Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fireball Run: Recap From Tarah Mikacich

I just got back from the most amazing journey! Fireball Run is a live destination-based competition with 40 teams made up of successful business owners and celebrities. For eight days, through 14 cities, and 2,500 miles we got hands-on with grassroots America, receiving unprecedented access and leaving destinations better than when we arrived.
From a fireworks send off in Independence, Ohio to a parade finish in Bangor, Maine, we had to navigate solely based off of clues. We could use anything and anyone to solve clues, and accomplish missions. Clues lead us to find pieces of history, roadside points-of-interest, attractions, brands, even pop culture. The only address we had was where we were to sleep at night and let me tell you, some days all we were looking forward to was going to bed! We went head-to-head uncovering clues, driving and running around like crazy for 12 hours non-stop every day to complete missions and bonuses (which were sometimes fake).
My teammate, Shea Holbrook (pro race car driver and my lifelong friend) and I competed against an astronaut, the president of the Rock ‘N Rock Hall of Fame and even a lumberjill. Some teams had exotic and sexy cars, others more typical and historic, and then there were the extremely odd cars. To ramble off a few: there was a Lamborghini Aventador, a 1981 DMC-12 DeLorean Time Machine as featured in the Back to the Future trilogy, a Ferrari 458 Italia, a Devon GTX, a Porsche 911, a Fisker Karma, a Rally Fighter, a water truck, an ambulance, and our sexy blue and pink hotrod, a 2012 Honda Accord V6 (with sat-nav of course) provided by Hendrick Honda.
Thankfully, we partnered up with some other more experienced teams to help us, as we were the rookies. Using more brainpower than horsepower, we were doing fairly well within the first hour of the first day when we snapped a photo (which we get extra points for) of a fellow Fireballer pulled over by a cop!
Uncovering clues led us to partake in some of the most amazing well-kept secrets in America. We sat in Lucille Ball’s Mercedes and held her Emmy, we also sat in Robert H. Jackson’s chair at the desk he used as chief prosecutor in the Nuremberg trials, things that no one has done since the pieces were restored. We got to drive at Watkins Glen Int’l and met president of the track Michael Printup, then met up with Skip Barber himself at Lime Rock…and then there were pumpkins. Yes, we raced in gigantic 500-1,000 lb pumpkins in the water with a paddle. We thoroughly enjoyed meeting the hard working people of Cummings Diesel and felt the power of a 500hp diesel engine that they make for 18-wheelers.
Speaking of great people, every town we went to truly hosted us. We would roll into town seeing thousands of proud citizens on the streets welcoming Fireball Run. The community effort was… unbelievable. Towards the end of our journey we went to the real graveyard where Pet Cemetery was filmed, and re-enacted a scene… I played the priest.  We also went to town where there had been two battles in the War of 1812. I put on the silly hat and got to shoot the musket!  While we actually did many other things, these were some of my favorites.
Lastly, I’ll share one bonus that seemed a bit risqué from the beginning. We got very up close and personal with the beautiful Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, where we were to take a photo wearing ONLY a toga. I will never forget the face of a nearby sightseer when we ran by in bed sheets!
Everywhere we went we helped a local charity along the way. Together we donated over $10,000 in toys, sports equipment, learning games, and more. Some call Fireball Run a rally, car show, or a game and, in fact, all are accurate but it’s so much more. The purpose of the “adventurally” is to aid in the recovery of missing children by being a massive awareness campaign. Along the way people asked us how to donate and the truth is, “We don’t need donations to find missing children: We need people looking and we need business owners to be willing to hang a poster.
Each team got a child to represent from their region. Every time Shea and I stepped foot out of the car we had posters in hand of the missing child we were representing. In our case, it was youngster Donald Jackson. We wanted our team name to represent Donald, so we called ourselves PrettyTough4DJ. Fireball Run distributed over 200,000 posters and received $42 million worth in news media. We were covered by live stream webcast and local news everywhere we went. From this live rolling production, Universal will be making a full-length movie for next year’s Orlando Film Festival, plus a series of “webisodes” that will air on fireballrun.tv next summer. There were over 350 news stories regarding this year’s Fireball Run and its Race to Recover America’s Missing Children, which ultimately gave these children a voice again.
Fireball Run gave me a different perspective on life. In Schenectady, NY, at dinner we sat with a man who didn’t appear to be with the group. Shea and I said Hi… He introduced himself as: “I’m a father of a missing child you’re looking for, and he’s been missing for eight years.” Needless to say, I welled up. He told us how every day he wonders where he is or if he’s even alive. We hugged and the last thing he said to me was, “I can never repay you all for what you’re doing for my family.” Well let me tell you, that hug said everything – and I’m a hugger myself!
The last day of the Fireball Run was pretty stressful.  I’ve never done so many u-turns in my life!  We felt like we were far behind, but we didn’t know what position we were in because they stop posting results the last two days, to build the suspense. Given how competitive Shea and I are, we definitely wanted to do well. We were at the banquet in Bangor, eating a great dinner and sipping on some wine while listening to the awards, when suddenly we heard JJ refer to “The Girls.” We had won the Sedan class! I tell you, I’ve never been more excited over a plastic road sign in my life!
We have many people to thank for putting us in the Fireball Ball Run: O’Brien Watersports, TrueCar, Hendrick Honda, Lucas Oil, Growing Champions For Life, Ten-80, Race4Girls, Livin Over Board, beatbyagirl.org, Live Your Legacy Summit, and Hangtyte. We also express our sincere appreciation to the communities that hosted us and to the whole Fireball Run production. It was EPIC!

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Keith McAlevey Leaves Wakeboarding To Serve The Country

By Tony Stracke of Tilly’s Marine
So often, we forget that it’s a privilege to do the great things we love, like wakeboarding and hanging out on a beautiful lake with our family and friends. A few years ago, I had the honor of meeting a young man named Keith McAlevey. He was pumped on wakeboarding and wanted to ride all the time. I took him out on my weighted-down Malibu WAKESETTER and he was boosting on every trick. Other people on the lake were giving us the thumbs up and said they enjoyed watching us ride. Keith was just doing what he liked to do and was super humble about it all.
Fast forward a few years and Keith is still wakeboarding and riding like a champ. After graduating high school, he made the admirable decision to join the US Army. After graduating boot camp, I got a text from Keith, “Hey man, I’ll be home for a couple weeks. Can we go wakeboarding??? Because after that, the only wakeboarding I’ll be doing is in the sand!” The reality of the situation hit me pretty hard.
Awesomely enough, we had the Tilly’s Marine 2012 CampOut scheduled for the week he was in town. Keith came out to the lake with his girlfriend Zulie and hung out and rode behind Tilly’s Axis A22 until his arms were going to fall off.
After Keith was stationed overseas, he posted a picture of him with a TV, a magazine, and what looked like an automatic assault rifle. He was on guard duty. His job was to sit in a metal shed in 110-degree heat and guard ammunition. I’m sure it was tough for him to know everyone was at home having fun, but what he was doing allows us to do the things we do.
The choice that Keith has made is huge and it was for OUR benefit to live in this country enjoying our freedom. The next time you are out on the boat and get mad at someone or get bummed that its windy or you can’t land a trick, think about Keith sitting in a metal shed looking at pictures of wakeboarding and counting the days till he can get back on his board.
Keith is currently in Fort Knox and is getting ready for his month in the field — 30 days with no showers or amenities. When he has time off, he tries to get out to Wake Nation to ride the cable. It’s a trek for him, so he usually spends the weekend there and sleeps in his truck. He is already trying to set up times to ride when he comes home in December for a few days. It’s getting cold out there already so I’m sure his stories will be gnarly when he comes home in December.
Thank you very much Keith McAlevey and everyone else that has, or is currently serving this great country. Here are some photos that were taken at our local lake, Lake Piru here in Southern California, when Keith came out for a recent visit. Plus some inspirational quotes from the man himself!
“I like to ride because I’ve grown up with it my whole life and I love the people I’ve met and the friends I’ve made through wakeboarding. But also it’s a chance for me to show people what I’ve been able to teach myself and learn from other riders.”
“My personality comes out alot when I wakeboard. I like to go big but also put style in my riding. A lot of people have all the tricks but it looks robotic. I like when a simple trick looks dope. It’s not about the craziest trick you have. It’s about the style you put into your riding. That’s what sets riders apart. Being able to know your board. Know the wake. Know the water and how it’s all going to respond is key.”
“Now I’m in a place where we all look the same. We all have the same haircut. Same uniform. Eat at the same place. Wakeboarding is a huge chance for me to put that all to the side and show my originality and style. I tend to look up to the pros that have so much steeze and make every trick look so good and different from everyone else’s. That’s how I like to ride. I like my tricks to have steeze and style.”
“Wakeboarding has made my life so great. Whether it’s learning new tricks behind a boat, riding a glassy wake surf wave, learning new rails at the cable park or going out with friends to clear 17-foot waterfall gaps. My mind always wants to keep going for the next thing in wakeboarding.”
“Even here in the Army. I write down new tricks, jot down new rails or Google new winch spots for when I come home. It’s truly the greatest sport and gives me endless amounts of happiness.”
Malibu Boats, LLC has a company-wide initiative to support all aspects of the US Military. Check out what Axis Wake Research is doing with their RECON edition. This package is available on the A20 or A22 and a portion of the proceeds goes to Jared Allen’s Homes 4 Wounded Warriors.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Northwest Region Summer Recap

By Chad Douglas
Whew… what a season. I would like to start this off by saying thank you to Malibu Boats! Thank you for building amazing products. Thank you for having excellent customer service. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to promote, advertise and enjoy an amazing summer in the best wake boat around.
Summer Highlights:
  • Watching dozens of individuals land their first something’s. From wake jumps, to surf 360s, to glides and handle-pass mobes, the WAKESETTER 22 MXZ served up consistent wakes and waves all summer long. “Glitzy” truly earned her reputation for having the biggest wake in the Northwest this season.
  • Watching people wander from all over the sand dunes at Crescent Bar and form an instant dance party while tied up in the floatilla during Memorial Day weekend.
  • Hearing from someone who has been towing competitive water skiing their whole life, “This is the most pleasurable driving experience I’ve ever had in a wakeboard boat.”
  • Discussing, demonstrating and just plain showing off products that speak for themselves to hundreds of people all summer long.

Although this was only my first season as a Malibu Northwest Region promotional rider, I felt it went very well. Throughout the season I was able to accomplish the following:
  •    Over 180 hours of running time on the boat
  •    Towed over 130 wakeboard, wakeskate, and surfing sets in competition over 4 different events
  •    Had over 150 individuals onboard the boat at different events and occasions
  •    Sold the boat so that I can spend the 2013 season showing off the latest and greatest, the WAKESETTER22MXZ with SURF GATE!
With the hours of available sunlight beginning to dwindle here in the Northwest, I am getting ready for winter. The plan forward is to expand on the foundation we built this season and aim for even more promotional events next season. We will continue to keep the boat on Lake Washington in hopes of getting as much water time as possible. Our 2013 boat will again be towing all Northwest INT wakeboard events and hopefully a few other local events. I am also in discussion with local shops, Seattle Boats, and other interested businesses here in the Northwest on the potential for more activities that benefit everyone involved. I look forward to working with all of you this next season and hope that you are as excited about the results of this season as I am. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions, concerns, or comments. I am all-ears for any feedback on this season or ideas for next season. Take care, Chad Douglas thechaddouglas@gmail.com

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

SURF EXPO Extends Malibu Momentum

With several new product launches, new website, a clean sweep of the WSIA Dealer Awards and top athlete honors at Wake Awards, Malibu Boats and Axis Wake Research noticed a surge of interest though the month of September. National Sales Director, Scott Davenport, is hearing an outpour of feedback through dealer networks and customer chatter. “People are responding well to the new 24 MXZ and everybody wants to get their hands onSURF GATE,” Davenport said. “Plus, Axis is continuing to impress, now offering the RECON edition which benefits a great cause.”
Also new this year, Malibu is promoting a special, limited edition 30th Anniversary package for the RESPONSE TXi, WAKESETTER 20 VTX and 23 LSV. There are a number of new things to talk about and the dealers are amping over the latest innovations. Minnesota Inboard finished the season off with a bang, winning “Retailer Of The Year” at the WSIA Leadership Awards on September 6. Owner Joe Mueller said, ”We are truly honored to win this award and this wouldn’t have been possible without our great crew and our amazing, loyal customers. We are in an ideal location, and sell a superior product. Our new state-of-the-art facility, scheduled to open in early 2013, will allow us to provide the best customer experience, while also enabling our dealership to grow.”
Other dealer awards went to Marine Outfitters for Best Retail Promotion and Boulder Boats for Breakout Retailer Of The Year.
Find your local dealer here: malibuboats.com/dealer-locator
Play with the all-new Build A Boat feature here: malibuboats.com/boats
Malibu’s Scott Davenport and Chase Mastel of Minnesota Inboard
Christina Litjens of Boulder Boats & Malibu’s Chris Loomis
Booth at SURF EXPO
30th Anniversary Edition
Axis RECON Edition
Amber Wing wins “Best Womens Rider”
Raph Derome wins “Best Wakeboarder”

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