The Birthday of a Gentleman

In New Jersey, USA, July 2016

by James Conley


The Race of Gentlemen is an awesome standout of genuine passion and action in a world which has become increasingly passive and static. In covering TROG the last two years, I have repeatedly been surprised by the warmth of both the participants and the organizers. It’s been a joy to make images during the events, but an even bigger joy to get to know the people. TROG the event only lasts a couple of days each year. The spirit of TROG, however, is in the people, and those people embody year-round the spirit of the race.

Arguably, the two most well known faces of TROG are Mel and Sara. Mel is one half of Stultz & Green, which makes the race happen. Sara is the amazing woman who literally jump-starts each race. They’re the power couple who brings the joy to the beach.

I recently had the privilege of attending Mel’s birthday bash. The party met the very high standards one would expect from the creator of TROG: from the vast variety of drinks, a whole barbecued pig, two live bands, and two visits from the cops, it was an event. (HotBloodNJ provided the punk, and Murphy's Law provided the NYHC.)

But surrounded by a small group of friends, I had the opportunity to see the warmth and charm of these two amazing people. Tireless hosts, both Mel and Sara seemed to be everywhere at once—always connecting people together, always making sure cups were full, always ensuring that the crowd felt like the day was just for them.

It was a very special day with very special people. I’m happy to share a bit of what I saw, and honored to have had the chance to document the day. Happy birthday, Mel!