4th Grade and Kelly Baker

Homemade splint...

This particular photo takes place in the Pittsburgh in the summer of 2007, at a bike comp. The two people in this photo are none other that Kelly Baker, and one Ben Bean, AKA 4th grade. 4th’s nickname was given to him as a joke, about his level of proficiency with reading and writing. He embraced this joke, and is now widely known, and simply as 4th grade. Kelly is nothing short of a legend… Any rate, as seen above in said photo, 4th is practicing balancing beers on his ever growing beer gut, and Kelly is showing off his homemade splint for his freshly broken hand. This particular splint consisted of a 6mm allen wrench and toilet paper,he also has a butterfly stitch above his eye.

The day was billed as an old school Dirt jump comp with corporate sponsorship , at a friends house, who also had ramps and non contest style jumps, so we drove down from new york, to ride, hang out with friends, and have a good time. The only problem was that rained… and that meant 2 things, Beer consumption and restlessness. Midway through the afternoon, amidst scattered storms, and attempts to ride, Kelly managed to drink at least a 12 pack, likely more, and smoked a bowl out by the contest hucker, at which point, he simply said ‘“ ‘fuck it’, and tried jumping the 30 foot virgin dirt monster, sinking in to the soft landing, flying over the bars, and KO-ing himself. Within an hour he was walking around, pounding beers, half dazed, and mostly hammered. No big deal.

The part of this story not shown in this pic, is how the contest site/ residence turned into a campsite, with dozens of tents and hammered bikers. At some point we were all hammered, 4th grade had gone out on a beer run, and Kelly had passed out for the night in the driveway on a childrens foam swimming pool mat type thing. People were scattered all about, sleeping where ever…

At this point, 4th grade comes back from his beer run, after most people are already done. and Kelly is sleeping right in the Driveway, as he’s pulling in. Some people are cautiously watching the driver coming down the driveway, not sure who it is, and not sure if the sleeping body, or the driver are aware of each other. The answer is NO, and Kelly wakes up screaming under the car, and somehow pops up from underneath, pounding the car, yelling ,’pull it over, Pull over dude, you just ran me over….’. everyone knows Kelly is a badass, so no one is sure how serious the situation is, or if he is hurt at all. Out of the SUV pops 4th grade proclaiming apologetically, ‘holy shit dude, I thought I cleared you..’ to which Kelly replies ‘well YOU FUCKING DIDN’T…’ several exchanges were made, and it eventually the situation diffused itself. Kelly, with a broken hand, stitches, a swollen eye, and now freshly runover by an SUV, simply states- ‘dude, that foam pad totally saved my life….’ In the distance, a man known as ‘˜English Pete’ can be heard yelling ‘4th grade, you’d like to just run over a legend in an auto…’ in a strong english accent, and we all fell asleep laughing.

Steve Crandall

Coffee sipping pilot of a red FBM frame and a Nikon camera.