Words by Cam McCaul | Photography by Ian Collins

bigquotesGoing from being a competitor in the event to now standing at the bottom of the course staring at a monitor with my back toward the mountain, brings with it a whole different perspective.

Showing up to Red Bull Rampage is quite a bit different for me these days compared to how it was a few years back. Now that I’ve traded my competitor’s number plate for a funny looking little microphone, my goals are no longer geared toward finding a way to stand out in front of the judges, but instead, the focus is on how we can all work together to help this event be a stand-out in the world of action sports.

Cam McCaul Red Bull Rampage 2016
Cam McCaul Red Bull Rampage 2016
Cam McCaul Red Bull Rampage 2016
Cam McCaul Red Bull Rampage 2016
Cam McCaul Red Bull Rampage 2016

This year’s Rampage was the 11th edition - and possibly the most important. Just as the Southern Utah desert has endured thousands of years of harsh weather patterns to eventually become what it is today, this event has done the same. 2016 saw a new venue, new format, and new judging panel, but the same old grit, tenacity, and enthusiasm that have made Red Bull Rampage one of the most eye-catching flares that mountain biking has shot into the outside world.

bigquotesKnowing how intense and stressful this event can be as an athlete or digger, there is a big sense of responsibility to convey the story effectively to both the core mountain bike audience, and the non-endemic audiences alike.

Cam McCaul Red Bull Rampage 2016
Cam McCaul Red Bull Rampage 2016
Cam McCaul Red Bull Rampage 2016
Cam McCaul Red Bull Rampage 2016
Cam McCaul Red Bull Rampage 2016
Cam McCaul Red Bull Rampage 2016
Cam McCaul Red Bull Rampage 2016

Knowing how intense and stressful this event can be as an athlete or digger, there is a big sense of responsibility to convey the story effectively to both the core mountain bike audience, and the non-endemic audiences alike. I’ve found myself in this interesting position of holding that funny little microphone, so to solely focus on the “daredevil” or “nut job” angle and ignore the intricacies would be a waste of this opportunity.

bigquotesI cross my fingers for some of my best friends and my little brother too. Not only accomplish their goals, but make it out of this thing in one piece.

Cam McCaul Red Bull Rampage 2016

Going from being a competitor in the event to now standing at the bottom of the course staring at a monitor with my back toward the mountain, brings with it a whole different perspective. As a competitor, I feel like you do whatever you can to shrink the magnitude of the situation in your head so you can just focus on the next 20 foot long section of 3 foot wide trail ahead of you while ignoring the 100’ vertical of exposure on either side. You’re not thinking, “wow there’s like a million people watching me ride my bike right now,” or “if I stomp this, it could be the biggest moment of my bike riding career,” or “look Ma, I’m on NBC!” No, you’re thinking, “is that lip still packed? Do I have the right speed right now? Is that flag in my peripheral waving? Are my alignment rocks still in place?" and "should I really try to flip that?” As an outsider, standing at the bottom of the course with my funny little headset, I feel this overwhelming sense of respect and reverence for these guys. During the runs, I stick my face right down in front of my monitor like an Ostrich with his head in the sand, half feeling a sense of edge-of-my-seat excitement and half pins-and-needles-gotta-scream anticipation. I cross my fingers for some of my best friends and my little brother to, not only accomplish their goals, but make it out of this thing in one piece.

Cue up the Garth Brook’s song; 'Rodeo,' and he might as well be singing about Rampage. Two big differences though; these guys aren’t just hopping on a random bull and hoping for the best, and unlike the rodeo, there’s only one Rampage a year. The amount of careful calculation that goes into finding, building, testing, and stomping a line on command is a process that’s hard to describe.

bigquotesThese are things that any human with their own challenges can relate to; putting Rampage in the unique position to not only drop jaws, but inspire.

Cam McCaul Red Bull Rampage 2016
Cam McCaul Red Bull Rampage 2016
Cam McCaul Red Bull Rampage 2016

Goal setting, fear management, teamwork, and eventually the art of execution under pressure are all elements of this event that give it the ability to transcend the typical demographic barriers that exist for an action sports broadcast. These are things that any human with their own challenges can relate to; putting Rampage in the unique position to not only drop jaws, but inspire.

I’m honoured to have the opportunity to help tell this story alongside people I really respect in the broadcasting world. I’ve honestly been watching Pat Parnell on TV, commentating other action sports for as long as I can remember, so to now be sitting alongside him as we blabber for hours on end about mountain biking, makes me really stoked about where Freeride Mountain Biking sits in the world of sport. A no-compromise representation of the core values that define Freeride, and more true to its roots this year than ever before.

Cam McCaul Red Bull Rampage 2016
Cam McCaul Red Bull Rampage 2016


MENTIONS: @trek




65 Comments

  • 179 2
 Awesome to see guys like Cam and Tippie give up one career in mountain biking to take up another role in promoting our sport. You guys get a lot of respect from me for what you do in the industry.
  • 65 0
 Fuck. I'm glad to see the industry get behind guys like this to show there is some value in a life spent digging holes and smashing bones.
  • 8 1
 Red Bull CAMPAGE coming your way 2017!
  • 17 0
 @Koz1985: Cam's quote from strength in numbers pretty much sums this up perfectly! "sure seems to be working out pretty darn well"
  • 110 0
 Cam, I salute you! You're one of the best ambassadors of our sport. You bring a level of professionalism and accuracy rarely seen in action sports commenting. Bravo!
  • 23 1
 Couldn't agree more, Cam is definitely a pepperoni pizza.
  • 6 1
 @Mattin: Robs the best, and the worst. Cam is heading in his own awesome direction I will say.
  • 4 0
 sorry didnt know replying would @ you... maybe thats the mistake i have been making hmmm
  • 1 0
 @mtbswindler: why wasn't Rob Warner there with Cam ?
  • 8 0
 @Jim-laden: because they know Warner would've gotten stuck in Vegas on the way.
  • 86 0
 Cam McCaul has been my favourite riders since watching his in Drop in TV. I might get a tattoo of Cam on my forehead to show my admiration, I might not... it's my forehead!! :-)
  • 14 0
 I see what you did there!
  • 8 1
 When I think of Cam I always think of that comment of his.....Maybe I'll I'll get a tattoo of a bird on my forehead, maybe not.
  • 2 0
 hes grown up so quick
  • 1 0
 Yeah, in the back of my head, there's always this possibility...
  • 53 1
 CAM will make america great AGAIN !!!!
  • 32 6
 "There's no better announcer than Cam. He's a great announcer. The best announcer. How do I know this? I know Billy Bush, I know Sean Hannity, and that's what they've been telling me, so it must be true. All other announcers, they're criminals and should be in jail. Brad J was born in Kenya. Tippie is an orange faced liar with small hands and never paid U.S. income taxes."
  • 1 0
 CAM for President!!!
  • 18 1
 Cam, youre doing a great job, here and at the slopestyle events. Even your cohosts just stfu and listen when youre offering some insight that only a pro rider would have. Keep at it!
  • 9 2
 but that Brad J fella is so cool and hip!
  • 20 0
 McCauld you do the preview down the 'course' next time with Claudio?
  • 14 0
 "Going from being a competitor in the event to now standing at the bottom of the course staring at a monitor with my back toward the mountain, brings with it a whole different perspective"

Please never stop with Cam quotes industry
  • 12 0
 Early Rampage morning i Walk out of the shitter(portapotty) and who do i see....the one and only. Except i don't scream out "Cam!" as he's walking up the hill.....no,I scream out "T-mac!!" Knowing damn well that its not his brother. He's like,"haha,no actually thats my little brother and he's up on the hill." I had to explain that i screwup my words a lot....long story short-he was easily the nicest,most approachable pro i met all weekend long. He actually stopped and talked to me like we were old friends or something. Good dude.

IMO,he is an amazing announcer for the sport. He's funny,he obviously knows his stuff,but i also think he does a really good job of ad-libbing and breaking things down into laymans terms for people that aren't so familiar to the sport. He'll only get better.
  • 5 0
 Cam, you are doing an amazing job in this next stage of your career......keep it up! Is awesome to have someone like you in that seat who can convey all the nuances of an event like this to folks who maybe don't fully understand exactly how much time these guys have put in to get to the skill level they are at, and how hard all these athletes work to be able to get down that mountain alive and in one piece......thank you.
  • 8 0
 If the whole mtb industry should have a president, I'd vote for Cam for sure.
  • 5 0
 Cam is one of my favorite people in the world. Always full of positive vibes that you can feel right through the computer. It's so comforting and satisfying to hear him in the broadcast booth.

When I'm having a bad day I watch this and it cheers me right up: www.pinkbike.com/video/274609

:thumbsup:
  • 6 0
 Cam has come along way from the eel in the face - one of my fav slo mo of the Not Bad. the interview with Paul was incredibly well handled. Great job, Sir!
  • 2 0
 Cam, imo you did a fantastic job. Listening to you describing the event made me feel it even more. Surprisingly, after 4 hours, i was still hooked to my screen and that is in part because of you. Thanks to all the athletes for risking their lives for the sake of progression and thanks to the commentators for making it a hell of a show. Rampage 2016 was one of the best.
  • 2 0
 Rampage is very well done. This was my third trip out there.
An area that can be improved is the dj/audience hyper/commentator...there's always alot of dead air, some music on low volume,
  • 3 0
 Very well written and insightful. Cam has always come across with such honesty, passion, compassion and positivity. One of the, if not the, best ambassadors for the sport.
  • 4 0
 i appreciated and enjoyed cam's commentary at rampage, and wish him luck with this new phase of his career
  • 1 0
 Yeah! Journey means getting from one point to a destination. In freeride - there is no destination. HOW f*ckING NAIVE IS THAT. THAT POETRY IS A JOKE! ok it depends what is freeride. the no destination freeride should not be overlookedSmile it is the essence! i can feel it with or without it's presence! YET! Rampage contest should not be killed! I mean if you skateboard you can be an enemy of some well paid circus with helmet obligatory. IT DEPENDS ON THE DISCIPLINE! somehow in skateboard and bmx there is more that: no destination! paradoxicaly! because rampage is just total havok on the wildside! what is my point? RAMPAGE IS WELL EXECUTED THING! Brandon Semenuk agrees with me! There is something special in all Diamond events! Others are well paid acrobatica with nice cars around! What is my next point? IT IS ALL LOGIC! keep things natural! keep street to street. keep slopestyle to whistler mointain. keep freeride to steep red canyon. if you do that - cameras and contest are not that important! they can help to keep things endless, paradoxically!
  • 1 0
 OK his statement that there is no difference between riding in your garden and in front of 100.000 people - nothing more stupid than that. is it some creepy joke, some nu skool media provocation? why Brandon Semenuk never do frontflips with barspin on contests? he is f*cked up! yet of course he is still master of hype proof and pressure proof! i can bet most of the dudes f*ck up the key moments, to be preceise: they crash hard, because of the stres. Did you see how pathetic Brett Rheeder was one year ago? Yet he still executed frontflip barspin like a master, because he is confident in it! he f*cked up on Brandon's trick - backflip double barspin! it was cruel! Brandon is a cruel domina!
  • 1 0
 yeah the next day the same confusion. I ALMOST GOT A CONCUSSION FROM CAM MCCAULS STATEMENTS. in early MTB movies there are some scenes where he is just looking at the course at Whistler looking if his lips are packed and if the distance is long enough to gain some speed to a big momentum move. Yet he is so f*cked up on those scenes, his eyes are are like caleidoscope! That's the reason i said: maybe provocation? Maybe he is just trying to put the discussion somewhere else. I mean myself I can only see their fear and I can't imagine myself doing it! So i go the extreme also with my statements! Because when I was doing some pounding techno concerts - it was indeed very much like Cam says: is the beat matched, are the faders working, is the tune in the right moment. And yeah when it's all done I can see only the scared dude on the pictures - not really understanding that it was me and that it was not that bad. Not2BadSmile
  • 3 0
 Cam, once again you absolutely killed it....Great having your knowledge and awareness!!
  • 2 0
 You did great Cam! I'm glad to see you weren't given a re-purposed DJ stand to announce from. Looked like they just pulled the tables and mixer out!
  • 1 0
 I always respected Cam a lot as rider, commentator and ambassador. But I had no idea that guy had such writing skills! Great read Beer

Hope to read more articles from him in the future Smile
  • 3 0
 The only better job for Cam would be riding! Miss his riding and style! My favourite rider
  • 3 0
 Gotta respect Renoylds for pulling out. Would have been nice to see Rogatkin though.
  • 1 0
 Good writing and good commentary from Cam McCaul. He definitely has a future in the coverage side of this sport. I hope we see more of him doing pieces like this.
  • 2 0
 If you look in to it, a lot of pros stay in the industry long after they retire
  • 1 0
 Looks like thw monitor/boothe is way too low. Id get a headache looking down like that too long.
  • 1 0
 smart move on the part of rampage. gotta have a freerider do the commentary.
  • 4 2
 Cam's a great commentator! All the best man!
  • 2 0
 Cam is a top guy and also speaks fluent spanish on redbull tv.
  • 2 0
 Cam's the best fit. Get rid of Brad and hire Cam!
  • 1 0
 Cam is the best commentator in MTB. Entertaining, insightful, contagious stoke
  • 1 0
 Great insight and commentating, keep up the good work.
  • 1 0
 No better guy for the job. Hell yeah Cam.
  • 1 0
 Cam and Warner commentating together, lets make that happen!
  • 1 0
 Up until now, i didn't why he decided to retire from Rampage.
  • 1 0
 backflip double tailwhipSmile
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