Thursday, June 30, 2011

Scare Tactics

Post by Tony Wilcox:

Part of the fun we had on the Race Across America involved COUNTLESS practical jokes. Necessities due to the monotonous routine of RIDING, EATING, SLEEPING?, RIDING, EATING, SLEEPING?, ETC. Once in a while, a fellow teammate or crew member needs a good scare or prank.  It's just the way we roll.

So here are just a few of the pranks that were carried out during the race...


So it's early one morning during the rider rotation, maybe 2:30 or 3:00 a.m.  In the car are myself (Tony Wilcox), Dave Roadruck, Doug Richards and Bob Roach.  It's cold outside and we're all tired and its quiet while we wait for the rider to come in so we can make a transition.  So I ask Bob (he's 25+ years with El Monte PD), "So have you ever fired your gun in the line of duty?" 

"Actually, I have.  It was the most dramatic, intense night of my life. It changed me forever."

At this point, he has our COMPLETE attention and the car is deathly silent as he asks, "So, do you want to hear about it?"

"Heck yes!" we reply, almost all in unison.

Bob uses his most deadpan, "ghost story" tone to his tale..."It was a very dark night."

Now he has TOTALLY sucked us into his trap.  "My partner and I were on a domestic dispute call.  We pulled up to the house out on this lonely, dark road and my partner gets out of the car.  As soon as he closes the car door behind him, this huge pitbull comes charging at him.  So I jump out of the car, pull my weapon and I shot the dog."

The car is absolutely silent for a moment and we're all just staring at him and I ask...

"So that's it?  You shot the dog?"

"Yep.  I shot the dog.  That was the only time I've ever had to fire my weapon."

"Booooooooo!  That story sucks!  We were waiting for the intense, bloody gunfight!  We thought you had to shoot a BAD GUY, not a DOG!  Please!"

So the joke the rest of that shift was, "It was a VERY DARK NIGHT..."  At least BOB thought it was funny - we didn't.


Because of the heavy doses of sleep deprivation, everyone pretty much learned how to grab a quick catnap in the back seat for 10 or 15 minutes after the first few days, but this turned out to be pretty dangerous, especially at night.

Crew member Brandon Duggan fell asleep in the back of the follow car early one morning (3 or 4 am) with his headphones on.  We were out in the middle of nowhere on some dark road and decided it would be a great place to scare the heck out of him.  So the video cameras started rolling and we rolled down all the windows in the car and circled around him.  On the count of three, three riders and two crew members started screaming at the top of our lungs.  The look of terror on Duggan's face lasted for almost 10 seconds while he tried to process what was happening to him as he was coming out of a deep REM sleep.  Classic scare tactic!  He didn't fall asleep again the rest of his shift!

A similar scare happened to Craig Roach when he fell asleep in the back of the rider shuttle late one night.  Teammates Scott Francis and Tony Wilcox couldn't resist the temptation to take advantage of young Craig (16 years old).  Craig had brought a black ski mask on the trip which we "borrowed" for our gag.  I (Tony) wore the mask while Scott videod the event with his iPhone.  I stuck my masked face right in Craig's face and both Scott and I started screaming and banging on empty water jugs.  Craig went through the same terrified awakening and took several seconds to figure out what was happening to him as Duggan did.  Another one bites the dust!  The BAD news?  Scott FORGOT to push the RECORD button on his iPhone!!!!  Arrrrggghhhh!

I took advantage of this same scare tactic and used it to my own advantage one afternoon.  Knowing my buddy Bob Roach is a sucker for a video moment, I set him up with the help of team Captain, Doug Richards.  Bob was outside the rider shuttle and I was in the front passenger seat, Doug in the back alone.  I told Doug, "Hey, tell Bob I'm snoring and have him get the video camera on me.  I'm going to scare him."  With Doug enlisted in my cause, I leaned back in the seat, pulled my hat over my face and feigned a deep sleep with loud snoring.  Doug tells Bob, "Hey, get the video camera!  Tony is snoring!"  Bob takes the bait and gets his camera out and puts it right up near my face, recording my snoring.  He's snickering to himself, thinking he's getting some great footage when out of the blue I go..."BOOOOOOO!!" right into the camera and Bob's face!  He jumped backwards and almost dropped the camera I scared him so bad!  Score another one for me!


But probably the BEST scare of all was done TO ME.  It was a very dark, really!  It was!  And I was riding alone about 2 miles outside of the famed Gettysburg battlefield.  The only sounds were that of my bike rolling along the asphalt and the early morning crickets at about 3 a.m.  I was thinking about all of the dead soldiers up ahead in Gettysburg, the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Bigfoot, etc.  It was a pretty scary vibe.  On my right, I was approaching an old, dark cemetary just off the roadside.  As I got even with the cemetary, all of the sudden, four "GHOULS" came running out from behind the tombstones along the road and started screaming at me!  It almost scared me right off the bike and the burst of adrenaline shot me forward at breakneck speed!  WOW!  What a scare!  My fellow teammates win the prize for the best scare of the RAAM in my book.


Lynn Richards said...

Thanks for the great post, Tony!! It is helping doug stay awake as we cross the Texas pan handle!!! Love you guys!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the post Tony, I have enjoyed reading your stories.

Kathy (Bev's sister) said...

Bev arrived OK this pm, and has gone beddie-bye (10;30). For some reason she is only sleeping 4-6 hrs a night..... You all did a magnificent job, and had OK prayers with you too, and for safe journeys home. Kathy Hiatt

Anonymous said...

I still wake up and wonder where I am, what time is it and what state am I in. I'm half way home in Oklahoma with my sis. I'm going to stay here until the July 6, then head home. I plan to wash cloths and take many long showers. Thanks for the great time and many blessings.