21 YEARS AGO: The First Red Bull Rampage
The debut of the Red Bull Rampage only hinted at what would happen in 2022
Back in October of 2001, the MBA staff headed to Utah to witness the first Red Bull Rampage. Here is what it looked like as covered in MBA. Richie Schley ended up on the cover of the magazine, while 14-year-old Kyle Strait (who was one of MBA’s test riders) ended up placing ninth, and coming away with a full-page photo of himself in our coverage of that historic event in our magazine—that’s him on the fourth page of the layout seen below. Kyle would go on to win the Red Bull Rampage two times in the coming years, and he has showed up to compete in every Rampage since, although a crash in practice in 2022 sent him to the hospital with three broken vertebrae in his back, forcing him to pull out of the 2022 competition before his first points run. Fortunately, Kyle is up on his feet again and recovering from the surgery that he underwent after his crash.
You can click on the layout pages below in order to enlarge them if you want to see them better and read the article.
Another MBA test rider from that era, Scott Hart, was one of the competitors in that first event. He didn’t make the finals, but he did end up in one of the photos in our coverage. He ended up working for Red Bull from 2013 to 2019 and now works for Canyon Bicycles.
Wade Simmons ended up winning the title that first year, helping to further establish his credentials as “The Godfather” of freeriding. That’s him in the top center photo on the third page of the layout.
Randy Spangler, the head judge in 2019, was one of the top competitors back then, placing sixth in 2001. We told in the magazine how his bike went off an 80-foot cliff in a crash, and he was barely able to stop himself from going off the edge with it. That’s Randy in the top-right photo of the sixth page of the layout.
MBA’s John Ker shot the photos at the 2001 event for our coverage, and one of the things that was most memorable to him was how few people were there. We don’t think we ever heard what the total attendance at the event was, but John remembers thinking that the number of people at the event had to be less than 100, maybe closer to 50, and that included the riders, their friends, their family members, the judges, the photographers, the journalists, and the Red Bull staff who had put the event together.
The 2001 event didn’t look anything like the Red Bull Rampage of 2022—the event now attracts thousands of people to the site and is probably seen by millions of people online— but it was still cool to see it happen in person in 2001 and witness history in the making.
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