Let’s examine famous Raifords throughout history both near and far.
Broc is a small-town Louisiana kid who chased his BMX dreams to California in 2013. His bike talent assures he’s part of the BMX Street riding future. He links tricks with manuals and nose manuals, can barspin in and out of grind combos and has a massive bunnyhop (50 inches!) that gets him to obstacles others can’t touch. He’s ambidextrous with grinding, barspins and tailwhips, a huge advantage. His ender part for the Volume Bikes video “The Finer Things” and an April 2016 Ride BMX video feature have BMX insiders considering him a podium favorite in Austin. A creative type, he hopes to someday become a tattoo artist.
- 1st place at 2015 Mongoose Jam (Woodward West, Aug. 2015)
- 1st place at 2015 Vital Game of BIKE (July 2015)
- Ender part in 2015 Volume Bikes team video “The Finer Things.”
- “Ride BMX Pro Part: Broc Raiford” video released April 2016.
- The news recently reported he will deliver some signature products this coming year. You can only imagine what someone like Broc sells a person?
Whether it was his outrageous attire — perhaps a gold-sequined vest underneath a long black cape, or maybe it was an all-white suit topped with a natty fedora — or his signature Cadillac, American flags flapping in the breeze, Robert Raiford was a man people noticed.
That suited him just fine.
“I may be coming down Main Street and they’ll say, ‘Who is that? Oh, wow. That’s somebody. That’s got to be some movie star or somebody or other. He’s not the brokest person on Earth. He’s got some style. He’s got some class about him,” Mr. Raiford told The Commercial Appeal in 1997. “If you go out there and look at my cars, they both are nice-looking cars, but each one of those cars got their own style. If I can put the flags on the one and make it a little different and make people look at it, that’s all I want.”
Raiford Starke was lead cowboy in the band of an Indian chief, becoming a legend among the Seminole. He’s left Virginia, worked oil fields in Texas and hocked his guitar in Memphis. He’s played festivals in Europe and Oklahoma and has sat around the campfire picking with some of music’s greats. He could drop names if he wanted to. Touring a personal circuit around the big lake and along the fringes of the Everglades, his career is off the grid. Raiford Starke might play “Freebird” for you, but he won’t tweet.
A Professor of Cinema and Media Studies at the Media School, Indiana University. I am also a Founding Principal Editor with the Journal of Visual Culture and co-edit the MIT Press Game Histories Book Series with Henry Lowood.