Nitro RedNek Hubert Rowland
Showing Safety Goes Hand-in-Hand With Fun
Story By: Cody Carney
Photos By: Brandon Bunch
At any race event, many rules have to be met before drivers or their vehicles can even pull up to a starting line. A vast majority of these rules, as well as emergency personnel, are placed as precautionary measures to keep drivers safe if something were to happen. This is standard for any race. However, for recreational drivers, the measures taken to ensure safety aren’t so much mandatory as they are discretionary. This month’s Campfire Chat, Hubert Rowland, otherwise known as everybody’s favorite rednek from Nitro Circus, has recognized this and has been putting a tremendous amount of effort toward providing information to keep people safe while having fun. Hubert tells us a little about his story of how he got involved with Nitro Circus, what he does now, and his plans for the future.
To date, Hubert has been involved with Nitro Circus and has been Travis Pastrana’s personal mechanic for right around sixteen years. What a lot of people may not know is what everybody’s favorite rednek originally wanted to do in life was become a pro rider. That’s right, he wanted to compete. Hubert had a late start in the game and because of this, ended up on a pursuit to be a mechanic for a pro race team instead. However, this wasn’t the first time Hubert had dabbled in mechanics or off-road. In fact, they are things he’s been doing his whole life.
Hubert: “I’ve always had an interest in off-road vehicles in general. I got a go-cart when I was three, started riding four-wheelers when I was probably nine, and then once I could save up enough money, I bought my own four-wheeler when I was sixteen. We grew up having just enough, so we bought older stuff and fixed it and worked on it for hours to ride it for 15 minutes—the best 15 minutes ever, but then we’d work on it for another two days. That’s how I learned, trial and error, and then went to mechanic school to learn the more correct way to fix things. I’m just always trying to evolve and do better and better. Feel like I’m a pretty decent mechanic now. At the same time I know I don’t know everything, there’s always new things coming.”
Hubert is no stranger to new things happening. His first gig as a mechanic was for a woman who was a pro racer/mechanic. Through her, Hubert met many other pro-women racers and eventually met Travis at a race he was spectating at. During that meeting, Travis invited Hubert up to PastranaLand where they were filming for the Nitro 2 DVD. Some of the girls there were doing flips and of course there were broken vehicles everywhere. Hubert showed up and just started fixing things and from there he says he never really left. After exchanging just a few words with Hubert, I can see why the Nitro guys wouldn’t want to get rid of him. It was obvious just how caring and humble a guy he is. He just does what he can to make a difference for everybody and help them progress through their off-road journeys. Being involved in powersports for so long has developed such a huge passion in him. Some of his biggest concerns are to make sure everybody is not only having fun but also helping them in embracing the off-road lifestyle to truly experience all it has to offer. He just loves to help.
Hubert: “Even helping a friend fix a UTV or a bike or whatever it is. They start to have frustrations with it, and I might have a little bit better skill on that particular machine just to help them get it fixed, and then they’re just pumped and relieved all at the same time going, ‘It’s finally fixed. I can ride.’ Those kinds of things… they go further than anything really.”
Speaking of going far, something big Hubert does that a lot of people might not know of is adventure rides. Rides that consumers can go be a part of. He’ll set up a ride around an established event, and will go for sometimes two to three days round trip. He likes to just do things that really anybody can be a part of. And that’s just one endeavor Hubert has taken on. Hubert also started safety classes which gives quite a bit of information about safety in a fun, great way.
Hubert: “I’ve started a powersports safety program called Let’s Ride. We go to schools and talk to kids about going out riding and having fun but always wearing helmets and getting safety certified to operate the machines correctly. The program really tries to make a difference for the next generations up and coming and show everyone that powersports can be extremely fun and extremely safe as long as the right measures are taken. I started the program roughly two years ago and just really want to encourage safety in all powersports, no matter what you ride. Take Nitro Circus for example. We do the biggest stunts in the world and are the safest group in the world when it comes to stunts. We have safety guys and everything is laid out so injury is very rare. The stunts seem unreal and ridiculous. What people don’t see is the safety aspects that are taken. By the time it’s ready for the camera and ready to go to dirt and all that stuff, it’s almost a guarantee it’s going to be fine. The biggest explanation I can give when I go to different schools is in Nitro Circus, we do really big stunts but we have doctors, ambulances and stuff like that sitting there waiting just in case something happens. If we get hurt, they can run up and check on us and help. If you’re out on the trails or playing around and stuff like that, how many of you have a doctor sitting there waiting just in case something happens? Nobody can ever raise their hand. If you get hurt, there’s no telling when you’re going to get help.”
As we can see, it’s not that the professionals don’t take preventative measures just because they live this lifestyle. In fact, it’s the opposite. It’s that they take such measures on a regular basis that they are able to continue riding daily. That’s something that Hubert especially doesn’t plan on losing sight of any time soon—for good reason too.
Hubert: “My plans for the future are just to grow the program that I’ve started and get safety more well-known so it just becomes a natural thing. I’ve heard some pretty alarming specs on injuries and stuff like that. A large portion of injuries come from people who don’t have a certificate or haven’t been through a safety course. A large portion of kids who get injured aren’t wearing helmets. Those 2 things are very simple to come by. We’re trying to work with a lot of different companies to make helmets readily available and maybe even helmet banks in very well-known offroad areas. You don’t have to worry so much about the racers. Racing, all the safety stuff is required. It’s all the recreational riders who go out 4-5 times a year or kids that go to a friends house and will encounter a powersports vehicle of some sort. People need to be safe, there’s too many injuries that happen that can be prevented very easily.”
It’s great to see someone with such an influence be at the forefront of making sure our great sport stays alive. It’s detrimental that safety becomes a catalyst and not an inhibitor for people wanting to get involved. If you or someone you know wants to find more information, feel free to check the safety program out at http://letsrideamerica.com/ or to keep up with Hubert’s adventure rides, follow him on his Instagram @nitrorednekhubert.