You will rarely hear me complain about my job. I love the sport of bobsledding and the chance to fly down on ice at 90+ mph with three other guys. I’ve tried to describe the exhilarating feeling of a bobsled ride, but unless you’ve experienced a trip yourself, my words won’t do the minute of excitement any justice. On top of that, I get to travel the world competing for the greatest country in the world, the United States of America.
There are some small cons to go with all the pros of the sport. For one obvious point, we have to compete in the cold. I know, I know. You can’t have the sport without ice and you need cold to have ice. But that doesn’t mean that I have to enjoy being an outdoor winter athlete. Second, although a bobsled ride may look smooth on TV, it is anything but gentle. The suspension-less sleds bounce and shake and realign your spine and body every time they fly down the 15+ curve tracks. So by the end of a season (I just finished my 7th season), I’m pretty sore and beat-up. My knees and back ache enough to put me in a temporary bad mood.
But the end of the season also brings the opportunities that don’t happen during the season. At the end of the year, we like to treat supporters and sponsors that have helped us along the way with passenger rides. Now anyone can go to either Park City, Utah or Lake Placid, NY and purchase a ride down either of the tracks. But only a select few get to ride with the actual national bobsled team from the top of the track in our top racing sled.
In my career, I’ve been a part of several celebrity passenger rides. The list of some of the most notable people include Paul Jr. and Paul Sr. Teutul of the Orange County Choppers (Mikey didn’t think he was up for it), Admiral Mike Mullen Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, surfer Laird Hamilton, hockey all-star Chris Chelios, Baltimore Ravens’ coaches Jon Harbaugh and Cam Cameron, as well as many others. I’ve even given rides to local Nebraska bobsled supporters. Last week my bobsled driver, Steve Holcomb and I gave rides to NASCAR driver Tony Stewart and Congressman Adrian Smith from Nebraska.
Yes, it’s great to have the opportunity to meet such a wide range of celebrities, politicians, and athletes. But the moment we get to the bottom of the hill and they attempt to step out of the sled, I am reminded of how fortunate I am. Everyone’s reaction is priceless. Some have to take a few minutes to be able to speak again, some have to wipe the slobber and spit off their face as they take their helmets off, and others have to focus just to blink. No matter how calm and cool they seemed at the top of the track, everyone is completely transformed into an excited little kid at the bottom. I’m sure the next day, their necks and backs are a little sore, but the inerasable smiles on the faces make it worth it.
Therefore, I’m certain that the greatest perk of my job is to witness those smiles knowing that I get to do it every day.
Click here to hear Curt talk about his success and family corn farmers in Nebraska.