I can’t quite remember which Xtreme Games it was, I think it may have been 97 in San Diego, maybe 98?, but I was definitely doing the TM thing for Schwinn at the time taking care of Osato, Miron, Andrew Faris, Pat Miller etc…
It was BMX park finals & back then there was a rule in place that was coined “The DMC” rule, where if you had a bike malfunction or breakage within a certain period of time during your run, you got a two minute time-out to repair your bike, grab a spare or borrow someone else’s. After the two minutes, if ready, you could jump back in your run where you left off, they’d restart the clock & you could finish your run.
Ron Kimler was always a smart dude at comps, he used the course & his time well, didn’t risk any unnecessary moves. Definitely one of my faves! He was having a decent run on this occasion, staying smooth, being stylish & not repeating tricks. Not sure if it was his first or second run, but at some point early on in the run, Ron must’ve hung up or something & killed his rear wheel within the time out period. Knowing the rules, Ron immediately jumped up & gave the sign, like they do in football for a “time out”. I jumped right in there to repair his bike as I did back then & frantically started working on his bike to get it fixed. I was in the staging area right next to the park course behind a grind box. Ron was just catching his breath waiting for me to finish changing out a rear wheel. I was just concentrating with my head down, doing my thing, wrenching on his wheel, but heard some kind of commotion going on around me, some yelling & cursing. Apparently, Ron had clearly signaled a time out within the window of opportunity, but for some reason, whoever was keeping track of time wasn’t paying attention to the clock or didn’t stall the clock when Ron signaled. According to the timekeepers, it was past the time out period & they wouldn’t give Ron his remaining time to finish his run & told him his run was over. Again, I’m just there, doing my thing, frantically working on Ron’s bike, oblivious to what was going on around me in all honesty & just trying to fix Ron’s bike the best & fastest I could.
Now! Keep in mind, back then, X Games was scheduled & ran in a way that was live to TV, streaming straight to your living room without delay or anything. Commercial’s etc… were scheduled into the event, which really made for long delays between runs & an even longer day for the guys who had to ride. These days, it’s a little better & taped to go live, there’s a slight delay before it goes on TV to edit commercials into it etc & the event runs much faster for the riders & runs work much better.
So, back to the story. Apparently, Ron was told that his run was over & he couldn’t continue. At this point I’m almost done with his bike (within the two minutes window I might add), so. I stand up, flip Ron’s bike over & look to Ron who is standing on top of the grind box and I’m expecting him to grab his bike & finish his run. So Ron, obviously very frustrated because of a matter completely out of his control was swearing & yelling, & in the heat of the moment, unbuckled his belt, unbuttoned his pants & dropped-trou baring his ass, & other bodily “parts” in the direction of the judges tower for a couple of seconds, then turned his ass to his peers in the staging area (to the cheers of all), now. I’m not exactly sure what the cameras or the general public in the stands caught, but from my perspective, I personally saw more of Ron’s anatomy than I ever want to see again! I seriously got an eye full & am permanently scarred. Ha ha ha. Needless to say, there was a LOT of folks that were not to thrilled with this public display of nudity. Security swooped in immediately, grabbed Ron by the arm, pulled him down vigorously off the grind box & escorted him (while he tried to pull his pants back up) off of the park course & straight to a security hut.
… The contest continued, so I had to hang out to help the rest of the team.
After everything was done, the comp was over & everyone headed back to the hotel. Being the Team babysitter that I am, I stayed back talking with event organizers & security so as to not have Ron turned over to the cops. In all honesty, it was a public display of nudity that possibly, maybe a few million people could’ve seen on TV. This might “fly” in Europe, but definitely doesn’t in the US of A!! They could’ve easily had him prosecuted if they really wanted to. We eventually talked our way out of it. I know Ron was seriously sweating it & I was worried about having to explain this to the head honcho’s at Schwinn, they definitely wouldn’t be stoked, but. Now, ESPN wanted to ban Ron forever from competing in another one their contests, which obviously sucked. #1. It wasn’t Ron’s fault to start with. #2. Schwinn would be pissed & potentially drop him.
After a couple of days of sweating it & back & forth phone calls, Ron & I had the opportunity to sit down with ESPN’s director of Sports to discuss the situation & explain Ron’s side of the story, explaining that none of this would have ever happened if the time keeper had been paying attention & done his job, blah blah blah. ESPN’s side of this was that athletes should remain professional at all times, regardless of situations & have a meeting with event organizers after the fact (which does nothing for Ron as far as his run that he didn’t finish goes) … But oh-how-little do “suits” know about BMXer’s. Ha ha ha. All was forgiven eventually, I think ESPN & the organizer’s realized they need to regroup & figure out why this happened initially. Ron had to write a formal apology or something, but I’m not sure what that accomplished really?
Ron went on to kill future contests & move up a good few notches in credibility in a lot of people’s eyes after this X Games “stunt”.
- John Povah