It says something profound about Tacoma that the talk of the town this week is not the news of a major remodeling planned at the Pantages Theater.
Nor is it the U.S. premiere of a major classical music piece by a Portuguese composer, to be performed by the Tacoma Symphony.
And it’s definitely not the major redesign of your daily newspaper — not even with a new Page 2 pinup photo of Tacoma’s most dashing columnist. (Sorry, it ain’t you, Driscoll and LaRue.)
No, this week’s big buzz can be summed up in seven words:
You gotta see the truck porn, bro!
An eight-minute video has gone viral on the Interwebs, showing world-famous trophy-truck racer BJ Baldwin shredding the empty streets of Tacoma with 800 horsepower of bro-vado. It’s definitely not a street-legal rig, and the video is drawing dudes out of their man caves like dogs to a whistle.
As much as some bluebloods would like to believe Tacoma is a city of arts and letters, reality tells us something else.
The “T” in T-Town stands for testosterone.
Local economic development and tourism leaders must know this, because they’re pursuing the high-fivin’ white guy market with bro-dacious gusto.
In an unprecedented series of street closures, city honchos let Baldwin and his crew take over downtown and the Hilltop for two days in late September.
The people of Tacoma were really gracious in letting us run wild, and really test my Toyo tires in the urban jungle.
BJ Baldwin, trophy-truck driver and Internet star
Seattle reportedly said “no way, hombres” to the video shoot. And it took some persuasion before Tacoma chieftains said “go for it, amigos.”
“It’s a good way to highlight Tacoma in a way we never would’ve thought of,” Kala Dralle, one of the persuaders, said in September. She coordinates special events and film permits for the city.
Yo, Kala, you should get an official city brah-clamation for your foresight. Maybe a citation in the Encyclopedia Bro-tannica.
Tacoma is trading high class for trucks that drive fast. Seems like a sweet deal to us, bro.
Bro-ciopathic behavior: Props to Baldwin for doing a solid for our city. (Though it’s lame that he drives a Chevy truck instead of a Tacoma.)
His last video sensation, “Recoil 2,” placed him in Mexico, driving like a madman to the beach while racing a helicopter full of women in bikinis.
So what did he do for an encore in “Recoil 3?”
Watch him fly down 21st Street like a bat out of hell, or a UWT student late for class.
See him leave smoke and skidmarks while spinning brodies on the cable-stayed bridge.
And check out the gnarly air he catches doing jumps at the Tacoma Dome, both inside and outside.
(The video producers) really stepped up and provided enough insurance and assurance that they were going to be careful. The guy is an amazing stunt driver. He can stop on a dime.
Kala Dralle, city of Tacoma special events department
With publicity like this, Tacoma could become a destination for doughnuts. And we don’t mean the kind you buy at Pao’s, Frank’s or Krispy Kreme.
The city is positioned to be a bro-hemia for male adventure tourists. They’d be stoked for a chance to jump their tricked-out Chevys over the steps at Tollefson Plaza, like Baldwin did.
And will anyone notice if they do?
Embrace your inner dude: C’mon, Tacoma. Let’s double down on this fast and furious action while promoting all the bro-mantic getaways our city already offers.
A posse of bachelors could spend a day at the Bull’s Eye shooting range, Dream Girls at Fox’s and the Emerald Queen Casino.
And if the party goes off the rails, there’s no end of bondsmen within a few blocks of the jail to help the fellas post bail.
Then sober up enough for a visit to the LeMay car museum.
And don’t forget, only 64 days until Monster Jam 2016!
Fist bump. Chest bump. Drop the mic. Out.
What the dudes paid for their joy ride:
▪ $33,000 to rent the T-Dome.
▪ $400 for neighborhood notice of road closures.
▪ $300 for permit to use Tollefson Plaza.
▪ $100 for city film permit.
▪ Unknown amount for WSDOT, FAA and Sound Transit permits. Also, Tacoma police road and traffic control.
▪ Unknown amount to insure and clean up after themselves.
What the city gained in bromeister street cred: Priceless.
At least we’re not a village: A Washington Post writer last week wrote a story about the national $15 minimum-wage movement. She ended with a few observations about Tacoma’s election results favoring a $12 minimum wage.
Her analysis was fine. But she tweaked our beak by calling us the “town” of Tacoma.
The story has since been fixed online to acknowledge Tacoma’s cityhood — a gesture of respect that we never expected from the writer.
According to her tagline, she’s from Seattle.
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