August 23, 2011
By Kurt Alksne - Special to the Eagle
When festivities kicked off on Aug. 19, it had been a little over a year since Jeremy Moser of themovierad.com, Brenda Lieberman of the Calgary Underground Film Festival and I had initially discussed the idea of a 25th anniversary celebration for the BMX movie RAD.
In the months to follow, even though there seemed to be a positive vibe in the air, we were completely oblivious to how the event would actually be received.
The seats in the Uptown Theatre in Calgary rapidly filled, and the moment the word “RAD” appeared on the big screen the place erupted. I peered behind me to see a theatre jam-packed with RAD enthusiasts in standing ovation. It was at that moment we knew our efforts had culminated into a huge success.
On Aug. 20, the Cochrane BMX track and skate park was crawling with an overwhelming number of people for two separate competitions: an on-bike filming location tour through Cochrane, pedalled by nearly 200 followers of all ages, and a sold out evening screening at the Cochrane Movie House.
Bill Allen, who played main character Cru Jones in the film RAD, signs the jersey of Noah Maisonneuve of Cochrane BMX Aug. 20. Photo by Jeremy Broadfield.
The screening was followed by a question and answer session with director Hal Needham, writers Geoffrey Edwards and Sam Bernard, producer Robert Levy, actors Bill Allen and Jamie Clark and BMX riders Eddie Fiola and Martin Aparijo. Also in attendance were Kevin Hull, Jeff Ingram, Kirk Bihun, Pat Lipovski, Beatle Rosecrans, Everett Rosecrans, Jeremy and Matt Moser, who all rode in the film.
Other anniversary highlights included the VANS gang making the road trip from Southern California to serve waffles, hot dogs and hand out schwag.
The RAD documentary crew — also venturing from California — spent the weekend on location conducting interviews and collecting footage for an upcoming release.
The anniversary must also be seen as a huge success for the Town of Cochrane. Our community opened its arms to RAD celebrities and fans alike who travelled from throughout North America and as far away as Australia.
A special mention needs to be made to Aleksandar and Tonya Trbovic who travelled outside of their home country of Serbia for the first time to take part in the celebration.
Many of our guests made sure to comment on Cochrane’s aesthetic beauty and outright friendliness of our residents. The cast, crew and BMX riders from RAD who came to Cochrane and Calgary were an absolute pleasure to work with.
A BMX enthusiast at the Cochrane Skate Park Aug. 20 during the RAD anniversary festivities. Photo by Jeremy Broadfield
Every time I tried to thank one of them for being a part of this, the response was close to the same: “No. Thank you for putting this together and letting me be a part of it.”
It was a very emotional weekend and it is virtually impossible to express how extremely fulfilled I am with the successes of the festivities.
On behalf of our organizing group, I would like to extend our most sincere gratitude to those who provided continual support from beginning to end.
An event was created that, in the end, was way larger than any of us had ever dreamed. Without our sponsors, the cast and crew, volunteers and most importantly the fans, this would not have been possible. It was a pleasure and an absolute honour to bring this to our community and I hope to see everyone here when it is time to celebrate 30 years of RAD.