This 2022 marks the 20th anniversary of the Marlboro Adventure Team (MAT), the adventure that brought together 36 young people from 13 countries in Utah, United States, who fulfilled the dream of living extreme experiences challenging the landscapes of the American West.
A year earlier, the regional selection for Latin America of the MAT 2002 participants, held in the country, catapulted Jarabacoa as an adventure and extreme sports destination. Few imagined that in a few kilometers, in the surroundings of Rancho Baiguate, all the skills required of young people who aspired to the final trip could be carried out: climbing, raftinghorseback riding, jeeping, rappelling, zip line and four wheels.
These and other sports such as motocross and mountaineering were experienced in southeastern Utah, but in an unimaginable extreme version, Iván Gómez, Roger Jover Rivera, Loreley Sáinz and Juan Francisco Pérez (Quírico), the young representatives of the Dominican Republic in the MAT. They were accompanied by a delegate from Philip Morris (Agustín Fernández) and as press Sergio Carlo (TV) and Yaniris López (Hoy newspaper). They were fourteen days of an unforgettable May. The retina froze the dust, the snow, the stones, the wind, the glare of the lakes, the rapids of the Green and Colorado rivers, the green mountains, the seasonal flowers, the small towns, the endless roads and the rock formations (walls, columns, arches, spires and labyrinths) of a world that, at that time, represented the wild side of a commercial brand.
“A TEAM LIKE NO OTHER”
Divided into five groups and each accompanied by a guide and a photographer, the boys set out on two-day journeys for each extreme sport. The itinerary for the press and special guests also included fishing, hiking and visits to emblematic places of the Land of Canyons such as the Point of the Dead Horse, Fry Canyon, Newspaper Rock, Arches National Park and Lake Powell (between Utah and Arizona). The teams met every other day at a base camp. The night of that meeting, around a campfire surrounded, in turn, by the tents, is a picture that summarizes an experience that, as the Dominican boys reflected in the chronicles of the trip, marked their lives in a difficult way. to explain.
Because going to the MAT was, for lovers of adventure tourism and extreme sports, something more than a dream.
Twenty years later, nostalgia reviews experiences in memory like a snowstorm less than thirty minutes from the sun; hours of walking through the stone tunnels of Fry Canyon, sharing a saddle and coffee with cowboys for real or take a boat ride on the blue waters of Lake Powell. Or remember Iván’s unwavering discipline, Quirico’s ‘hidden’ humor, Loreley’s overprotectiveness, Roger’s passion for everything and Sergio’s witticisms. Because Sergio was the soul of the campfires. He was the ‘official’ entertainer of the base camps, the one who cheered up and stirred up the nights, the one who valued the exchange of cultures of the MAT.
MELANCHOLIA. It matters little that time and life distance the bodies. May daily tasks now direct Roger’s gaze to civil engineering, Quirico’s to finance, and Loreley’s to production design. Iván would reach the top of Everest in 2011. The photos of the MAT will always remind us that the mountain is a sister, and that this brotherhood and the affection that was born with it are never lost because they are part of the generous and sensitive spirit of adventurous souls.
— The MAT was born in 1983 as a promotion/award for the Marlboro brand. This campaign included a special collection of clothing and accessories that would later become a reference for the company. — The 2002 adventure was scheduled for 2001, but the events that occurred on September 11 in New York forced it to be postponed. Interestingly, most of the participants did not smoke. All the interest of young people was concentrated in extreme sports. This was the last version in which Dominicans participated. — The MAT of 2005 is the last of which there is a record.