Jeff "Ox" Kargola: 1983-2011
Bigger than life
Dubbed "Ox" by close friend and mentor Cameron Steele due to some baby fat he carried for a few years too long, Jeff Kargola kept the name long after he'd become a lean, powerful 6'2."
Raising the bar
There was no challenge that Kargola wouldn't turn down. On top of riding Best Trick at both Summer and Winter X Games, Freestyle, and Speed and Style, Ox also took his skills to the Step Up comp, where his bike handling techniques were on display.
Kargola's ability and bag of tricks was as deep as anyone in FMX and could hang with the best. But he's inconsistent attendance at competitions meant he never quite seized the spotlight in the same way as some of his peers.
Better with age
Kargola has always been noticed for his bike handling skills, but as the years went on and he got more racing experience through off-road races like the San Felipe 250 in Baja, Mexico, his growth as an all-around rider was evident.
In loving memory
This past February, friends and family of Jeremy Lusk gathered at Pala Raceway for the second annual Jeremy Lusk Memorial Ride Day. Here Kargola shows his respects to Lusk by doing what he did best: go fast and have fun.
A close friend to fallen soldier Jeremy Lusk, Kargola was devastated by the news of his passing in February of 2009. With Kargola's death, the FMX community has one again been rocked by a rider dying far before his time.
Riding the Nuclear Cowboyz tour among hundreds of Metal Mulisha demos, Kargola dazzled fans all around the U.S. with his deep bag of tricks like this massive Superman indy backflip.
Being part of the Metal Mulisha family means full access to the group's compound. Ox's San Clemente, Calif. home allowed him to make frequent trips, which were no doubt a big part of his impressive freestyle ability.
Need for speed
Even when he was out hitting ramps with his buddies, Kargola had to set aside some time to twist the throttle. Here, he blows up an innocent berm at the Metal Mulisha compound.
Heart of gold
While in Puerto Rico for a Metal Mulisha exhibition, Kargola and his teammates paid a visit to the local hospital, hooking fans up with swag and bringing a smile to everyone's face.
Due to his big frame and limitless talents and ability, Kargola could throw his Honda CR250 around as if it were a toy. His whip was one of the biggest and most stylish in all of FMX.
The Metal Mulisha is one of the most recognizable teams in FMX, but in the past two years they've suffered from Lusk's death, Jeremy Stenberg's departure, and now the death of Ox. Here's the team in happier times.
Everything with amplitude
Every time Kargola swung his leg over his bike, he was fully committed to doing every trick to the best of his ability. This beyond-extended no-footed nac nac is a perfect example of his dedication to going big.
Gone but not forgotten
Both Kargola and Jeremy Lusk (left), back when the former was an established FMX originator and the latter was nearing the height of his competitive dominance.
One of the first
Kargola was a quick learner. Shortly after Travis Pastrana introduced the Superman seatgrab backflip, Kargola was one of the first to bring it to competition. He threw it in Best Trick at the 2004 Summer X Games, where he finished fifth.
Ox's silver medal at the 2005 Winter X Games Best Trick contest was the height of his competitive FMX career, but his career as a touring exhibition rider left him with fans all over the world.
At the 2008 LG World Championships of Freestyle Motocross, Kargola went head-to-head against Metal Mulisha teammate Jeremy Lusk. Lusk defeated Kargola by six points, but it went down as one of the more memorable matchups of all time.
Too much talent
Of all the San Clemente kids that came into the sport under Cameron Steele's watchful eye, Kargola was the most multi-faceted. As an avid surfer, FMXer, desert racer and off-road truck racer, he did it all.