The twisted minds behind Black Rifle Coffee Company managed to find an even crazier partner to film one of the more insane stunt sequences you’ll see in a long time.
Daredevil and Motocross legend Travis Pastrana joined forces with the popular veteran-owned java crew to choreograph the stunt, and with Pastrana’s family history of military service, he said the decision was an easy one.
“You can’t throw a stone around my family without hitting someone who was in the military,” Pastrana told Military Times. “I have three cousins who went to the Naval Academy. My dad was a Marine, my wife’s father was a Marine, my mom’s father was in the Navy and my grandpa on my dad’s side was a chef on the USS Hawkins during WWII.”
Black Rifle approached Pastrana with the idea after others told them it was too crazy.
“The first three people we asked to do it said ‘Hell no,’” said Jarred Taylor, Black Rifle VP of business operations. “And we’re talking some of the biggest names in the moto world.”
In stepped Pastrana, who, after being pitched the idea of jumping a motorcycle over an in-flight helicopter firing two miniguns as a rally car performed doughnuts underneath and explosions encircled the scene, was pleased to oblige.
Pastrana posted video to Facebook on Monday, seen below, of this and other unbelievable stunts. The helo jump can be seen at about the three-minute mark.
“This sort of started out as a joke,” Pastrana said of the idea, but the merger between military and action sports communities was hard to resist.
“As much as we think we’re crazy, you know, action sports or civilian life isn’t really comparable with the military,” he said. “It’s like, ‘Oh you were parachuting and someone’s shooting at you?’ It’s a completely different level of badass, pride and respect.”
Despite Pastrana’s enthusiasm, though, the idea hit a snag just before filming.
“At first it was supposed to be me on the motorcycle,” he said, “but right before the shoot, I broke my wrist really bad, so we got the most American person we could find, Ronnie Mac, to do the jump.”
Mac, who the crew simply refers to as the “greatest moto rider ever,” was immediately thrilled to come on board.
Just one of the perks of having a legend of death-defying motorsports vouching for the idea.
“The coolest part about where I am in my life is like, be careful what you ask for because you just might get it,” said Pastrana. “We’ve had just enough success — with a hell of a lot of failures — that we now have a lot of resources — military, action sports, guys who love to do crazy stuff.”
Doing “crazy stuff” with such a diverse crew is just one way the team from Black Rifle says they want to breathe positive life into the military community.
“It’s more than just a jump,” said Evan Hafer, CEO of Black Rifle Coffee. “It’s the significance of it. If you’re not pushing the limits sitting on this rock that’s spinning 1,000 miles an hour in the middle of this black abyss, you’re kind of defeating the whole purpose of life,”
Along with Pastrana’s Nitro Circus team, Black Rifle is receiving support from bands like Five Finger Death Punch, Asking Alexandria, Breaking Benjamin and All That Remains.
The lead singer of Asking Alexandria, Danny Worsnop, actually joined in on the stunt and was in the car with Pastrana, even pulling the hand brake to spare Travis’ broken wrist.
Black Rifle and Pastrana expect to work together again soon, Taylor said, and the coffee company envisions no slowing when it comes to establishing mutually beneficial relationships.
“And by the way, these aren’t paid partnerships,” said Hafer. “We’re not like Dan Bilzerian — we don’t have to f--king pay people to be our friends.”
Developing these positive relationships is something Pastrana cherishes. Work ethic and character mean a lot to the daredevil, values he’s applied from his upbringing in a military household.
“If you say you’re going to do something, you do it,” Pastrana said. “You have respect and you work hard. I feel like the military has shaped my entire life.“
Any sane family may have expressed concern about Travis’ career choices, like when he rode a motorcycle off of a ramp into the Grand Canyon, only to ditch the bike and pull a parachute.
But despite his ground-breaking vocation, Pastrana’s Marine father offered him a word of advice long ago that he keeps with him to this day.
“If you love what you do, ride the train until the wheels fall off.”
J.D. Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.