Robin and Sylvia King help make opening and closing ceremonies something special at LSR
M.M. ADJARIAN | Contributing Writer
Creating the magic that is the Lone Star Ride is a group effort. Just ask Robin King, who, along with his wife and business partner, Sylvia, runs Ambient Stage Lighting Inc.
This quietly dynamic duo has been part of LSR from the beginning. In 2001, they served as pit crew volunteers. But from 2002 on, they signed on as official sponsors and have since overseen the staging, lighting and sound elements that go into the opening and closing ceremonies and the ever-popular Saturday night Camp Show.
Setting up the props, truss riggings, lights, speakers and microphones that are part of those events, only to take them down a few hours later, is no glamour job. It’s hard work.
“But to Sylvia and me, it’s second nature,” the ASL company president says. “It’s what we do as our profession every day.”
Since all the LSR events, including the entertainment, take place outside, King and his wife are at the mercy of the elements. And in this, they are no different from anyone else who rides or crews for the event.
But what makes this part of LSR a challenge for them is that they, unlike other participants, can’t seek shelter from inclement weather. The show must go on regardless of the havoc Mother Nature may wreak.
So when the great Saturday rainout of 2010 happened, the Kings couldn’t just sit tight and wait alongside the LSR riders and pit crew members at the American Airlines Training and Conference Center, located on Hwy. 360, just south of Hwy. 183.
“[We had] to pull the trigger and cancel anything electrical — the fun, creative stuff,” King remembers. “We [ended up] scrambling around, coming up with last-minute, makeshift alternatives that we could pull off inside.”
Despite situational constraints, the entertainment portion of the 2010 LSR was still a success, largely because of a shared sense of commitment among those directly involved with it.
Says King, “The band expected to get this nice stage and a little additional space and extra sound support. They were in the same position [as we were], but they perform[ed] regardless of the circumstances.”
The couple first became aware of LSR when a lighting technician named Tim Olson — who was among the very first group of LSR cyclists — told them about it.
The decision to participate was an easy one for both. This was especially true for Sylvia, who has seen what HIV and AIDS can do close up: Her maternal uncle lives with the disease.
Eleven years later, King and his wife can’t imagine not being part of the ride. It’s become too much a part of their lives for them to ever stop participating.
And Robin and Sylvia King help make LSR something participants look forward to every September. What they do follows a life-and-death cycle of sorts, but one that, like the riding itself, is meant to bring a permanent end to suffering and death that AIDS has caused among so many millions in the last 30 years.
“That’s really what it’s all about and the sole reason why I do it,” King says.
Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS takes place Sept. 24-25. For more details or to donate to a specific rider or team, or to the event overall, go online to LoneStarRide.org.