The Red Bull Back 40

Redbull Backyard

Dear Red Bull, 

First, let me just say I love your product. And I’m not just kissing your ass here. Those little 8-ounce cans of go-juice have been fueling my half-baked ideas for more than a decade. Love it. Never change a thing.

Second, you totally need to sponsor my backyard.

I know what you’re thinking: “Strange little man, we sponsor athletes, not quarter-acre suburban lots full of scrub brush and questionable drainage slopes.”

It’s a valid point, and I’m glad you brought it up. You’re absolutely right. To my knowledge, Red Bull has never sponsored a backyard before. You’re not a landscaping company, after all. But this is no ordinary backyard. This is an oasis of adventure. A testing ground where the rules of gravity and limits of lactic acid are constantly questioned. This is where the envelope is pushed, baby.

Granted, at a mere .23 acres, the footprint is compact, but the yard lives large. Where other suburban dads have quaint fire pits, I have a towering inferno in the middle of a 20-foot gap jump. Instead of a shed full of lawnmowers and edgers, you’ll find a winch-cat for grooming the winter freestyle park.  Are you starting to comprehend the gravity of my backyard? Take a little bit of Mount Hood, a bit of British Columbia singletrack, a smidge of Yosemite granite…shrink it down to less than an acre, and you’ll begin to understand what I’m talking about.

Of course, most of The Red Bull Back 40 is still in the development stage. (Notice I’ve already given you title sponsorship as an act of good faith.) I’m currently in the midst of phase one–building a 30-foot high climbing wall up the side of my back deck that has begun to put a serious strain on my bank account.

And the wall is just the tip of the iceberg. Here’s what’s in the pipeline for The Red Bull Back 40:

Half Dome: The aforementioned 30-foot high climbing wall with 2,000-square feet climbing surface that moves from slab (for the kids) to vertical to overhang to straight up roof.

The Free Fall: A 90-foot zipline with a drop that would never pass any sort of safety code.

Jump-a-Looza: A dirt jump park complete with a foam pit (for practicing back flips) and fire pit gap jump (for impressing the neighbors). In the winter, snowblowers will be installed to turn this mountain bike jump park into a freestyle ski and snowboard park.

Little Pisgah: A half-mile of burly singletrack laden with rocks and log drops. Keep in mind the minimal real estate available to me, so the singletrack can be a bit intestinal at times.

Slack-vill: A 30-foot Slackline that can be strung over the foam pit or the fire pit, depending on your mood.

The Red Bull Tiki Bar: An understated point of relaxation/recharging with thatch roof, handmade bamboo bar, and mini fridge stocked with Red Bull and Grey Goose vodka. And a hot tub. Because what’s a tiki bar without a hot tub?

Total cost to you: $200,042. For an extra $62,000, we can install a mini-lift system that will take bikers and zip-liners back to the top of my yard. It’s a luxury item, I know, but it adds a bit of cache, don’t you think?

Obviously, I can’t foot that sort of bill on my own. I’m a writer in the outdoor industry. I get paid in backpacks and wicking t-shirts. Many people would look at this exorbitant price tag and give up on their paper-napkin sketches and pipe dreams of a backyard glory. But I’m not most people. I’m a firm believer that when God closes a door, he opens a window, and it’s up to me to jump through that window without thinking twice and pray to that window-opening God that there’s something relatively soft on the other side to break my fall. Red Bull, I want you to jump through that window with me. I’m hoping your cash will break our fall.

Ask yourself, aren’t you tired of sponsoring rally-car driving success stories and overly-tattooed skate boarders? Earth to corporate suits: we’re tired of seeing people summit Mount Everest and surf massive swells. Defying gravity by BASE Jumping with a Wingsuit is so last year. What’s really inspiring is real athletes (or in my case, really bad athletes) taking a chance with their marriage and homeowners association by installing state of the art training facilities in their tiny-assed backyards. That’s extreme. That’s Red Bull.

You’re probably wondering what sort of exposure you’d get by sponsoring some dude’s privately owned adventure park that’s tucked safely behind a 12-foot-high privacy fence. Another great question, and I’m glad you asked it. I don’t like to toot my own horn, but I’m a popular guy. I literally have dozens of people randomly drop by my house on an annual basis. And the demographic base is astonishingly wide. Mormon kids looking to chat. Dad-neighbors needing to borrow tools. Our babysitter. The list goes on. Each of these people knows dozens of other people. And each of those people knows dozens of people…you can see how quickly the word of mouth buzz will build once solid foot traffic is established. My babysitter alone has like, 200 Facebook friends.

Now, to sweeten the deal, I’m also willing to open The Red Bull Back 40 to all sponsored Red Bull athletes as a training ground and Red Bull “hotspot” if they’re ever in the Historic Montford neighborhood and in need of an uber-caffeinated beverage and quick romp through the jump park. Think of it as a safe-house of sorts. We have a guest bedroom in the basement that your athletes are welcome to use in exchange for babysitting hours as well.

The ball’s in your court, Red Bull. I look forward to our future partnership.


Graham Averill

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