I recently attended a party to celebrate a woman’s 79th and 83rd birthday. When asked about the apparent “double down” on her birth dates, she turned her head conspiratorially and explained; “Now you know what it was like in those days. Me sister had me, but my grandmother raised me – so they had to wait a few years and registered my birth when no one would have any questions or comments.
Isn’t it interesting to note that Boondockers is commemorating both 15 and 17 years of filming – for very similar reasons.
“… apparent Double Down…”
We started the Boondockers series of back country snowmobile videos during the winter of 2002. We had discovered an especially talented local rider who was revolutionizing the sport, and with a film style borrowed from our skiing hay days (think Warren Miller meets Greg Stumpp), we had a lot of fun developing our brand and shooting our premiere movie.
When we hit the ‘Toronto Snow Show' that fall we thought Boondockers was introducing a brand-new genre of action sports that was about to flip the snowmobile industry upside down. Can you imagine our surprise when we discovered ‘Roops of Hazard’, ‘2SCS’, and ‘Sled Necks’ with video displays and a two-year head start on our project? So much for getting out of the gate first.
This was a most humbling experience, but it was also an exciting time. Each production team were moving hundreds of tapes (yes we’ve been around long enough to produce in VHS format), and while we recognized the need to raise the level of riding skill, we could also see huge value in our unique film format, welcoming sound track, narrations, humour, and beauty. This was an opportunity to sling shot our next video into the stratosphere.
“… didn't film the following year.”
We didn’t film the following year. Instead we saved up, rode hard, retooled, reached out, plotted, and planned our next offering – Boondockers 2 Tangly. Now as far as I’m concerned this is the greatest actions sports video ever produced. It was smart and it was fun. It was designed to promote the sport of snowmobiling and inspire riders of all abilities. It had a great sound track and a powerful flow of energy that could entertain an audience of any age or interest.
We did a great job – but alas…..
Despite our efforts to find and develop local riding talent, we knew professional riders were needed if we hoped to ante up the action in our films. Our contacts with Sled Necks sent up two riders and a cameraman for the first shoot of season 2. We lost one rider at the border when he was denied entry to Canada for a troubled past. The other went down twice – first at our welcome reception (too bad we couldn’t use the footage from that night), and then he near broke his back after less than 3 hours riding on our first day in the field.
Dan Gardiner was also supposed to join us that winter but he smashed his teeth in a back country accident, requiring emergency dental surgery just days before his departure for Newfoundland. And the snowcross racers we brought to the ‘Blomidon Mountains’ were true flatlanders who’d never ridden powder, nor had they ever traveled their sled along an off-camber slope. They were great riders who learned fast, but can you imagine?
“,,, started working on Boondockers Tribe…”
We started working on Boondockers ‘Tribe’ the following season and we had some wonderful success, starting with Newfoundland’s first, snowmobile, ‘Backflip Show' at the Pepsi Center in Corner Brook; featuring Jimmy Blaze, Kourtney Hungerford, Jason Semlar and Chris Burandt. This helped offset the costs of several wonderful adventures that brought Dan Gardiner to the island twice, and saw us traveling for several video shoots in Nevada, Utah, Colorado, and Idaho.
We had an outrageous winter but it was costly. When our ‘Mex Games’ fundraising festival was washed away in a torrential rain fall, we decided it was time to try something new. So, we reached out to Dan Gardiner, and moved the brand to Utah where it was re-positioned as a fundraising vehicle that’s provided scholarships, trips, and educational seminars for the past decade.
“… an outrageous winter…”
We once knew an old skipper who tackled every maintenance job with gusto. When asked his age, he would suggest;
“They never kept very good records when I was a youngster, the best guess places me at 74.”
Ten years later we had a job that required the expertise of the same old man. His work habits hadn’t changed a bit. No more his story. When asked about his age he again maintained there was no assurance, but his best estimate was about 74.
“Skipper you were 74 the last time you worked here.”
“Really?”, he says, “Well, I got to tell you, I don’t feel a day older.”
“… don't feel a day older.”
Happy Birthday to Boondockers everywhere. 79 or 83, 15 or 17 – makes no difference to us, its all a numbers game anyway.
Sweat Your Brains out Boys