A movie star that helped inspire a generation of BMX riders back in the ’80s was in Roseburg over the weekend for a couple of days of watching local riders throw down tricks.
Bill Allen played the lead role of Cru Jones in the 1986 film ‘Rad.’ He was in town to promote his new book “My RAD Career” and the re-release of the movie in 4K and on streaming platforms.
Allen, 57, has become a cult icon for his role as Cru Jones and visits BMX events around the country where he’s heard thousands of stories about how the movie has impacted fans.
“It changed a lot of lives and mostly for the better,” Allen said. “There were a lot of ER visits in the meantime, but that even more ingrained (the fan’s) love for the sport and the movie and it’s character building.”
One such life was Roseburg resident Greg Kovach, who was inspired by the movie as a young rider. Still riding as an adult, Kovach has built a Rad-themed bike ramp at his home and that’s what prompted a visit from the Rad star.
“I sent Bill a picture of it and he was digging it,” Kovach explained. “Then it got me thinking, I wonder what it would take to get him up here to throw down and have some fun with us?”
Kovach said some of the best local riders came out to his place to perform tricks on his ramp, which drops in from the roof of his house and finishes with about a six-foot ramp that launches a rider into an adjacent pool.
Besides getting the chance to meet the star of one of his favorite movies, Kovach says he also wanted to put on the weekend event to give folks something different to do.
“Especially with what’s going on now, you know we need to promote positive. That’s just what my life revolves around.”
Rad, the movie behind the weekend event, wasn’t much of a hit with reviewers when initially released, but fans loved the shots of high-flying tricks that hadn’t been portrayed in that manner before.
“I would say most of the world had not seen riding of that caliber at the time,” Allen said. “Then showcase it with a love story and all these great tricks that were woven into the storyline … the kids just could not get enough of it.”