No Hate Tour Brings High-Flying Moves and Anti-Bullying Message to ESHS

X Games Star Koji Kraft flies through the air above Dr. Sara Wickham (photo Brody Hurla).

On Thursday, the No Hate “Anti-Bullying” Tour wheeled their way into Excelsior Springs High School with their BMX stunts and tricks. The X Games Pros, including Oscar Marquez, Koji Kraft, Dane Beardsley, and Zach Yankush, turned the high school gym into their own personal playground. A large vertical ramp dominated one end of the gym, and in the middle was a double-sided ramp. The setup was perfect for the show, allowing them to perform all sorts of BMX tricks. From backflips, 360s, and everything in between, it proved a great show as students roared with excitement after every trick. 

The double ramp served as more than just an area for stunts; it also provided a stage for frontman Zach Yankush to connect to students and talk to them about taking bullying seriously. Yankush shared his personal experiences with bullying and how he dealt with it. “We dealt with a lot of hate in the early days,” He explained about the start of the No Hate Tour, “a lot of haters were skeptical of our message, and at points, it discouraged us.”

Students definitely weren't hating the awesome tricks (photo Mackenzie Cole).

Dane Beardsley spoke about issues he dealt with when he was younger, recalling a specific story when he was 11. “They always told me I was never good enough.” Having always wanted to be a pro-BMX biker since he was little, he said those words cut deep but also served as motivation. “I wish they could all be here now to see how far I’ve come.” His story seemed to strike a chord with the crowd, which broke into thunderous applause in support of his message. The group asked students in the crowd questions about what everyone’s passions were, encouraging them to pursue their passion before they launched into their finale. 

After a few more high-flying stunts, Yankush scanned the crowd, searching for a willing participant, eventually landing on Excelsior Springs High School Principal Dr. Sara WIckham, bringing her out onto the floor. Wickham looked more than a little nervous when she was placed in what Yankush called “the hot seat” atop the double ramp.  She hesitantly took her spot atop the middle ramp in a folded plastic chair where Koji Kraft launched high into the air, jumping straight over her head. Students went wild as the No Hate Tour came to a close.

Did this awesome show actually leave a mark on the students? Did the words from Yankush, Beardsley, Marquez, and Kraft make the bullies think twice about their actions? The school was buzzing with energy, and it looked like everyone had a blast watching the high-flying tricks and listening to the real, raw stories. But will this energy change how students treat each other, or was it just a fun break from classes? We can only hope that the messages got through to everyone and that the No Hate Tour made a real difference here.

Look Ma, no hands! (photo Mackenzie Cole).

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