OTA Looks back on 2016

What started on the frigid steps of the Cathedral of St. Paul ended on the frigid streets of downtown Breckenridge, Colorado last week. With the final two skies flying off the Jersey barrier and onto Main Street, the 2016 event production season was in the books for Out of the Ash Productions.

Knotching a third full year on its belt, the OTA crew saw, yet again, another season of miraculous feats, fast cars, massive crowds, and insane projects. “It’s pretty damn remarkable what we get to witness year in and year out,” OTA owner David Unterreiner says. “Being there to bring all the facets of a production together is fun in itself. Then to have the opportunity to watch whoever is doing what with the thing we just built makes it all worth it, no matter how cold or hot or miserable or hungry or sleep-deprived we’ve been while building it.”

OTA’s year started in St. Paul, Minnesota with the year’s biggest event, Red Bull Crashed Ice, an event produced and managed by Hangman Productions. Working under Hangman Productions on a number of projects throughout the year provides an avenue for OTA to witness massive builds, gigantic crowds, and unique feats. In addition to Red Bull Crashed Ice, Hangman Productions brought Red Bull Cliff Diving and Red Bull Flugtag to the table.

“What we get to build on Hangman events is remarkable, especially in St. Paul. Building a downhill ice track off the face of a majestic cathedral, over open and active public roads, in the dead of winter, on the coldest street on earth is far more impressive than what the athletes actually do on it once its built,” Unterreiner says. “The same could be said about Flugtag. Watching ordinary people try to fly with homemade crafts is fun, but its not as fun as building a flight deck on a barge.”

Red Bull Cliff Diving is a different story. At Possum Kingdom Lake in Texas, the Hangman crew constructs a diving platform on Devil’s Island 92′ above the water in Hell’s Cove. The boat-access only event sees the world’s best divers compete in a televised international competition in front of thousands of boats. “The build on that one is impressive and loads of fun, but it’s unique in that what the athletes are doing is far more impressive. Those men and women on that tour are a different breed. Truly amazing athletes.”

The 2016 season saw OTA come together with States and Kingdom Productions in downtown Detroit for Red Bull HartLines, in Pomona, Ca for Red Bull Straight Rhythm, and in North Carolina, Los Angeles, and Seattle for Red Bull Global Rally Cross.

HartLines might be my favorite event of the year. I love being in downtown Detroit. The people and culture in Detroit right now is one that we vibe well with,” Unterreiner said. “Ryan Sheckler has been able to capsulate that vibe into competition. It’s the only competition we work where the athletes are right in the mix with the general public. If you’re a skateboard fan in Detroit, this event is a dream come true. The world’s best skaters are simply playing around in Hart Plaza with the locals all week. Very, very unique and very cool.”

OTA joined Big Mountain Events in 2016 as well, helping to produce Dew Tour in Breckenridge and managing the Hanuman Festival in Boulder, Colorado.

Perhaps the most unique project of the year was turning a massive field into an inaugural music festival in Buena Vista, Co for the first ever Vertex Festival. “When we got there it was simply a couple massive fields with a creek running through them and a spectacular backdrop of mountains,” OTA employee Tarik Berrada said. “How it become a circus in two weeks….I don’t really remember, but it did. And it had everything. And it was my favorite place. Then we had to tear it all down.”

WiffleWorld, an OTA-owned event, saw dramatic growth in 2016, tripling tournament registration and increasing public attendance by 400% with two championship tournaments. The winter of 2016 also brought the exciting news that WiffleWorld will be adding a third tournament in 2017 at a new location near Cleveland, Ohio. WiffleWorld’s Director of Operations, Chuck Chandler, says bringing the charity tournament to the North Coast is a great addition for the city.

“The fields we’re looking at for 2017 are immaculate, the setting is astonishing, the people are amped, we couldn’t have picked a better spot for expansion,” Chandler says. “There is going to be a new King of Cleveland come late July and it won’t be Lebron unless Lebron shows up and hits a bunch of dingers.”

2017 projects include a unique and massive community clean-up production near Durango, Colorado, further travels into the world of music festivals, and a new logistics wing to the OTA profile.

“I love it all, each and every event,” says OTA employee Jesse Mueller. “That said, the best part of the year is probably being in-between projects and anticipating a phone call. Your imagination is wandering, what could possibly be next?”

“Who know’s what’s next,” says Unterreiner. “If I had it my way, we’d be jumping a dirt bike into space by the end of July. I need NASA to get their shit together though. In the meantime, we’ll be playing wiffleball and building the next thing we didn’t imagine we’d ever build.”