PONTIAC (CBS DETROIT ) – A BMX rider returns to his stomping ground to ride through the remnants of the abandoned Pontiac Silverdome, and it’s all caught on video.
The video, produced by Red Bull, is narrated from the perspective of the old Silverdome, which closed in 2006. The narrator says, “Forty years ago I stood for Detroit. I held the action. I owned the prize fighting. I brought the champions and the chanting crowds. And I kept the lights bright. Until the dust settled, and sat quiet, till now.”
Michigan-native Tyler Fernengel, a professional BMX rider, was approached by Red Bull with the idea of riding through the desolate Pontiac Silverdome. With a close connection to the arena, he took that opportunity.
The 19-year-old, now living in California, grew up racing Supercross as a young boy at the Silverdome, and hasn’t been there since he was 11.
He tells WWJ’s Zahra Huber that coming back to ride through the arena was “surreal.”
“It’s completely abandoned and it’s crazy. You go into the offices and it literally looks like someone was working and just got up and left, left their pen and paper. It’s just kind of an eerie feeling,” said Fernengel.
The video features Fernengel riding through the concourse, to the roof of the Silverdome, and all the way down to what’s left of the turf. But believe it or not, the hardest part was not all the tricks and jumps, it was working early mornings in cooler weather for four 12-hour days in April.
“The hardest part was being up at 9 a.m. riding. My body was just not used to being that up early. And it was also only a high of 50 degrees at the highest. Usually it was in the 40’s. And I had to wear a t-shirt everyday,” said Fernengel.
Fernengel says he will always be a Michigander at heart.