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By Robert Janis

H-Bomb Films Brings ATV Freestyle to the Forefront of Extreme Sports

It was sort of like a perfect storm. Growing up in California Wes Miller was into extreme sports--ATV riding and racing and watching surfing, skateboard, and snowboard movies. He grew up riding three- and four-wheelers and has been riding ATVs since 1983. He even raced at times coming in second and third at the Baja 1000 and winning some local events and participating in Mickey Thompson races as well as GNC, MX and TT and GP’s and Speedway racing. He was also featured in some videos. Then he had a “Eureka” moment. “Why doesn’t someone produce ATV videos like the surfing, skateboard, and snowboard videos,” he thought. He filed the idea until 1997 when he founded H-Bomb Films which does just that.

Miller self financed the start up of the Fallbrook, California-based company and all of its projects. To date the company has produced more than 15 films. He does not have any formal training in film production. No degrees or classes in film are on his resume. Instead, he taught himself. As he put it, “I bought the cameras and read the manuals.”

The management team of H-Bomb Films also includes Edward “Lalo” Loperena, manager; John Lovell, graphic designer and website master; and BC Vaught, director of sales, marketing and booking for the Bomb Squad (more about them later). None of them had film production experience prior to the start up of the company.

That’s not to say that there is no professional advice coming from someone when the videos are made. Miller said that he hires freelancers who have production experience and takes them with him to his shoots. The people involved include cinematographers Jessica Young and Todd Bell.

The company has made its mark producing the Huevos series of ATV freestyle films. So far, ten have been produced. By the way, the title of the series can sound a little confusing. Huevos in Spanish means “eggs.” But in Spanish slang it means “Balls.” Now it makes sense.

Locations for the videos include most states in the U.S. as well as South Africa, Namibia, England, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Puerto Rico.

The Huevos videos have been nominated for and have won seven Xtremmy Awards given by Impact Video, a distributor of extreme sports films. Impact is also a major distributor of H-Bomb Films videos.

H-Bomb Films have dealers worldwide who sell the videos. In the U.S. there are nine dealers in California; one each in Maryland, Missouri, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. There are also four in Nevada.

Dealers are also in Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, England, Germany, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, and Sweden.

For the most part, the dealers or distributors sell the videos to ATV retail stores who then sell them to the public.

These films are not cheaply made or amateurish in any sense of the imagination. In fact, innovative filming techniques are used such as aerial shots from a helicopter. Innovative stunts are shown, too, such as back flips and the like.

Anyone who views these videos should not be squeamish. Footage of riders doing stunts that result in broken bones is kept in, not edited out, so that all can see.

The company has a number of sponsors including Lonestar Racing, Elka Suspension, AC Racing, Flexx, Fullbore Innovations, Alba, IMS, Roll Design, Maxxis Tires, Ultimate Control, RV, Hyper Wheels, Fox Shox, SMF Pipe and Rhinocraft. Miller said that he is able to line up sponsors because he and his company have built a reputation in the ATV community during the last 20 years or so, and people in the industry know him.

The Bomb Squad

Besides making videos, H-Bomb Films also includes a freestyle stunt team called “The Bomb Squad.” “We formed the Bomb Squad in the late 1990s or early 2000s,” said Miller. “When we were doing our early films, ATV freestyle was in its infancy. Some guys were doing tricks but weren’t making any money. So, we decided to form a team to go out and do shows as a way for them to generate revenue for themselves. None of the money goes to H-Bomb. We serve as the team’s manager or agent, and we book them to participate in events. We do not produce events. We also use them in our films. The team concept allows them to make money so they don’t need a full-time job, and we have them available when we need them for our projects.”

Riders who are familiar to Miller and Vaught are usually recruited to be members of the team. Miller also gets calls and e-mails from ATV riders who want to join. However, to actually make the team, these riders need to show proof of their talent--a video of their performances.

Most of the members of the Bomb Squad do not have racing experience, but some do including Dana Creech. Members of the team who do race are sponsored by Polaris. These team members are racing on the WPSA Racing Tour on a Polaris Outlaw 450 MXR.

The Bomb Squad includes: Ryan Bemis, 20, Cave Creek, Arizona; Justin Goodno, 20, Temecula, California; Christian Gagnon, 29, Quebec, Canada; Eric Taylan, 18, Fresno, California; Sheldon Riggs, 24, Chandler, Arizona; Dylan Starks, 11, Murray, Kentucky; Tyler Pittman, 12, Murray, Kentucky; Cody Land, 13, Cypress, Texas; Bren Marra, Colten and Caleb Moore; Jason Luburgh; JR Hinds; Casey Martin; and Dana Creech.

The Website

Finally, H-Bomb Films has a website []. The site includes sections that promote the Bomb Squad as well as events in which the team will perform. This site also includes links to articles and other coverage of H-Bomb Films, plus the ability to download video trailers and an online store where visitors can purchase H-Bomb Films videos.

If you want to see some exciting videos of riders doing things thought to be impossible to do on an ATV, visit the H-Bomb Films site, take a gander at their photos and trailers; and then purchase one, some or all of the videos.

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