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23 May 2023

Darty in the Ditch 2 - Catching up with Brett Silva

Austin comes together to ride and remember...

Burnslow logo bsd Odyssey Sunday Empire

Photos and words by: Wes McGrath & Will Chappell

Austin, Texas has always been home to a wholesome BMX community, and throughout the years the scene has only become more refined and more connected. This city has birthed legendary names and companies that are still pushing BMX today, keeping generations motivated in various efforts. Bike shops, bike companies and especially the bike riders themselves keep communities strong.

Certain people always step up and take the initiative to generate something special and give back, this time it's Brett Silva. The man behind my personal favorite tabletop variations, and the master mind behind DARTY in the DITCH. Brett has organized a strong handful of friends and riders to make this 2nd annual Darty Jam materialize. I was fortunate enough to get into the ditch myself that day and partake in the greatness that is Austin BMX. Brett and I dig a little deeper into what made this jam one to remember... In the name of Brett Wickersham, BRETT 4 LIFE!


Brett Silva's DARTY IN THE DITCH 2

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Logan Penberg hauls ass from across the ditch to tackle this 35ft long up-rail, which consisted of multiple separate slide pipes and cranked out this buttery smooth 180 whip! Check the video for more Logan up-rail madness! - Wes McGrath

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Brett Silva adjusting and stabilizing the Empire grind box which went across the dirt jump. This thing was perfectly sketchy and it held up without hassle as the jam began to heat up on this set-up! - Wes McGrath

What the heck is a Darty?


Express this past Darty in 5 words… Go!


Since this is Darty number 2, how did Darty number 1 come about in the first place?

I had talked about throwing a jam for a while with Adam Roye aka (Burn Slow) and it just kinda happened. I was filming something and I noticed a bunch of dirt in the bottom of the ditch and had a vision of a dirt jump there and that's kinda what sparked the idea.

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Brett takes a few minutes away from running around doing all the things to give us all a little of that Brett juice! - Wes McGrath

"There’s too many homies to name but they know who they are and I really appreciate everyone’s help."

Brett Silva

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Darty was such a success! Friends and family hung out all day to just enjoy the day, the entertainment was free and the energy was high. Matt Nordstrom low-key kickin' it! - Will Chappell

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I know the 'half-cab" topic has created some discrepancies in recent years but I wonder how they'd feel about this, "blunt grind"?!?

Is this jam fully your brainchild, or did you have other input?

It was my idea but I ran my ideas by all the dudes and we talked about the best ways to approach it.

Who had your back on making this event happen?

Burn Slow and Empire funded it and helped with a bunch of other stuff. Sunday, Odyssey, BSD, DIG, and Rambler sponsored it. Free Lunch (the company I work for) also helped out and let me take some time off. Rattlesnake Milk even came all the way out to the ditch to play some live music for everyone! Pretty much all the people I hang with in Austin came to lend hands. There’s to many homies to name but they know who they are and I really appreciate everyone’s help.

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Bailey Koenigs brought his fufanu game to the big wall, David brought the gold helmet for moral support. - Will Chappell

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Emores Petty popped up out of nowhere to grace the jam with this hanger. What you don’t see is the steep bank into the river he’d have to deal with if he hung it a little too far. - Will Chappell

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Grant Yoobie doing what he does best; big 360’s. - Will Chappell

It's definitely not an easy trek getting out there, what was the hardest part of getting materials to the ditch?

Yes! It was a total pain in the butt! lol It’s hot and there’s poison ivy all over the place. The hardest part would just be walking back and forth with stuff. We would ratchet strap a bunch of wood or tools to a gorilla cart and just walk slowly into the woods. The worst part for me would be when I got everything from my car onto the cart and I would take my first few steps and be like alright I’ll be there in 20 minutes...

How long was the rail of death and how many separate grind rails did you link together?

It was three rails! Two ten foot slide pipes and one 15ish foot custom rail Aaron Ross’s dad built. Maybe around 35 feet!?

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Jeremiha Miller blew us all away when he made it to the bottom of this huge rail that was everything but straight! - Will Chappell

"Everyone in the BMX community is so tight so it feels really special when we can all be in the same place at the same time!"

Brett Silva

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Brett and Jerimiha celebrate after his tire ride. It wasn’t quick, it wasn’t easy but it definitely was a banger. - Will Chappell

How long did it take you to buildout the ditch for the jam?

The first jam took months and it was hard. If you don’t know the location very well, it’s basically a mile walk from where you have to park. Half of that is a concrete path and the other half is just dirt. The first thing we built was a concrete quarter 4ft tall by 8ft wide and it was hell. It took sooo many rocks and bags of concrete to finish. We must have walked up and down that path rolling concrete bags in a cart like 20 times. After that we were like let’s just use wood. This year was much easier we didn’t have to build as much. The dirt landing just needed some touching up, we made a new BOOTER for that and brought down a few more rails and added a flat deck/resurfaced some existing banks. Oh ya and the wall-ride behind the concrete quarter. We also decided to just drive into the ditch most days when we had a bunch of stuff instead of walk or ride. It was kinda sketch but nobody said anything.

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Devon Lampman leading one a many trains that ran over the flaming double! Good thing for Devon, at his height the flames weren't an issue. But I couldn't say the same for everyone! - Wes McGrath

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Grant Yoobie with a nose manual across the grind box! Wobbly and awkward the hop on hop off felt different every time, that all just adds to the fun. - Wes McGrath

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I've seen a lot this wild child Ethan Dorer in action before but there wasn't anything more entertaining than watching him attempt and then land this one-handed manual across the Empire box! - Wes McGrath

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Eli Kravetz won the overall rider prize for the jam, and it was pretty clear why. 180 barspin to fakie tires to half cab barspin.-Will Chappell

"I’d like to thank everyone in the BMX scene in Austin and everyone associated with it. Y’all are the reason we DARTY."

Brett Silva

A ditch is a ditch and ditches are meant for rain… Austin has seen A LOT of rain lately, did that affect the building process?

Heck ya it did there was many days we went down there just to dig out little drainage systems and push broom a foot of water out. It was pretty fun tho honestly. Just some grown dudes playing in the mud.

Why do you feel it is important to organize these types of events?

I just think it’s important everyone gets together and has a good time. Everyone in the BMX community is so tight so it feels really special when we can all be in the same place at the same time!

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Grant Yoobie from BSD holds down the dice game as they day grew more intoxicated. Wagers on the table consisted of snacks, tubes, maybe some money and a whole lot of attitude! - Wes McGrath

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The peanut gallery at its finest. - Will Chappell

Do you plan on a Darty 3?

For sure. Possibly a different location? Who knows.. but we will do something cool.

I know this jam was in honor and to the remembrance of Brett Wickersham, a local BMX rider who recently passed away. Could you give us a little insight on who Brett was as a person?

Brett was an amazing dude. Extremely talented on the bike and just a super cool dude all around. I wasn’t extremely close with him but every experience I had with him was great. When I would see him at the park I would say “sup Brett” and he would say “sup Brett”. It was funny. I’m going to miss that.

Any extra thanks to the people out there?

I’d like to thank everyone in the BMX scene in Austin and everyone associated with it. Y’all are the reason we DARTY.

Darty & Brett Silva supported by OFFICIAL DIG partners: Burn Slow, Odyssey BMX & Sunday Bikes