X Games stars Chad Kagy, Jamie Bestwick, Steve McCann, and Alistair Whitton will be among the athletes featured in a BMX demo on Sunday, March 2 for Team Ream Day at Penn State's Bryce Jordan Center, following the men's basketball game against the Wisconsin Badgers. The event is being held in memory of Brandon Ream, a former Penn State athlete and vice president of operations at Camp Woodward, who died in November after a two-year battle with bone marrow cancer.
"Brandon was one of those personalities who had a positive effect on everyone he ever met," says Kagy, a longtime friend of Ream's who has taken on a role as spokesman for the Team Ream Foundation. The non-profit organization was established in Ream's memory to assist financially disadvantaged individuals in Ream's State College community who have been affected by serious medical and various conditions. "The amount of people he interacted with over the years is just ridiculous, we're learning. Here in State College he's something of a legend: he was the quarterback of the State High team and then a player for the Penn State football team, he graduated from Penn State with a Business Management degree, and he was heavily involved in both the Woodward action sports camp community and the Penn State alumni community. He was prominent in a lot of circles."
Sunday's tribute is fitting, Kagy says, because Ream and his father, Camp Woodward founder Gary Ream, had season tickets for Penn State basketball and football for most of Brandon's life.
"The Team Ream Day designation from Penn State basketball coach Pat Chambers is the kind of thing Brandon would be up there smiling about," Kagy says. Ream's father Gary sees it as a new beginning for the work they planned out in the future.
"I'm pissed at the guy upstairs because he took away my wingman, but all this support from Penn State, from the action sports community, from pro athletes and Brandon's friends around the world, has just been tremendous," Gary Ream told XGames.com. "For me, it's all too soon, and this weekend's event, even though it's a celebration, is almost too much. But it also points to the work ahead, the work that Brandon started and was very much involved in. In his final moments with me Brandon really laid it on, telling me what I needed to do. We'd made a lot of plans together, big projects that he wanted me to continue without him, and that's what we spent our last 20 minutes together talking about. I'm not going to let him down."
Kagy and the other BMX athletes will join Olympic gymnastics gold medalist Shawn Johnson -- now a coach with Woodward's gymnastics program -- and several Penn State athletes for an autograph session before Sunday's game. A halftime memorial celebration is also planned.