Teen wins national video contest
A budding filmmaker from Henrico has earned a trip to Los Angeles this summer, thanks to a passion for mountain biking, a talent for video production, a chance online discovery – and a bone-jarring bike crash provided by a friend.
Seventeen-year-old Boyd Chambliss beat out entrants from around the country to take top honors in the Quench X X-Treme Sports Video Contest with his submission of a mountain bike jump performed by his neighbor, Ian Rowland.
For about two years now, Chambliss and Rowland have been “making videos of crazy things,” as Rowland puts it.
While they occasionally visit mountain bike trails on Richmond’s Belle Isle, or head to the river near their western Henrico neighborhood, they filmed the winning video last summer in the Chambliss’ hilly back yard .
“Ian is actually the person that . . . made the video so interesting,” says Chambliss. “I pretty much knew he was going to crash, because he has never landed that jump.”
After convincing his friend to make the attempt, Chambliss filmed the adventure from ground level while his brother, Gray, shot from a perch in an overhanging tree.
“I knew the outcome was going to be bad,” says Chambliss, “when he got to the bottom of the jump. He had too little speed and wasn’t standing up.
“Sure enough he crashed – hard.”
Rowland shrugs off any concerns about the bruising he must have suffered in the crash-landing.
“I’m used to it,” he says. He and Chambliss point out that the bike took the fall worse that the rider, losing at least one reflector in the crash.
Asked why Rowland performed the jump without protective equipment, Chambliss concedes they were fortunate he wasn’t hurt, and emphasizes that skipping the helmet is a rare occurrence.
“My friends and I are actually really safe when we do anything dangerous,” he says. “We normally wear a full-face motocross helmet, knee pads, and elbow pads.
“Thankfully, he fell on his stomach and not his head.”
Rounding Up Votes
Not long after filming the crash, Chambliss was on Facebook viewing someone’s photo album when he noticed an ad.
Do you have an extreme video? read the Quench promotion.
Chambliss didn’t waste a moment applying for the contest, which called for participants to submit a brief (one minute or less) video of any sports-related activity. (A second video he submitted took third place in the nation and won him a t-shirt.)
“I’d been looking for a contest for a long time,” says Chambliss, noting that the Quench competition’s outdoorsy theme was the first to fit the subject of his videos.
Although Chambliss knew he had a good product, he also knew that submitting the videos was only the beginning of his effort to win.
The contest winners were to be chosen by public voting on the website, and he now had to enlist friends and classmates in the campaign, convince them to obtain YouTube accounts, and educate them about how to vote. Some of his would-be supporters apparently failed to follow through to the end of the voting process, and thought that viewing the video or saying they liked it was enough.
Nevertheless, Chambliss’ video topped the nationwide field with 700 views and 57 votes.
On to L.A.
A junior at The Steward School, Chambliss plans on pursuing a career in film.
“I have always loved jumping my bike and riding on trails,” he says. “Once I got my first video camera, I filmed everything.”
When he is not making films, Chambliss runs cross country and serves as manager of Steward’s varsity baseball and varsity boys basketball teams.
Brother Gray, 14, who also attends Steward, frequently joins Boyd and Rowland (a junior at Collegiate) for adventures at the river and stunts in the backyard.
Chambliss also like to film his family vacations. But although recreational events may be his favorite subject, there is nothing he takes lightly about the film process.
“I like to be serious,” says Chambliss, who has 200 videos on his own YouTube account. “I like to make [videos] as professional looking as a I can, because I’m looking to go into film.”
With a Christmas gift of a new bike, and a newly-constructed video platform in his back yard – not to mention a national title under his belt -- Chambliss seems well on his way to a film career.
What’s more, he will no doubt make helpful contacts when he and Ian and Gray travel with his father (airfare and lodging provided for all four) to the X Games this summer.
“I entered because I really thought that I had a great chance of winning,” says Chambliss. “There was no way I was going to pass up an opportunity like this.”
“Once you find something that you like, you can’t let that opportunity go by.”
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