Article and photos by Todd Stewart
The children, patients and families at the Loma Linda University Children's Hospital had a great reason to muster the strength and energy to go outside the walls of the hospital today. The 11th annual Big Air Kids Fair rolled in front of the hospital to put on a freestyle motocross show for the kids and patients. Since 2003, FMX riders have been coming to Loma Linda to perform in front of the kids and Steve Bauer, former pro racer, whom has help organize the event from the beginning says “It’s real rewarding and great to give back to the community...[and] hopefully they can make it happen for another 11 years."
Freestyle motocross rider Jimmy Fitzpatrick brought out his new Fitz Army mobile ramp and landing to put on a jump show and Nitro Circus' own Andy Bell was on hand to announce. The Fitz Army sure brought out smiles and cheers from hundreds of spectators watching Jimmy Fitzpatrick, Kenny Bell and Scotty Stephens do trick after trick.
While the Fitz Army put on the FMX jump demo, the motocross and Supercross industry was represented by Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider Blake Baggett, GEICO Honda's Wil Hahn and Justin Bogle, Ricky James, and woman's motocross racer Sara Price. Baggett gave away a signed jersey and all the other riders took time to sign autographs and take pictures with patients, their families and any other fan that came out to participate for the great cause.
Sadly, many of the patients due to their extreme illness are unable to leave their hospital rooms for months at a time; others made great progress the week prior and were wheeled outside to watch the demo first-hand. Fortunately this year for the first time Loma Linda University Children's Hospital was able to have live video stream of the FMX demo to every room in the hospital, so no matter what everyone could partake in the fun.
After every poster was signed and every picture taken with all the riders, the whole crew went inside the hospital to give out MX industry swag to every kid, family member and even the medical staff. There were 6 massive wheeled carts filled to the top of gifts, shirts, hats, Smooth Industries and Tonka toys for the kids. Unfortunately, there have been changes implemented that prohibit any and all photos taken inside the hospital and in rooms with patients. Attempts were made, but they just wouldn't allow it.
All in all it was a great event with a huge turnout. Kids were smiling and cheering for the Freestyle riders and all the kids were able to hang out with motocross and freestyle stars. Although many of the patients are very sick, it’s well worth it to bring some cheer and happiness to their lives.