Mike “Rooftop” Escamilla has been a pro BMX rider for over 20 years traveling all over the world for competitions and shows. He has also delved into the stunt man business which has allowed him to appear in many films such as Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and Captain America: Winter Soldier.
He first attended the National Jamboree in 1989 at the age of eleven. Mike was the youngest kid to attend during that time because he turned twelve during the event. Now that he is back at Jamboree he can’t believe how big it is and how many activities are now available.
Young extreme-sports enthusiasts attending the National Jamboree got to sit down with Mike and learn a little bit about him and watch him perform some BMX tricks. Mike was joined on the course with Pat and Ryan, Jamboree Instructors, to show off a few skateboarding skills as well.
Scouts couldn’t get enough of the tricks that were performed. Watching a pro BMX rider at work was mesmerizing. The jumps, twists, and lands were thrilling to watch. Throughout the performance, the riders would take turns explaining what the others were doing. The audience ooo’d and awe’d.
Mike then requested for a few volunteers to help him with a stunt. He picked eleven of the multiple hands that shot in the air and the staff gave them all helmets. He broke the news that he would attempt to jump over all of them. The look on their faces! Mike lined them up on the ramp, joking about how he hoped he could make it. The air was heavy with anticipation as the boys readied themselves on the ground; some of them, squeezing their eyes shut. Mike asked everyone to cheer as he bolted down the far ramp and pedaled up the other side clearing all eleven boys with room to spare. The young volunteers jumped up and cheered, ecstatic that he made it.
Towards the end, Mike wanted to try a trick that was considered difficult. Because of the small space he had to work with and the fact that West Virginia’s humidity tends to make your hands wet and slip off the handle bars it would be hard to accomplish. Down the ramp, he went to give it a try. Missed. “Again!” he shouted and shot across the course… The bike went flying over the railing. That didn’t stop Mike. He tried again. Almost. He shouted, “One more time!” He once again wiped off his palms and put on his determination face. The Scouts held their breath as he finally did the jump and completed the trick perfectly.
He jumped off his bike, grabbed the megaphone and ended with this:
“If I could give any piece of advice to anyone that is listening, stop worrying about being good at something and start worrying about how to be good at something. If you can master how to get good at one thing, you can master how to get good at anything. Just know it takes time. The difference between you and somebody else is somebody is quiting at 500 tries when it takes 10,000. As long as you know that, you can go anywhere.”
After his show, he met with the Scouts, talking to them one-on-one, taking pictures, signing autographs. The looks of excitement and amazement in the boys’ eyes were touching. The words spoken by Mike Escamilla to never give up and to keep trying will resonate with these Scouts for the rest of Jamboree and for years to come.
Want to see the stunts performed? Check out the gallery below: