words (also) by Dakota
To the uninitiated, Slaughterama might appear at first glance something akin to Snake’s post-apocalyptic world in “Escape from New York.” But cut a little deeper and you’ll notice that there are kids on every sort of bike (of the non-motor variety) and there is far too much beer flying for this to be anything resembling a penal colony. Or rather, to some, Slaughterama might just be your own personal little slice of hell, but for these kids, it is nothing short of eutopia.
Lo and behold DC, your little cousin to the south: Richmond, VA. Seat of the south. Saddle Sores. Cutthroats. Vomit Squad. And no, these are not descriptions of the city, these are the names of some of Richmond’s famous bike gangs. Read on! These are not the biker gangs of your fathers generation, as in your friendly neighborhood Hell’s Angels chapter. Rather, these are non-motorcycle bike gangs, whereby “hardcore” is more a description of members commitment to a vegan diet than it is any kind of description of behavior. Unless you’re talking about “hardcore” on a day that happens to be Slaughterama, in which case hardcore might be an apt description of the resolve of participants in their quests to get, well, fucked up.
Once a year, the bike gangs Cutthroats chapter of Richmond host Slaughterama on Belle Isle, a small island just a short walk across a very narrow and sometimes scary, suspended walking bridge made of cement and dangling precariously from an overpass by steel cables. Google Slaughterama and you will find no centralized website, no planning committee, no dates for next years event. It is without a doubt, the single greatest anarchic event (a “happening” if you will), I have ever witnessed or been a part of.
Slaughterama seems to exist and proliferate remarkably, by nature of it’s lack of organization. Organization or appropriation of this event would surely lead to liability — I think it’s safe to say that being in the presence of this event poses more risk of bodily harm than sticking your hand in a garbage disposal. At Slaughterama, only your self-inflicted pain shall set you apart as legend, whether it be in bike jousting, spaghetti wrestling or just plain old drinking yourself into a sun-stroked, dehydrated and delirious stupor. Ambulances were a-plenty.
These are just some of my humble observations of the event as an outsider, this description is meant only to contextualize what is mainly a post dedicated to photography — photos that to an outside observer (such as myself, one not from Richmond) necessitate explanation. The pictures will surely go to great lengths to convey to you of the momentousness of this yearly occurrence. Please feel free to correct my description of this event in the comments section below. Ahoy Richmond! I hereby pledge my fealty to you…
First up, photos by Dakota:
and then some more images courtesy of Richmond’s own, David Kenedy:
To see more BYT-Richmond love see our post from Best Friends Day last year…