ATV Riders in Michigan

Moving back to Michigan this year hasn’t always been easy. Without boring you with specifics, I’ll just say that the stark reality of the economy has made itself apparent in a variety of ways. But making this video has reminded me of one of the main reasons I moved back: The unassuming generosity of Michigan’s people.

I’d like to thank these specific Michiganders who made this video possible:

The Riders. I am still blown away by the generosity of Kristie, Sam, Kendall, and the two Scotts (all from Charlotte, MI). They had never met me or John, my camera guy (more on him in a moment), when we showed up to the Leota Trail on a Saturday morning. After I explained our intentions, they drove us out to two practice trails and let us shoot footage for more than an hour. All the moving shots were taken from the back of Kristie’s ATV (which she eventually let me test drive!). I’ll forever be grateful for their willingness to give up precious time from their weekend getaway to help two strangers shoot a video.

Michigan’s ATV Community.  In the week leading up to shooting this video, I spent hours on the phone with several leaders of Michigan’s ATV community.  Though none were able to ride on less than a week’s notice, they all offered tons of helpful information.  Special thanks to Tim Thurman (president of the ATV Offroad Club of Michigan) who invited me to go out riding the following week (though I couldn’t) and provided tons of insight on the changing landscape of ATV laws (before the WSJ covered the exact topic later that week).  Also thanks to Larry Reynolds of Lansing’s Dirt Mafia, who assured me I would find riders on the Leota Trail on a Saturday morning.  

Chris Bathgate. I spent countless hours listening to hundreds of songs by Michigan artists* before I came across Chris’s “A Flash of Light Followed By.” I was originally looking for something shoegaze-y, but when I heard the simple guitar line at the beginning of “Flash,” it struck me as strangely perfect. The distortion and horn filled climax at the end convinced me it was the song. I’ve never met Chris, but I emailed him to ask if I could use the song in the video (explaining that I didn’t have a budget to pay him). He quickly replied with permission and thanked me for asking. I can’t imagine this video without the song. I encourage you to buy it yourself if you like it.

John McCarthy.  Calling John my “camera guy” is grossly understating his role in all of this.  He is the director, camera operator, editor, and sound engineer.  Simply put, he is THE MAN.  But aside from his skills as a filmmaker, I am most thankful for his willingness to join me in each adventure I think up, no matter how random.  I can’t think of anyone else who would be willing to ride three hours north in search of ATV riders without knowing who or what we’d find.  Or drive to downtown Ann Arbor on two separate occasions in search of a street performer. Or downtown Ypsi in search of the origins of Superman Ice Cream.  I’m really proud of this video and I know it wouldn’t be nearly as spontaneous and organic without John’s willingness to fly by the seat of his pants with me.

* There was so much more great music than I could’ve ever imagined.  Stay tuned for a post with a playlist of my favorite Michigan bands.

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5 Responses to “ATV Riders in Michigan”

  1. Overrated: mittens and blogs
    Under-appreciated: the mitten blog

  2. Beautiful! I loved this.

  3. i know those hillbillies lol

  4. Great work John!

  5. Thats my sexy hillbilly (scott wireman)!

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