Grand Canyon's Bad-Boy Mountain Bikers From '95 Shutdown Still Best Closure Violation Tale

Twenty-one people have been cited for violating the shutdown-related closure at Grand Canyon National Park, but none appear to have topped the 1995 adventure of the "Sedona 5."

We're still waiting to view the paperwork on the 21 suspected scofflaws, hoping their tales of idiotic bravado are worthy of relating to you. In the meantime, we invite you to take a trip down memory trail, back to the 1995 shutdown of the federal government which also involved a long, painful closure of the Grand Canyon. (Then-Governor Fife Symington sent in the National Guard as potential replacements for the furloughed park workers, but the feds rejected his offer.)

Mountain biking is always forbidden below the Grand Canyon's rim. But a contingent of five avid mountain bikers from Sedona decided the closure was the perfect opportunity for the adventure of a lifetime, and on November 19, 1995 set off -- loaded on pot and 'shrooms -- down the North Kaibab trail.

See also: -The Sedona 5's Excellent Adventure

- Grand Canyon Open (For Now)

Naturally, they soon ended up busted by rangers and charged with federal misdemeanors. Their mountain bikes were confiscated permanently.

Here's an excerpt from ex-New Times scribe David Holthouse's gnarly tale of the ill-advised misadventure:

Rama and Long Tall came down the trail next, followed a few minutes later by Dangerous Dave and Forest. Forest had recently suffered his third flat tire of the day, and Dave had stayed behind to help him patch the tear. As the pair came down the trail, Dave was popping a wheelie, and Forest was playfully "bunny-hopping" his bike. The two were showing off for their friends, whom they thought were simply taking a rest break.

"After that last flat tire, I got to cruisin' and I saw them pulled off on the side of the trail and I rode up and I was like, 'Yeah! Is this awesome, or what?'" recalls Forest. "And then I saw this lady with her mouth to a walkie-talkie and she was like, 'Two more.'"

The tale of the five men was picked up by news agencies countrywide; some viewed them as "folk heroes" for their mischievous deed.

We can't tell you what all the members of the Sedona 5 are doing these days, but a quick 'net search shows "Dangerous Dave" continues to practice chiropractic medicine in Sedona. "Ramajon," (Jonathan Cogan) still owns Sedona's Mountain Bike Heaven shop, is the president of the Sedona Mountain Biking Club, and recently self-published a book about his two decades of hitting the bumps with northern Arizona's hardcore biking community.

"You will even get to re-live the most publicized of all Gnarly Crew adventures, The Sedona 5's ride in the Grand Canyon," says Cogan's blurb.

Some people viewed the bicyclists' actions dimly, though, as New Times' reactions to the 1996 article attest.

"What you did was take a juvenile romp through the national forest," Rubin Bennett of Mesa scolded the Five. "You say that our laws are unfair, but you're too lazy to get off your butts and make an effort to change them. You deserved everything you got and more."

If we find any modern iterations of the "Sedona 5," you'll be the first to know.

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.