Bikes Over Baghdad returns to Iraq
BMX pros Chad Kagy, Brian Kachinsky, Mike Escamilla, Anthony Napolitan, Mykel Larrin and Drew Bezanson will visit Iraq and Kuwait from November 28 through December 9 for the third Bikes Over Baghdad Tour, performing demos at U.S. military bases throughout the area.
The Bikes Over Baghdad team will perform demos at seven military bases, riding for an estimated 20,000 U.S. soldiers on ramps built by BMX ramp contractors Nate Wessel and Ron Kimler, who will also accompany the team.
Kagy, Kachinsky and Escamilla appeared on earlier Bikes Over Baghdad Tours, and are eager to return. Kachinksky, who won an X Games Bronze Medal at X16, described the experience as "exhilarating, intense, and life-changing," adding, "Service people told us we were heroes to them and I was blown away, because they're the real heroes." While in Iraq, Kachinsky and Escamilla visited with U.S. military men and women in Baghdad, practiced bomb detection alongside bomb-sniffing dogs and slept in the former palace of Saddam Hussein.
Kagy visited in June of this year, and was so moved by the experience that he dedicated his X Games 16 Gold Medal to the troops in Iraq. "We couldn't do what we do if not for them," said Kagy following his X Games 16 Big Air win in August.
For Bezanson, Larrin and Napolitan, Bikes Over Baghdad marks their first trip to the Middle East. "This is my first time as a BOB team member, and I feel unbelievably grateful to have the opportunity to thank our troops in this amazing and personal way," said Napolitan.
According to one service member who caught an earlier tour and has been keeping up with the guys on Facebook: "When they came here, it was clear that they put their heart and soul into it -- that's what made their show so amazing."
Another service person put it, "For two hours, I forgot I was in Iraq."
The Bikes Over Baghdad 3 Tour is sponsored in part by Harley-Davidson, who will be giving away a 2011 Harley-Davidson XR1200X motorcycle to one service person who attends a show.
Follow Brian Tunney on Twitter: @briantunney