Daring to dream the Xtreme (POSITIVE YOUTH)THE HIGH ROLLERZ (from left) Jomo Ifill, Cromally Holder, Astar Reece, Rommell Codrington, Ryan Forde and André Ashby.
By Carlos Atwell | Sun, September 09, 2012 - 12:02 AM
TRECIA GIBSON is a young woman determined to see Barbados become famous as a destination for extreme sports.
The 22-year-old personal trainer is the founder of Xtreme OMG Productions, a group dedicated to the promotion of extreme and even cold climate sports such as skiing and snowboarding.
Gibson said such projects were not as far-fetched as one might think.
“That’s a small issue; all we need is the funding to get it done,” she declared.
“We would be the only Caribbean island housing extreme and cold climate sports. It will bring in tourism, money and opportunities to Barbados. They are not just a white man’s sport.”
She said in the pursuit of its goals the group was looking to purchase land.
Gibson is setting her sights on hosting an extreme sports camp called Project Camp Barbados, which she said would feature a range of activities.
“It will be a three-month-long camp starting in July, 2013 with paintball at Paragon base. In July, we will do boards, bikes and skates. We also want to do things like jet skiing, wakeboarding, windsurfing and martial arts,” she said.
Gibson spoke to the SUNDAY SUN at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex where she was supervising a group of young stunt cyclists called the High Rollerz, the first group signed up under Xtreme OMG.
A former martial artist, Gibson said she was forced to give up her ambitions as she was unable to secure adequate sponsorship, something she was determined was not going to happen to other young dreamers as long as she could help it.
She said Xtreme OMG was “dabbling around for a while”, dealing mainly with martial arts but officially launched this year at Animekon.
“We want to get youth off the streets and into something productive [but] we’ve got
to prove ourselves now, so we have to get endorsement deals,” she said, adding that the group had already secured sponsorship from Mojo Futuretech, a British-based company that provides “innovative products to active people”.
Mojo Futuretech’s representative, international martial arts champion Joe Hallett, was among the group.
“I do freestyle kickboxing and martial arts tricks, which is basically the gymnastic side [of it]. Trecia contacted me about Project Camp Barbados and I am really interested in coming on board and bringing that kind of martial arts into Barbados,” he said.
No stranger to Barbados, Hallett said both he and Mojo Futuretech were keen on backing the talented High Rollerz.
The High Rollerz group is made up of six young men: Rommell Codrington, 22; Cromally Holder, 21; Ryan Forde, 21; Jomo Ifill, 19; Astar Reece, 18; and André Ashby, 17.
They all share a love of stunt riding but never had a way to truly show off or hone their skills. Codrington said this changed one day when they were suddenly approached by Gibson.
“It was just a couple of us riding together, so we started a little group. We were in Carter’s [Wildey, St Michael general store] one day when Trecia approached us and said she wanted to promote extreme sports,” he said.
Codrington said they were a bit sceptical at first but Gibson gradually began to get them to change their minds.
The next step was putting ads in the media to get people to join the High Rollerz but only a few people came.
“The rest of the riders in Barbados were not taking us seriously but now they want to come but it’s too late to join the High Rollerz,” he said.
Ashby said he used to watch a man named Stefano stunt ride and that inspired him. Afterwards, he said, he met Reece who introduced him to the High Rollerz.
“I just want to ride hard and keep away from drugs. I hope to travel one day and ride overseas,” he said, adding the members of the group were like a family.
Gibson said the group had been invited to Trinidad this year. However, they are still in need of sponsorship.
“We don’t need money after we make it; we need it now,” he said. “It’s a worthy cause. These guys are really good. What they are doing on flat land – they don’t have ramps or nothing – the international guys are doing in parks, so it’s much harder for them.
“These are $4 000 bikes, not $200 or $300, but when the bikes get smashed up, they (owners) got to wait on mummy and daddy, so if they don’t have that sponsorship . . .” she said.
Gibson said they were training the men to compete in the X Games (the Olympics of extreme sports) as they had the required skills and talent.
“I don’t want them stuck in Barbados. We’ve been working for a few weeks now; so far Mojo is willing to help the guys out and if we go to Trinidad we can get some stuff going on because the guys are passionate about it . . .,” she said.
Gibson said she realized she faced an uphill battle but she was not backing down.
“Government says they supporting sports, youth and culture but when you go to them for help they are looking at you and saying, ‘Oh well, we don’t know anything about this,’ but yet they will pump their money . . . [into] cricket, football, volleyball and everything else shoved under the carpet,” she complained.
“Tourism is struggling, sport is struggling. . . . We can make things happen, we just need the help . . . and the camp will be awesome!” she said.
• Positive Youth is a series highlighting the efforts of some of the youth in our nation who are engaging in positive pursuits. If you know of any such people, please contact Natasha Beckles at 430-5459 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or Bryan Walker at 430-5492 or email@example.com
- Editor's Choice