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RioBash changed my life.

Updated: Sep 19, 2023

Being newer to the midwest drift scene I didn’t have a chance to meet Jake Rio. Yet, Jake changed my life. The first Rio Bash in October 2018 at USair Motorsports was my first drift event that I attended. Having always had an interest in cars, and like many grew an interest in drifting from Fast and Furious, Tokyo Drift. I had just bought my Sony A6000, my first camera purchase in a decade, after a six year hiatus from photography. Didn’t know what I wanted to photograph at that time, I just knew that I needed to pick up a camera again.

I didn’t learn why the event name changed from a regular drift day to Rio Bash until I got there. At first it was all of these bright colored cars that I’d never seen in person lined up on the track, and Lemonade by Gucci Mane on repeat coming from multiple cars. A bunch of people began to gather by the balcony of the advanced course. Then a ClubFR staff member began to talk to the crowd. That's when I learned that RioBash was in memory of Jake. I was surrounded by cars, watching people come together for this kid that was only a year younger than myself, talking about mental health, throwing up middle fingers with yellow gloves on in Jake’s memory. I have never been around a community like this, I felt like I was home, I fell in love.

It took that one event to fall in love with drifting, USair Motorsports, ClubFR and with photography again. That one event changed so much more than I could have ever imagined. Seeing a community come together like a family for one person, openly discussing mental health awareness, men discussing mental health, breaking a huge stigma. Seeing Jake’s mom, Jeanie, become basically the Midwest

drift mom.. She started #checkonyourfriends which has gone global. Jeanie practices what she preaches, she checks in on Jake’s friends and even newcomers like myself on a regular basis.

I used to absolutely hate the color yellow. Now when I see yellow, especially a yellow heart it's a reminder to check on my friends, my own mental health and thankful for Jake and Jeanie. I wish I wouldn’t have been so afraid to attend an event alone, but wish I could have taken photos of Jake driving and goofing around in the pits, but if it wasn’t for RioBash starting, I may haven’t have fallen in love with drifting as easily. I wouldn’t have been led to this point in my life of feeling like I now know my purpose and what real happiness feels like.

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