“On labor Day weekend 2011, I went down to visit my good friend JT at the Lake of the Ozarks just as I had done every year for the past 20 years. When I got there JT and Todd Beckman were in the pool and JT was excited about racing. He asked me what it would take for me to do my thing and help him do all the marketing for the comeback of Big Thunder Motorsports and Marina, which he had just recently invested in with it’s former owner Bob Morgan. They were going to race Key West and wanted to blow it up in a big way. Within a hour we were on the way to the shop to pay for the 4 new 1400 HP motors that were coming in that day for the big race and the cameras started rolling. This was the first time I was going to take on a entire project of this magnitude by myself. Starting with initial layouts of the print promotional items, which I had been doing for years, to all the high resolution photography in order to produce the pieces.
We went down to the Lake in October to shoot the guys and boat. Big Thunder didn’t have the motors in it yet, so we decided to shoot it on the trailer out in front of Nauti Marine, were it was being dialed in for the race. I first shot Bob and JT in the shop using an old work light and then went outside to shoot the boat on the trailer from the roof of my truck.
It was funny when Bob saw the pencil layout of the poster that we were going for he said… “Well why can’t we just use that drawing, so we don’t have to take my picture?” JT laughed and let Bob borrow his sunglasses for the final Shot. He said, “Here put these on and smile, KP is going to make us famous.” Little did I know that the portraits I was taking that day would be their last and later would be used for so much. After designing, producing and printing the signature cards and posters, we made a viral video and started virally promoting Big Thunder’s Come Back throughout the internet.
The plan was to go to Key West to capture the story and make a movie about the comeback of Big Thunder Motorsports. I was to take photos and videos of the entire adventure, then come back and help start a complete new branding and marketing plan for the Race Team and Marina as well. Unfortunately Big Thunder Flipped during the first race and took Bob and JT’s lives. I continued filming and posting throughout the entire ordeal as JT had asked. The art created for the promotional items has now been used on their resting places as well as memorial items and tributes around the country. The project is on going and probably will be for the rest of my life. I have hours of raw video and 1000’s of pictures from the trip and will be producing and movie about as soon as I have the capital and capabilities to do so. I am very proud to have my work and art being used to tribute these 2 great men… RIP 100!” - Kevin Pyles The Prez