So it's been quite some time since I've posted an actual update on life and my current goings on. If you follow me on facebook you'll know that I've spent the last nine or so months all over the country...literally. It's funny how life has its ups and its downs and God has an interesting tendency to push us to the breaking point (at least it seems that way) and then lavish his love on us in new and unexpected ways that we never could have dreamed up on our own. Thats kinda how the last year has been for me.
I continue to be amazed at the opportunities I am blessed with. Most recently was an incredible opportunity to travel to Tennessee and meet up with Kawasaki Motor Corp. and test out their new Offroad Teryx 4 UTV. I got an email about three weeks ago from the editor of a website, whom I've never actually met, asking if I'd be interested in going. Turns out I got his email from someone and about a year ago when I was unemployed and looking for work I had sent out a mass email expressing my interest in doing freelance for anyone and everyone. He told me he thought he'd just give me a shot and see if I was interested.
Thankfully one of my titles at my day job is "Media Relations" so my boss's were in support of me taking the couple days out of the office to go and mingle with other members of the media and some of the folks at Kawasaki. I'd never been to a press intro but typically the way it works is, when a manufacturer releases a new machine they want to get it out in front of as many people as they can so they invite key members of the media out to ride, test and report on the machine and bring it to the masses. Not that I'm a key member of the media but the particular site I went for recieved an invite so I was more than happy to oblige.
One thing is for sure, Kawasaki does things first rate! I was greeted at the airport by a kind southern gentleman in a suit holding a sign that said "Fargher." He looked and sounded like he would be more at home sitting on a tractor and wearing bib overalls and after our brief conversation my suspicions were confirmed. He escorted me to a really nice black SUV and proceeded to drive me to the downtown Hilton in Knoxville Tennessee. Upon checking in I was informed that my entire stay had already been taken care of and that I was to meet in the lounge that evening for a reception before going to dinner.
Again, Kawasaki does things first rate and they spared no expense in taking us out to a fancy steak and seafood restaurant. I was kind of stand offish at first because I really didn't know what to expect or how these press functions work but as I got to talking to a few different people, I discovered I had already met, corresponded with or at least heard of several of these folks over the last couple years while working in the industry. Even more to my surprise, one guy actually knew who I was from my time riding freestyle and was pumped to meet me. Ha Ha, that doesn't happen often!
The next day we arrived at Brimstone recreation area to test out the Teryx 4 on a crisp 26 degree morning. Thankfully the sun came out and took the chill off but it was definitely hard to get moving at first. They gave us a brief intro to the machine and explained all of the special features and what we could expect, then it was off for photos. Again, a testimony to how first rate Kawasaki does things, they supplied their own photographer that took us out on the trail and provided us with HIGH quality images for use in our reports and whatever else we needed. I'd actually met Adam Campbell about a year ago when I did the Rockstar/Bombsquad shootout for Dirt Wheels Magazine. He's another industry name that's kind of a celebrity in my mind because I've been following his work in differnt publications for a long long time.
After photos it was back to the staging area for an amazing catered lunch and then back to the trails to put some miles on the Teryx. Brimstone is a pretty tight, wooded trail system so there wasn't a lot of room to really open it up but I still managed to get all four wheels off the ground a couple times and give the Teryx 4 an adequate shake down. I haven't spent a great deal of time in side by sides so I feel a little lacking in my ability to evaluate it against other machines but I did my best to report on how the machine felt to me and the functionability it offers. I was impressed. I'll post my full report after it gets posted to ATVsource.com.
At the end of the day it was back to the hotel for some down time and then one more fancy dinner, this time at a place called the Chop House. I had yet another amazing steak and got to chat with everyone again about the day of riding and everything else offroad related. While I've had some incredible opportunities over the last few years and have had work featured in numerous publications, I still consider myself a newbie to a lot of this so it's awesome to sit back and listen to the stories that some of these guys have about crazy rides, breakdowns and the occasional run in with law enforcement.
The next morning I was fetched back to the airport, this time in a black town car, and traded the sunny south for a monsoon in California. I had an incredible time in Tennessee and the exciting thing about working with the media is you never know what future opportunities may come out of it. It's funny to me because I never intended to get involved with the media way back when I started this adventure. I just wanted to find a job working in the industry and my mentality was, "well magazine people seem to know everyone, maybe I should try and get my foot in the door with them." Little did I know what doors would open all from that one little interview with ATV Sport, now almost four years ago. Needless to say I'm eternally thankful for all the opportunities I've had and I'm excited to see what comes next!