Meat Sweats - etnies in Kansas City
Home from home in KC
Words and Photos by Andrew White / Partially reprinted from DIG 99.5
Not trying to let the cat out of the bag, but KC is a great but often overlooked BMX destination, perhaps due to being the center of a forgotten region of the US. Having lived there for the past two years, and with my main vehicle being a Fairdale, I’ve clocked countless hours scouring for spots. So when I've been out of town on trips, specifically ones with Nathan Williams for etnies Chapters, I'd always show him my spot finds and toss KC into the ring for possible future locations. He and I lived in Nashville together for almost a decade, and even though I moved away we still see each other all the time through BMX. He finally joined my side, and he along with Aaron Ross and Chase Hawk finally got to see what the hype is all about.
It’s an awesome sight to see your spot finds get manhandled by some of the best riders in the world and it’s something I’ll not soon forget.
Kansas City itself has a few, how do I put it, aspirational nicknames. Paris of the Plains, City of Fountains, Heart of America. Most are dated from the glory years in the 20s, where mob control trounced any prohibition enforcement. Hemingway claimed it was one of his favorite cities (he lived here for a few years while writing for the local paper). While I feel those praises are a bit much, I can say that KC has plenty of spots to ride.
Similar to the other Chapters trips, this one would be lean. Will Stroud behind the camera and van, plus Aaron Ross, Chase Hawk, and Nathan Williams. Only Nathan had been to KC before. I had a google folder with well over a hundred spots on the menu, so there was no shortage. However my experience with these three heavy hitters is that they each pick out one or maybe two things to do per day, and get to work. Such was the case on this trip.
The week started off with a bang. Nathan did a move that harkened back to the days when clips were much more daredevil and less physicist. It was a do or die, there was no escaping an ER trip if things didn’t pan out. The photo (at the bottom of this article) was originally printed as a spread in DIG issue 99.5, for those lucky few who grabbed a copy before they disappeared.
The rest of the time was spent in a combination of looking over spots and scheduling who would do what when. Rotating riders in front of the lens was a good way to keep the load spread evenly, though it did lead to more time in the car. Some days we rode one spot, sometimes half a dozen.
In the end we got what we came for. Filming for a multi-year release is daunting, but trips like this help each rider slowly chip away at the final product. It’s non-stop and full throttle, something aspirational to witness in the quick clip era.
"Chase came to town and took care of business..."
"I had a google folder with well over a hundred spots on the menu, so there was no shortage."
"A Cop just kindly asked if she was blocking our shot by pulling into the parking lot."
"I felt like I cheated death"
- Nathan Williams
Keeping it simple on two wheels...
How that flatland influence runs deeper than you might think...