Photo Journal - Rooftop's Secret Pool Party
"I’m not going to lie, I felt like a kid again."
Words and photos by Brian Castillo Additional words and photos by Paul Luna and Mike Escamilla (Unless noted)
Mike Escamilla has been going back and forth with the idea of some sort of contest/ jam for some time now, and finally came up with the idea of a Secret Pool Jam with some of his favorite current riders and a few past legends. Knowing Mike for a very long time, you get to know his personality and how he goes about some things. Once he gets a wild idea up his sleeve he goes full throttle and is all in 110%.
The idea of a secret jam is totally up Mike’s alley and was one of his best ideas yet. Riders were completely left in the dark ever since Mike sent out the video invitation to each rider and he let their imaginations go wild on where, what and who else was invited. Most riders love a good adventure or secret adventure, especially coming from Mr. #betheadventure himself! If you follow Mike on Instagram, you know he knows how to have a good time and would love to have him as a adventure guide any day of the week.
Once the address and time was sent out, and we all knew where it was (Google) and knew about the abandoned mansion from some of Mike’s past photos of the pool. The pool itself is pretty amazing and from what I was told it was the biggest privately owned civilian pool in North America (250,000 gal) and the mansion itself has a wild past of prior owners.
The house is there still to be rented out by movie producers, special projects and whatever else your heart desires if you have the money or in Mike’s case, a bit of GoPro’s funding to help rent out the space for the day. GoPro staff was also on-hand to help out Mike with the live feed for RIDEbmx’s Facebook and had Mike himself going back and forth from riding to help out broadcasting the whole days event.
The overall picture once you got into the jam was seeing the huge pool with Mike’s add-on wood ramps, the mansion itself, a dozen or so GoPro filmers with GoPro cameras on expansion poles running around with headsets everywhere, and pro riders that you didn’t know were coming but were definitely stoked to see there.
My personal highlight beyond the riding was seeing a rider like Tyler Fernengel talking to Dave Osato or seeing Dave Voelker talking and riding with everyone and being in the mix. You don’t normally see that kind of bond at a normal contest and was cool to see a huge amount of respect for the older guys that helped pave the way for some of the guys out there.
"Whatever you want to call Mike’s pool party, it was a breath of fresh air..."
- Brian Castillo
Once the live Facebook live feed meeting with everyone was done, the jam started with everyone taking turns in the pool. What was called a jam really wasn’t at all, since everyone there was friends it really felt like everyone was riding a backyard pool with zero obligation or care. With no talks of money, no bmx magazine photographers, no bmx online content editor (this happened by coincidence), the guys went absolutely nuts! I remember telling Mike once it was all said and done that I couldn’t believe how hard the guys rode from start to finish. They f-n murdered everything that pool had to offer and couldn’t imagine what else could be done there!
Whatever you want to call Mike’s pool party, it was a breath of fresh air from the usual contest/ jam and hopefully well see some more in the near future. If you’re lucky enough to get into the next “secret” jam Mike puts on you know you’re in for quite an adventure. - BC
"In the last 30 seconds of the Jam, Voelker dropped in and came barreling up the pool in a full crank. No one was sure what he was going to do cause he was hauling ass. In true Voelker fashion he cranked a huge Flip fakie on the jersey, something he had not done in years. At 49 years young he is still gnarlier then most people riding BMX."
- Mike Escamilla
"Once Rofftop gets a wild idea up his sleeve he goes full throttle and is all in 110%."
- Brian Castillo
Mike Escamilla's P.O.V.
"I put this Jam together in about 3 weeks. I had an idea for a live jam at a pool, with about 10 guys. Somewhere in the following few days and with Gopros help I realized I could rent an epic location. So I went to work, I wanted to do something that the riders would be stoked on. So I invited 10 guys with a link to a video of me in Belize at some pyramids asking them to save the date and that I had only scarce info for them and that I could not tell them where it was or who else was invited. The idea of keeping it a mystery I think really got the guys stoked because every single person agreed to come and some even flew across the country all with almost no info but a date.
I wanted to put together a crew of dudes I love to watch and love to ride with. No matter the decade they were from. So I first invited Dave Osato and Dave Freimuth. After that I invited a few of the current generation Dak, Tyler, Dennis and Greg Illingworth. Next I picked a few guys who have cemented themselves as legends Doyle, Van and Gary young. With only one slot left there was really only one person left I wanted to be on the deck with at this event, Dave Voelker. To me this crew rounded out so many generations over so many decades. And it made an event that more then just the youngest people in BMX would enjoy watching. All the riders didn’t get the address to the location till morning of and even though half the riders ultimately found out who else was invited, there was still half that people didn’t. Watching everyone’s face of excitement as people started showing up was awesome. Once everyone was there we shuttled up to the location and they all got to see the pool for the first time together.
I’m not going to lie, being there I felt like a kid again. Getting the butterflies every time someone dropped in. nobody knew what was coming, it was awesome and everyone went nuts. I didn’t reinvent the wheel with this jam/contest, but it did feel different, or maybe familiar to a past time in BMX when events were a little scary and unknown, and not plagued with practiced routines and the same runs that we see every contest these days. I think everyone was stoked, we rode for a couple hours then everything got torn down. Which made it a little more special I think. What’s was done was done. And will never be again. Leaving it all in the pool with smiles and a good time." - MIke Escamilla
"I wanted to put together a crew of dudes I love to watch and love to ride with. No matter the decade they were from."
- Mike Escamilla
"Doyle even said he got butterflies when Dave Osato got out of the car in the morning, where everyone saw each other for the first time."
"My personal highlight beyond the riding was seeing a rider like Tyler Fernengel talking to Dave Osato or seeing Dave Voelker talking and riding with everyone and being in the mix. You don’t normally see that kind of bond at a normal contest and was cool to see a huge amount of respect for the older guys that helped pave the way for some of the guys out there. "
- Brian Castillo
"I didn’t reinvent the wheel with this jam/contest, but it did feel different, or maybe familiar to a past time in BMX when events were a little scary and unknown and not plagued with practiced routines ..."
- Mike Escamilla
West Coast vagabond BMXer
In The Words Of the Common Crew