Heritage: Oakley’s BMX Roots Highlighted at Texas Toast Jam, Rider-Run Event Celebrates Core
Fact: There are always Frogskins at BMX events.
But at Odyssey’s Texas Toast Jam in Austin – despite the abundance of Oakley eyewear (of course) present on every other face, rider or fan – the most compelling stories can be found tucked away in the corners away from the modern dirt jumps, gnarly obstacles and vibrant street course.
Just off the main path on the venue grounds, a small, inconspicuous tent glows with rich history. Vintage racing bikes from yesteryear are displayed in all their storied glory. And there’s one symbol on hand, on more than one of the old bikes, that reflects not only the sport’s glorious past…but also the storied heritage of a Global Powerhouse brand. The Oakley Grip.
There simply is no better place to celebrate the brand’s roots in two-wheel sports than at an event so decidedly “core.”
There are no ESPN cameras at Texas Toast. In fact, they’re almost resoundingly unwelcome.
Oblivious (or just flat out clueless), power-tripping, generic security known so well at ‘major sporting events’ are pleasantly absent from the premises.
Young fans walk up to their BMX idols and heroes – and are greeted with smiles, fist bumps and real talk.
The street course – more reminiscent of the lumberyard warehouse that it really is (rather than a world-class venue) – is lined with graffiti and rider-built obstacles (along with a ramp sculpted like a face rocking a pair of Oakley Garage Rock eyewear). It’s hot. Air conditioning is non-existent.
The “Gauntlet of Death,” the contest’s infamous obstacle course with ridiculous challenges, is an insurance company’s nightmare. Ride at your own risk.
And scoreboards? What scoreboards? One may only figure out the event’s standings from the profanity-lined, super funny commentary provided by the official M.C.
Yet BMX’s most elite, most respected and most talented riders are present for these humble festivities – guaranteeing a mere $1,000 reward for the ultimate victory. “Glory,” as defined in today’s commercial world, will be found at another stop during the year (along with the fame and the TV Time).
But this weekend, the athletes (some of which are Oakley team rippers) come to the event for one thing – and one thing only: to have fun with the boys and just shred.
Immensely refreshing in this day in age, lined with overdone X Games-esque contests – the Texas Toast is reflective of the days of the current generation’s forefathers.
And those forefathers were there when a little startup company, called Oakley, was creating a new wave in grip design.
Those same forefathers fondly recall the days when that little grip company expanded into revolutionary sporting eyewear…eventually exploding throughout the decades into the massive juggernaut that it is today.
In essence, events like Texas Toast bring the history of BMX and Oakley full circle: to a rider-focused, core event where the past is celebrated and the discipline’s bright future is displayed with riders pushing the envelope in progression.
The Frogskins (created in the 1980’s) – and its modern takes (like the new Garage Rock eyewear) – can be seen on the young and the veteran alike. Oakley grips and vintage bikes are just steps from the gnarly obstacles and Oakley ‘ellipse’ logos of today.
With nostalgia and a fresh new generation exploding onto the scene – there can only be one common denominator at an event like Texas Toast…