Haro to release Dave Mirra tribute bike in 2017
This past weekend, Feb. 4, 2017, marked one year since BMX legend Dave Mirra died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Greenville, North Carolina. Mirra, 41 at the time of his death, became the first action sports athlete to be diagnosed with CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), a degenerative disease found in the brains of people who have sustained multiple hits to the head or concussions, with symptoms that can begin with dizziness and headaches and lead to depression, dementia and suicidality.
Mirra owned the most X Games medals in the history of the event from 1995 through 2013 (24 total medals), and was a force to be reckoned with in flatland, park, street and vert. He was also BMX freestyle's first crossover star, moving from underground videos and magazines to the screens of ESPN, ABC and MTV, with endorsements that ranged from Haro Bicycles to Slim Jim to the "Got Milk" campaign. Dave Mirra was BMX freestyle's first superstar, with a natural ability that transcended disciplines and allowed him to adapt to all terrains and excel.
It was impossible to imagine a world without Dave Mirra, and following his death, BMX fans from around the world struggled to make sense of the circumstances. Fortunately, the life and legacy of Dave Mirra was bigger than anyone could fathom, and for all of the collective sadness experienced, there was also an underlying sense of the greatness of Dave Mirra, in life and forever after.
There were a lot of "I can't believe it's been a year" comments thrown around this past weekend, but it's been difficult for me to personally connect the date of Dave's death with his memory, because not a day has passed that I haven't really thought deeply about Dave Mirra. Collectively, those of us that knew Dave's greatness didn't need to wait a day or a year. We have honored his memory every day of the past year with great reverence. We have laughed, we have cried, we have all marveled at Dave Mavro's "Mirra Mondays" series on Facebook.
And we are still feeling his greatness.
A few weeks ago, Haro BMX brand manager John Buultjens posted a photo of himself holding up a candy apple red Haro frame from the Haro factory in Taiwan, with graphics that reminded me of Dave Mirra's signature Haro from the late 1990s. The caption read, "Okay boys, you're the first to see the Dave Mirra frame and fork." The likes quickly piled up, as did the questions and comments, and John, on the other side of the world, let Mirra's friend and confidante Brett Downs field questions as they came in. No one had expected Haro to create a tribute bike for Mirra, but the brand was honoring Dave in one of the best ways they could.
Haro was Dave Mirra's first sponsor. The story is the stuff made of legends at this point. Mirra, a rambunctious 13-year-old, showed up to a Haro bike shop demo in the summer of 1987 to watch his idols, Ron Wilkerson, Brian Blyther and Dave Nourie perform. The Haro team spotted Mirra from inside the van, landing then-impossible flatland tricks, and hooked him up with a free bike and co-sponsorship on the spot. At the time, he was the youngest co-sponsored rider on the Haro team. Several years later, following stints with GT and Hoffman Bikes, a now 20-year-old Mirra returned to Haro, the sole rider on a brand that was being put through the rigors of an ever-changing BMX industry.
There are no two ways about it: Dave Mirra was the spark that revitalized Haro in the mid 1990s. Gone were the days of Bob Haro and Ron Wilkerson behind the brand's direction -- it was now Dave Mirra and Ryan Nyquist designing complete bikes that were affordable, high quality and available worldwide to a new legion of BMX fans. A few years later, the X Games hit, and suddenly, Dave Mirra's signature Haro was on every TV screen of an ESPN subscriber, and demand for his signature bikes and components sky rocketed.
Mirra remained an esteemed member of the Haro team through the end of 2006, and then started his own brand, Mirraco, for the remainder of his BMX career. But the majority of Mirra's accomplishments at the top of the sport were done on a signature Haro, and it's where most of us remember him best.
Now, to honor Dave Mirra, Haro is releasing a 2017 tribute Dave Mirra bike, with a bulk of the sales proceeds going directly to the Mirra family. It is but one more way for BMX to continually honor the life, legacy and greatness of Dave Mirra, and all that he gave to his family, friends and BMX as a whole. And it's proof positive that the memory of Dave Mirra will remain with all of us for a long time to come.