MILWAUKEE, May 26, 2011 – Continuing its long-standing relationship with the U.S. Military, Harley-Davidson Motor Company today announced another chapter in its ongoing support of Bikes Over Baghdad (BOB), in which some of the biggest names in action sports perform high-adrenaline stunt shows for U.S. troops stationed overseas.
The upcoming BOB tour – the fourth for the passionate BMX stunt team, which includes riders, announcers and ramp builders – runs June 7-19 and will stop at several bases in Iraq and Kuwait. Although the drawdown has begun, there are still thousands of U.S. troops on active duty in Iraq. The team hopes to provide as many of them as possible with some excitement, entertainment and a few hours of escape from their daily responsibilities.
“What started as a small idea has grown into the most requested show they’ve ever had in Iraq, so I’m beyond excited to be able to go back for a fourth time,” said Christian Schauf, creator of Bikes Over Baghdad and program manager. “From the athletes going the extra mile day in and day out, to sponsors such as Harley-Davidson making the overall experience the best it can be, we’re all coming together to do something special and memorable to show gratitude to our troops.”
Word about Bikes Over Baghdad has spread like wildfire throughout the military bases in the Middle East, and demand for the shows is at an all-time high. Harley-Davidson helped present BOB3 in 2010 – and sent one of their own, Director of Core Customer Marketing Mike McCann, along for the ride – and also jumped in to support the team in performing in Qatar earlier this year.
This time around, George Petropoulos, Police & Fleet Sales Eastern Key Accounts Representative, will represent Harley-Davidson, travelling with the team and bringing gear and gifts from the Motor Company. Petropoulos is a Major in the U.S. Army Reserve assigned to Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC) at Marquette University in Milwaukee.
“I’m proud and thankful to be able to make the trip with the Bikes over Baghdad team,” said Petropoulos. “We know many of our servicemen and women are huge Harley-Davidson fans – and, of course, BMX fans – so being able to connect with my peers that are deployed and thank them for their service in this really personal way is an incredible feeling.”
Also, as an extension of this summer’s tour, Harley-Davidson will present Bikes Over Baghdad Stateside in August. The BOB team will perform their action-packed, high-energy stunt shows at the Craftsman Experience in Chicago August 6-7 and at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee August 20-21.
Each time the BOB team – for this tour made up of Chad Kagy, Jeremiah Smith, Mike Escamilla, Anthony Napolitan, Drew Bezanson, Zack Yankush, Mykel Larrin, Ron Kimler and Nate Wessel – travels overseas to perform stunt shows for the troops, they leave behind their daily lives and families, their professional BMX careers, and the comforts of home to show their deep sense of gratitude and appreciation for our service men and women.
“Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw, witnessed and felt during and after my first Bikes Over Baghdad shows,” said team member Mike “Rooftop” Escamilla. “Seeing thousands of men and women proud to stand up and do their duty – as well as so many gracious and kind responses to us coming over to entertain them – I’m forever indebted to our troops and honored to have shared those moments with them.”
In addition to the show itself, BOB includes a high level of interaction with the troops. Ramp builders invite soldiers to help them build, and the riders spend their days visiting the servicemen and women where they work and live, giving thousands of troops one-on-one time with the athletes and a connection to home.
Photos from previous tours can be found on Harley-Davidson’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/album.php?aid=253159&id=20060875764.
For more information about Harley-Davidson’s commitment to, and long-standing relationship with, the U.S. Military, please visit www.harley-davidson.com. Under the “Community” tab, click on “Military and Veteran Riders.”