One Canadian man might just take the cake for coolest dad in the whole world.
Mike “Crazy Legs” Conley last month built his very own 90-foot-long “Wipeout” style obstacle course on the street in front of his house for all the kids in their Brooklin, Ontario, neighborhood.
“They were surprised at the final display of it,” Conley said. “I had been building it for a couple months. They knew it was obviously coming. They’d walk out the door and see the whole thing stretching from one neighbor’s driveway to the next neighbor.”
A former contestant of the popular game how himself, Conley, 34, said the experience was one of the greatest of his life and wanted his kids to be able to experience it firsthand. He got the idea to create the video of the obstacle course being constructed after shooting his audition tape for “Wipeout,” which featured his kids, Hailie, 13, Ty, 7, and Luke, 5, navigating their backyard mini-”Wipeout” obstacles Conley had created to land a spot on a show.
“I was on ‘Wipeout’ Canada,” said Conley, who owns a marketing company. “That was an awesome experience. That was the total initial reason for the first video. We always try to find cool things to do outside in the summer.”
His children were only 11, 5 and 3 at the time the first video was shot, and now, two years later, they’ve become viral sensations with the video recently surpassing 10 million views on Youtube.
“We made it to impress the producers, and then it took off virally,” Conley said. “I just thought, ‘If this got so many views, imagine if I designed an actual course?’”
The set-up process in the morning took about three and half hours to construct. “I’m like the least handy person in the whole world, so it was about two months in advance to make sure everything was built and we had all the materials,” he said.
And it was materials galore, indeed. If you’re feeling spontaneous enough to try this at home, the list includes 12 air mattresses, 14 inflatable loungers , one circular pool (8-foot-by-8-foot), six inflatable pools (10-foot-by-6-foot), eight pool noodles, 6,000 gallons of water, 1,200 square feet of banner vinyl, eight boxing gloves, six rock-wall holds, 112 feet of lumber, 16 bales of straw, eight buckets, 298 wood screws, four big red exercise balls, one slip and slide, 12 cans of spray paint, one 12-foot cardboard tube, one overhead sign, 12 logo decals, 6 pounds of mud, three Contour Roam video cameras, 12 volunteers, and, last but most importantly, 25 amazing kids.
Conley wouldn’t reveal how much the project cost him, but made sure to note, “Let’s just say the costs far exceeded my initial $300 budget, but it was worth every penny.”
And from the look on their faces, the kids would seem to agree. When Conley’s children first opened the door the morning of the big reveal, he said, “They screamed. They were so excited. Our youngest ran straight into the house to put on his bathing suit. He wanted to be the first to run through it.”
Naturally, that was music to Conley’s ears. But not just because he was proud of his elaborate set up. It was more because he’s always looking for ways to keep his children active and playing outdoors.
“We’re a pretty active family,” he said. “The requests we get from our kids are daily, hourly to play video games, watch TV and be on the computer. While we try to keep it as educational as possible, we try to keep them active.
“A lot of it comes down to being creative, trying to compete with the video games out there. Appreciate your kids’ imagination and keep them active. Find ways they can be creative outside without even realizing they’re working out. For me, it’s just about enjoying your children and having them enjoy their childhood and being involved and engaged. That’s really what it’s all about.”