It's not every day that FMX gets to be front and center in a more traditional sport such as football. This was the case last weekend in Stillwater, Okla., where the Cowboys recruited "Cowboy Kenny" to energize college football fans before Oklahoma State played host to the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns.
Local native Kenny Bartram and his Steel Rodeo demo tour were brought in to put on an FMX demo Sept. 15 for a pregame entertainment event called the Big Air Game Day Bash. It featured A-list riders -- with 17 X Games gold medals and 34 combined medals – Matt Buyten, Ronnie Renner, Adam Jones and Cody Elkins performing FMX tricks for an enthusiastic crowd before the Cowboys went out and demolished the visitors 65-24.
The FMX demo was set up on the iconic Hall of Fame Street just outside Boone Pickens Stadium and the riders were greeted by upwards of 10,000 orange-clad OSU fans. Yes, FMX demos take place all the time at all kinds of sporting events, but what makes this more special was the fact OSU decided to give the riders some extra recognition, including Bartram, Buyten, Jones and Renner riding onto the field for pregame ceremonies.
Surprised at how many people were aware of FMX and actually knew who most of the riders were, Bartram said: "They were coming down excited to see guys like Renner, Buyten, Jones and saying: 'Hey I know you guys.' Even without their gear on people were coming down to say hi to them, so it was really cool."
Besides helping the growth of FMX by exposing it to mainstream sports audiences such as college football it's a good indicator of its present reach when many of those fans are already aware of these riders.
A lot of MX enthusiasts keep their fandom strictly about motorsports, but many others are equally as big followers of football and other traditional sports. So for everyone who loves moto and some football, browse the gallery of photos shot on game day Sept. 15 and read some comments from Cowboy Kenny, who helped do his part in growing his sport.
ESPN.com: First off, what has Kenny Bartram been up to lately?
Bartram: Just jumping, my fiancée and I started the Steel Rodeo Tour a while back. Things have been going really good with that. We've been jumping just about every weekend somewhere. Harley bike rallies -- we did six days full of shows at Sturgis [S.D.] this year -- PRCA rodeos, state and county fairs … you name it, we have jumped at it.
I did a couple of country music videos this year: One for Bucky Covington and Shooter Jennings , "Drinking Side of Country" that's now in the Top 20 videos.
Tell me how the OSU all came about?
Well, Kicker is obviously a longtime sponsor of mine and they're right here in Stillwater, Okla., and they partnered up with OSU to make some co-branded equipment like ear buds that have OSU logos on them stuff like that. They [Kicker] wanted to put on a big event, so FMX was brought in and the event was called the Big Air Game Day Bash.
We did it last year and everything went great, so they decided to do it again this year. They closed down one of the city streets right in front of Boone Pickens Stadium. Kicker brought in their semi, and we set up my mobile ramp to ramp set-up right on Hall Of Fame Street. We jumped an hour before kick-off time so there were tons of people out in the streets watching. It was pretty awesome; I'd say there were about 5,000-10,000 people out there watching!
It's pretty cool for you to help put FMX in front of such a premier audience that typically might not ever see FMX.
Exactly, and that is something we've been fortunate to do with the Steel Rodeo tour, with rodeos, music tours, and stuff like that and now with Game Day Bash we're definitely getting it out in front of people that normally wouldn't be FMX fans, they now may become [fans]. And I was also amazed at how many football people were already moto fans.
I bet Buyten was in heaven all day, he got paid to be at a football game riding his dirt bike.
[Laughs] Exactly, he was and he has family from Oklahoma City so he got to spend some time with his dad and visit family. It was cool we got put up in a mega-press box suite to watch the game.
I heard you guys rode the game day football out onto the field for opening ceremonies?
Yeah, we got to deliver the game ball onto the field. We all four rode out onto the field and delivered the game ball to the 50-yard line. So, yeah, that was pretty awesome. It's a huge honor to be able to do something like this, but in true freestyle form we all popped it up on one wheel at one time or another.
It sounds like it was a good day. What else do you have going on this year?
We are pretty busy in September and October with different events, then will take a break in November and December for the holiday season … 2013 is looking like a great year. You can stay "in the know" either follow me on Facebook and Twitter at @CowboyKenny690 or www.steelrodeotour.com.