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TODAY news for Thursday, February 23, 2006

Loma Linda University Children's Hospital news

Big Air Kids Fair visits kids at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital

Ronnie Renner doing an all-out handstand midair
Ronnie Renner pulls an all-out handstand midair as he flies across the 76-foot gap between ramps to the absolute delight of the patients watching below.
On Wednesday, February 1, a select trio of high-profile riders from the AMA Supercross Series performed big air tricks to brighten the day of children at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital. Beginning at 1:00 p.m. in front of Children’s Hospital,  Steve Bauer, co-founder of Wonder Warthog Racing, brought Jeff Emig, Nathan Ramsey, Mike Alessi, Andrew Short, and demonstration riders Jeff Tilton, Ronnie Renner, and Tom Clowers. This is the fourth year the AMA Supercross has visited Children’s Hospital. This time marked the second demo of a full-throttle show for the patients.

Supercross announcer Erin Bell and Mr. Emig gave a running commentary on the tricks performed by riders Jeff “Full Tilt” Tilton, Tommy “Tom Cat” Clowers, and Ronnie Renner as they launched themselves and their bikes across 76 feet of the driveway in front of Children’s Hospital to a sea of applause from the staff and patients gathered outside to watch the gravity-defying performance.

Patients were able to come out to watch the riders’ airborne antics, with many watching from the windows of their rooms above. Patients on the second floor dialysis unit got a thrill when they first saw Jeff Tilton f
Michael York and Freestyle motocross riders and Supercross announcer.
Michael York (center) celebrated his 17th birthday with a special visit from Freestyle motocross riders Tommy Clowers and Jeff Tilton as well as Supercross announcer Erin Bell and former Supercross champion Jeff Emig.
ly across just outside their windows. They couldn’t see the ramps, so the riders appeared to come from nowhere and the kids loved it as they zoomed across the gap between two Red Bull freestyle ramps. These top freestyle motocross (FMX) riders performed mind-boggling, in-the-air tricks that have made FMX the highlight event at each X Games.

Mr. Tilton is known for throwing a gnarly trick called a “whip,” in which the motorcycle is completely flat and sideways while flying in the air. Mr. Renner hit a perfect handstand on his bike as he laid it out vertical on one of his trips through the air.

Besides awing patients with their riding skills, the riders brought boxes full of giveaways for the children from several leaders in the motorcycle industry, such as NoFear, Smooth Ind, AlpineStars, and others.

But the highlight of the event for the riders and kids came after the show, when the entire group went up to the units to visit the patients in person. Signing hats and handing out shirts, the riders brought smiles and excitement to the patients at Children’s Hospital, helping them forget their troubles for a time and enjoy the extra attention.

By Preston Clarke Smith
Elizabeth Gomez, Supercross announcer, and freestyle riders
Four-year-old Elizabeth Gomez gets her picture taken with Supercross announcer Erin Bell (left) and freestyle riders Jeff Tilton and Tommy Clowers (far right).
Serena Lucas, freestyle rider, and Supercross rider
Serena Lucas, 4, tries on a hat given to her by freestyle rider Ronnie Renner (right) and Supercross 17-year-old sensation Mike Alessi.

TODAY news for Thursday, February 23, 2006