When I was just a sixth-grader and walking home from school for one of the first times on my own, I happened to pass a bicycle that was out for garbage collection. As I walked past it I saw a modified frame, an engine, and all kinds of cool “gears and mechanisms” I had not seen before. As the super geek I was, I took the beat up and rusty framed “mini-bike” or “motorized-bike” and brought it to my garage where I started with my father’s help, some elbow grease, and a bit of Noxon, and started to polish up the frame. When the frame was all polished it looked pretty cool actually. A few cans of spray paint later the frame looked brand new.
I knew nothing about engines but the local lawn mower shop did. They also sold motorcycles and other hand crafted motorbikes and they knew exactly what parts I would need to get the thing running. I mean it looked like someone had glued on some parts to a welded and stretched out bike frame with a throttle on the handle bars and of course no brakes.
Once I figured out how to put the thing together my father helped me tune the engine and we took her to the Nassau County Coliseum parking lot and with a few pushes she kicked over and I was off. Not just putting around but by the time it hit about 45 both my father and I knew that this thing was going to vibrate to pieces, so I road her in circles until she putted out of gas and I coasted to a stop.
That was it, I was completely hooked. I mean as they say in the movies I had the need for speed! And with that, I polisher her up again, and this became a weekly ritual. Well weekly until the engine blew up and caught fire and the entire thing melted into one glob. Dad decided we would just leave her to burn and we got out of there.
I was devastated but dad had a plan, we would get a motorcycle from the lawnmower shop and I would be back in business. Only this new motorcycle was much different, as it was a real motorcycle that they called a Rupp mini motorcycle. This baby had wings and what was 35-40 mph quickly became 45-55mph with the ability to pop wheelies and jump, jump just about anything.
About a year later I had turned my parent’s garage into a mechanics shop and I had half a dozen minibikes under construction and was selling and racing them with the neighborhood “rebels” yes those of us who were allowed to ride them, did. I was bulling them for everyone and we were racing them through the streets to our girlfriend’s houses and generally felt like we had our own private motorcycles for transportation.
When off-road we would have raced up and down Wantagh parkway where the foot trails lent themselves to racing. At times we would have half a dozen bikes going at once. Of course with the fastest one, I would often win, but that also meant that I would have to take the highest risks around the curves, through the ramps and natural jumps, and risk my life. But when you are just a young teenager you don’t even know that you are risking your life. A few broken bones later and I knew what the risk was, pain, broken bones, and even your life if you landed the wrong way.
That’s why when I heard that Kershel Anthony was a former champion motocross racer/jumper extreme athlete I became curious as to just how dangerous his life long sport was. I know that Kershel is a world-class dancer, mc, and entertainer, I just had no idea he was a daredevil “Evil Kenevial” style athlete.
So Kershel and I set up a shoot and a few weeks later we are out at the 10th street motocross track with kershel jumping thirty feet up and who knows a hundred feet long, something ridiculous where the motorcycle he was mastering was flying above my head by a few feet and I was shooting as he whizzed by me. I mean this was incredible he was flying his motorcycle only a few feet from my head at who knows fifty mph and doing tricks.
In a way it brought me back to my youth as there as a young kid there couldn’t have been a 10-year old that was jumping as well on his mini, It was endearing, but still, how could Kershel be jumping like this? Well as it turns out Kershel amongst his many other talents is a daredevil who engages in high-risk jumping. Well maybe for the rest of us mortals we consider it high-risk behavior but with Kershel it’s just another day pushing his body and his talents in a different direction.
Kershel is a model citizen who even during the coronavirus has put his philanthropic efforts to great use. Recently even with all of the risk of covid Kershel once again engaged in high-risk behavior, he booked Adventureland for homeless children who wanted to dance on stage. Kershel’s Swag Foundation hosted the event and the performances were great. Kershel had entrained all that attended (Coronavirus safe but like all events limited to attendee’s) and gave those children their dream.
High-risk behavior sometimes means jumping motorcycles hundreds of feet in the air racing by your photographer’s head, knowing that you are both putting your life at risk, and sometimes it means putting yourself out there for the sake of a cause bigger than yourself. Was very proud of our model citizen Kershel Anthony and as always commend him for his efforts and for taking on High-Risk Behaviors that only true entrepreneurs and philanthropists alike would take on.