff Sgt. Undrey Moore, from Albany, Ga., assigned to Company C, DSTB, on helping get the venue built. "It was an exciting show and I had a good time helping put it together."
"We've been doing this actually since last night," explained Staff Sgt. Stephen Fowler, one of the ramp builders from Little Rock, Ark., assigned to Headquarters Support Co., DSTB. "Believe me, it was an effort, man."
The Soldiers' hard work and effort paid off when the cheers of the crowd spurred the riders on to gold medal stunts.
"The show was fantastic, it was amazing," added Fowler with a grin. "I've been hanging out with these guys since last night and they're just regular people...but when I saw them do some of the tricks they did, it was like a lightning bolt struck them!"
There certainly was electricity in the air as the show came to a close, but it wasn't over yet. Catfish announced that one Soldier, a BMX bike enthusiast, had moved his leave just to be able to attend the event. Spc. Gary Keane also worked hard to build a ramp in Camp Liberty, so he could bike during his down time. The crowd roared as they presented Keane with a brand-new BMX bike.
"If I wasn't so tired, I'd be crying," said Keane, a light-wheeled vehicle mechanic from Raleigh, N.C., assigned to the 50th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 160th Signal Brigade. "This is seriously a dream come true. This is seriously the greatest day of my life."