FMB Tour announcer Ryan Meyer speaks about his career transition and Red Bull Rampage predictions.
You probably know him best as the mustachioed face on the webcast of Red Bull Joyride. Or maybe from his days as half of the freeriding Meyer Brothers, making a life boosting dirt lips on slopestyle courses on the pro circuit.
Today, he goes by the title of emcee, commentator, announcer, host, or simply “that guy who talks too much and receives hate on Pinkbike.” He is Ryan Meyer, and the 24-year-old from Tsawwassen, B.C., has recently jumped from his riding career to speaking on the mic at FMB events around the world.
redbull.com: How long have you been active in the scene, as a sponsored rider?
Ryan Meyer: My first sponsorship derived from a lot of talking and led to my first catalog shoot for Cove Bikes in 2005 -- shot by the infamous Sterling Lorence. My brother and I were so fired up to be given the opportunity to go out with all those boys and do work. After that photo shoot, I signed my first contract for riding my bike.
What are some highlights from your riding career?
The biggest highlights -- of all the years I have been involved with mountain biking -- are the people I have met and the friends I have made, for sure.
As for actual riding achievements, I've always been out at the contests but never with the most satisfying results. It was really cool when I qualified for Crankworx Whistler Slopestyle years ago, as well as when I was able to come back from some tough injuries and get into the finals with some of the big guys at a few of the stops in 2011.
What led you to announcing events?
We all know there isn’t a lot of longevity [for an athlete] in the freeride scene. I was probably 21 or 22 when I started accepting the fact that I was never going to be able to keep up with guys like Semenuk, nor was my body.
I was injured at an event a month before [Crankworx] Whistler, so I decided to call up Darren Kinnaird and see if I could help out with the event. He said the tasks were pretty much delegated already, but would “let me know” if anything came up. I thought that was the typical nice-guy shut-down, so I just went up to hang with my friends and watch the show…
Two days before the Best Trick contest, Darren called and asked if I'd be interested in announcing it. I had never done anything like that before and was super unsure if I was even capable, but I said, “Sure! Let’s do it!”
What are some of the challenges of the position?
There are many steps that are taken before a broadcast can be executed and it's always amazing to me how the production team does such a good job of hiding that from the audience. The back-end is one thing, but when it comes to my job it's all on my shoulders to make sure that the information is communicated properly to all of the viewers.
The entire experience has been a big learning curve for me, but the most difficult is to keep a professional composure throughout every run. Most of the time I still have the impulse to throw the gloves up and race into the finish line while spraying beers over the winner after their crazy run.
Your background as a rider must help with the process of commentating. How important do you believe it is for an announcer to have experience in the sport?
There are multiple types of announcers and I don't think they all need to be physically experienced with the topic they are commenting on. However, a certain level of research and understanding should be acquired before they can do so.
Most of the jobs I work within mountain biking have given me the title of “technical announcer” and that is a different story. For someone to give their expert opinion on the situation that is going on right in front of the viewers' eyes it would be impossible if they had zero firsthand experience.
I hear you’ve been selected as the voice of the live Red Bull Rampage broadcast?
I just received the email... I couldn’t believe it! I've grown up watching this event since its creation but was never able to physically attend (like many other fans). This is one of the most publicized events on the tour and I am definitely not one to forget the pressure. I am not too sure if it is even possible to communicate what is going on throughout the runs…at least I know that I won’t have to call opposite flip-whips!
How important do you believe Rampage is to the sport of freeride?
This is not a typical contest -- it is not even close to a slopestyle. It’s a true freeride contest and an event that has stuck to its vision throughout all the years of evolution. The concept is psychotic and the skill level demanded of the riders to just make it down the course is past the line of incomprehensible.
In the classification of “freeride” there is nothing that will ever touch Rampage, in my opinion. It is a one-of-a-kind event that holds its own category and has been directly responsible for an immensely positive change of the public’s perception towards what “mountain biking” is. Red Bull Rampage is the only event that can showcase the history of freeriding in one single event.
Can you share any of your predictions for Rampage?
Kyle Norbraten? [Actually,] you cannot predict Rampage.
Listen to Ryan and watch the event unfold on the live broadcast of the finals on the Red Bull Rampage site on October 13.