One fine Winter day I was out showing homes in Tucson Arizona. It’s what I do.
My client, Jennifer Steinmann was driving as I rode out to meet her at a house that was 20 miles from my office. I was on a tight schedule but Jen asked to see one more home while we were on that side of town. This put me behind schedule so she was giving me a lift back to The Loop. I rarely get in the car if I can ride, but fate had a different plan for me.
To get me back to the Loop Jen should have turned on Pantano, but destiny pulled her wheel in another direction. She took a right on Prudence and drove straight into a Viral video. A single Javelina was trotting on the side of the road. Actually, it was more of a sprint. Jen matched it’s speed and my years of shooting photos and video were put to the test. Fortunately, my hand was steady and the Javelina was in the center of the frame.
I knew as soon as I captured the video it was something special and had the potential to go viral. I felt that because I’ve interacted with hundreds of Javelinas over the years. I’ve seen them run, but it is usually only for a few seconds to get distance between from whatever spooked them. As soon as they have some distance, the entire troop turns and watches for whatever startled them. They typically will watch for a few moments and then go about looking for a succulent prickly pear to gnaw on and forget the entire ordeal ever happened. This video was unique. There was so much open space to run. There was nowhere to hid. This was the Usain Bolt of Javelinas crushing the world record. It was a Javelina specimen, in it’s prime, on the world stage, with a solid tail wind. It was the hand of the great God of luck, when preparation meets hard work.
I posted the video on Facebook with my Logo at the end. As expected it started to get a few dozen shares. I’ve seen this pattern before with other videos I’ve shared. Some have had nearly a million shares and I thought this would do the same. My friend Kevin Goldstein shared it on a page called “Weird Stuff you’ll Only See in/near Tucson. Almost immediately the number doubled and the next morning had 170 shares. I also sent it to a few of my local news contacts. KVOA and KOLD ran news stories on it.
Something else made it go Viral so fast and I will acknowledge it, but also can’t help but say how disappointed I am in KOLD’s Hannah Tiebe. She shared the video, but edited the video without permission, cut off my signature, shared it and gave no photo credit. From a reporter I think this is bad form. That said, that tweet did help in creating a plethora of videos and memes and now has had 7.5 million views.
A licensing company called ViralHog reached out to me about licensing the video. For years I have given my images and videos away. I love that people enjoy them, and I was not really interested. However, I was getting dozens of emails asking to use it and it was so overwhelming I decided it would be easier to just let someone else handle it. Also, they are called Viral Hog. It was again providence calling. I mean, is anything more perfect than a viral Hog for ViralHog. I’m still waiting for them to start using the video as the cornerstone of all their marekting.
I think the best part of having a video go viral is the people who see it and reach out to you. It’s not uncommon for me to talk with my Uncle John and Aunt Fran in Telluride. But to get a call with them spouting off incoherently that I’m on TV was awesome and an indication of how big this was getting. They saw it on Chris Hayes of MSNBC. Chris Hayes Thing One, Thing Two Video They said they saw the video on Facbook I posted, but did not realize I was the one who shot the video.
Just like My family calling, I’ve heard so many stories from friends and random people that the video has brought them closer to people they know outside of Tucson. Since it mentions Tucson in most every article, people all over the world are reaching out to friends in Tucson to talk about the Sprinting Javelina. It has changed the dialogue for a few seconds away from CoronaVirus and politics at a time we all needed a distraction, and has built community as a by product.
With all viral videos there is that glorious moment in the sun only to be replaced by the next great thing, a Lama at a wedding in a tuxedo. But the good buy song for the Javelina Running is just as dazzling as a Tucson Sunset. Everyday new sound tracts are being added to the video, and I keep getting calls about being a part of something so viral. KVOA is running a segment on it, The New York Times, AZ Daily star, AZ Central and many others are still doing more articles. On Tuesday, March 10th at 7 AM I’ll be co-hosting the 92.9 morning show.
Tonight a friend, Paige Redman, shared a photo I took of her at the Mussleman Crit last week with this in the comments “📸 @bikepilgrim the famous guy who took the video of the javalina!”. Tonight on my ride in Sabino Canyon for The Santa Catalina Volunteer Patrol I heard some cyclist chatting a hundred feet back. I thought they said my name so I was listening and one said, “you know, the guy who shot the Javalina Video.” Yesterday I had a call to come out and meet a family selling their house. I Asked how they found me and they said “Javelina Video”.
It’s a little like my birthday, as each day I get a new present in the form of more creative interpretations. The creator of Action Movie Kid put together this gem. Action Movie Kids
Many people have said I am “famous”. Some have asked if this video will define me as a person. Is it the high water mark? This video has garnished more attention than any “one” thing I have done. However, I’ve been selling real estate and volunteering in the community for 24 years and have had my image plastered on billboards, in the newspapers and on the news. If you compare my exiting reach vs. the Javelina video I have had 10 times or as much exposure over the years from cycling, nature, and real estate. However, this one is special.
It has been one of the funnest things I’ve ever been a part of and I’m so thrilled that my video has captured world wide attention and brought considerable attention to The Old Pueblo.
Below are just a few of the places the video has been shared.
Someone created a page of twitter of the Javelina running to different soundtracks. There have been millions of views. Some of the more popular tweets have been to the music Led Leppelin – Immigration Song with 182,000 views, Queens – Don’t stop me now with 332,000 views, Cranberries – The Dream with 252,000, Grimes – Oblivion 740,000, Tracy Chapman – Fast Car 330,000, The succession Theme Song 154,000, Vangelis- Chariots Of Fire 77,000, Judas Priest- Breaking The Law with 280,000, John Denver- Take Me Home, Country Roads 170,000, My favorite, Cake – The Distance, 115,000,, Kate Bush- Running Up That Hill 600,000, Bonnie Tyler- Holding Out For A Hero 251.000, Florence + The Machine- Dog Days Are Over 540,000, Bruce Springsteen- Born to Run 225,000, , Bonnie Tyler- Holding Out For A Hero 251,000, Check them all out here Javelina Running to on Twitter
News Agencies have covered it from Coast to coast and many small town papers in between.
Click on the links below for the full article.
I was going to share the links of each TV affiliate who shared the video, but there are hundreds. Most CBS affilaes across the county showed it. At first I was coping links, but most said the same thing, but it was fascinating to see every corner of the nation tuning in. From WILX in Lancing Mi, WFSA in Albany NY, wctv in Tallahassee, FL, wdbj IN Roanoke, Virginia, kfvs from Cape Girardeau, Missouri, wbay in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Iowa public radio knsb, wcjb IN Gainesville, Florida , Grand Junction, Colorado kjct, kcbd,, Twin Falls, Idaho kmvt, wabl in Amite, Louisiana, ktre in Lufkin, Texas….
I was told that the Javelina led off sports center on ESPN, but never saw the clip. There are a few videos Someone asked for this and it was created. I need a side-by-side of Javelin Guidry running the 40 and that sprinting javelina from a few days back…
Inverse.com had an interesting read on the science on why Javelinas are faster than domesticated boars.