VITAE / JEREMY PRACH
Words By Sophia Branen
Imagery Matt Milanowski / Sophia Branen
In the 1980's punk rock scene, wreaking havoc was a prerequisite characteristic. Jeremy Prach and his band mates had a slogan before each show, “The crowd is the enemy.” As an entertainer, the goal was to perform with a high level of chaos, while captivating the audience. His chaos reigned throughout the U.S., from New York City to LA with a few boarder crossings into Canada, opening for Green Day, Jimmie Eat World, And They Will Know Us by the Trail of the Dead. This was pre-internet, booking every tour over the phone or by writing letters. Jeremy says that “This DIY ethos is part of me”.
Jeremy claims his history with motorcycling began with stock car racing. In 1996, on his 22nd birthday, his wife surprised him with a ticket to a drag race on a dirt track. He was immediately taken-in and eventually bought a drag car for $1,200, which launched his addiction to racing. Winning features fed that addiction until his absence at family events caught up to him. Jeremy decided to take a break from such a fast-paced lifestyle and start a family of his own, which gave him a son, Loyal.
On Loyal's first day of kindergarten, Jeremy's long time friend, Dave Kilkenny, brought over a 50cc. Loyal jumped right on and they've been hooked as a family ever since. When the 50 was in need of repair, Jeremy would swing by Moto-Scoot and troubleshoot with owner and professional motorcycle racer, Andy Mauk. Jeremy was pleased with Andy's views on capitalism – ‘Do what you love, if it makes a few bucks, great. If not, well that’s ok too.
As Loyal’s amateur career in racing ramped up, Jeremy admits that all too often they got into a routine of arguing while prepping for a heat. Any parent who has a child involved in motorcycle racing can conceivably agree that there is this intense amount of stress involved, often the parent’s stress rivals the child’s. Jeremy’s insight led him to take a step back, recognizing that his roll as a father could be more beneficial by helping out with flagging, scorekeeping and promotion. He began to take notice of the big picture and wrote notes on how he might make the events better. Over the years his confidence and motivation to start his own race event grew.
Paralleling that time, founders of Milwaukee's Mama Tried Motorcycle Show, Warren Heir Jr. and Scott Johnson were organizing their third year of the show. At a local diner with Scott, Jeremy proposed his idea of hosting an indoor flat track event in an arena the Friday before the weekend show. Jeremy emphasizes that “Your anticipation that it's Friday and 'I'm gonna party' is more fun than the party -- so Flat Out Friday encapsulates that Mama Tried is coming and Friday night we’re gonna party.” And just like that, Jeremy and Scott agreed on a partnership
At $600 a load of dirt with an estimated 280 truck loads, a dirt track inside of an arena didn't seem reasonable. After doing some research, Jeremy ran across the history of racing bikes and go-karts on soda pop. As a light layer of syrup is sprayed over concrete, a gummy surface is formed, allowing a rubber tire to grip a tighter turn and reach maximum speed. Alas, the plan to place over 300 motorcycles around a 120 foot loop (inside cone to inside cone) of Dr. Pepper was born!
Since the idea of Flat out Friday first came about in 2014, Jeremy has held strong to his philosophy of never wanting a race to be pedestrian… old… or 'moldy'. Recognizing that in the world of entertainment your time is limited, he wants to maintain the feeling that anything can happen at any time. During rider's meetings, he keeps his rules loose and emphasizes that Flat Out Friday is about experiencing the unexpected-together, it’s about building the community. Each heat is a 'living and breathing organism' circulating the track in unison.
Now managing 13 classes, ranging from Four Stroke Brakeless, to Boonie, to Open Hooligan, Jeremy focuses in on his goal to create chaos. As a racer, he hurls you into the center of an arena where the space is limited and the energy is overwhelmingly numbing. By throwing in 13 other acts that stir the crowd and riders who are notorious for never-ending burnouts, it's safe to say that Jeremy has succeeded at reaching his goal.
He claims that “It's easy to play loud. To throw a firebomb, if you will. That's easy chaos. But to captivate the audience, to scare them – that's what I'm going for. To use Flat Out Friday as a vehicle to do that, I guess seems natural.”