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Synopsis

Before there was Tony Hawk skateboarding in empty swimming pools there was Robbie Slater screaming down the Cheyenne Frontier Days arena ramps and launching himself on his old green Schwinn. Before there was Fear Factor contestants climbing scaffolding with safety lines and eating worms there was Robbie Slater topping out on the hardest routes in Yosemite having subsisted for five days on Sara Lee coffee cakes and Mint Milanos, three days on water alone and the last two days on nothing. Before there was the X Games and its generation of pop culture daredevils there was Robbie Slater diving off antennae, bridges, skyscrapers, mountain cliffs and canyon walls with a parachute, mostly at night. Before climbers wore Lycra there was Robbie Slater wielding the Lovetron on previously inconceivable, death-defying aid moves on El Capitan. Long before “crazy” became cool and popular on TV there was Robbie Slater. I know about Robbie because I am his identical twin brother. I called him Robbie and he called me Richie. As we got older, we were called Rob and Rich by others, but between us it was always Robbie and Richie. We were in many ways as similar as two human beings could be. We looked alike, talked alike and even liked the same kind of Pop Tarts. But when it came to living life, Robbie went much further out on that razor’s edge, staring down The Reaper and thumbing his nose at disaster than I ever had the courage for. I have never been afraid of dying, but my twin brother had a much greater need for adrenaline and danger than I’ve ever felt. Quoting the infamous Charles Manson, Robbie used to joke he “was crazy back when being crazy meant something.” But it was much more than that.

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