The Drive-By Shooting Range at Burning Man

The Drive By Shooting Range

By 1992 Drive-by Shooting Range was established on the Playa. It was miles across the playa by the side of the dirt road leading toward Frog Hot Spring, a small, warm, sulfurous pond beneath a shade tree.

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Joe Fenton

Manager of Drive-By Shooting Range

The first Drive-by Shooting Range was managed by Joe Fenton, a former army man who fell in with Cacophony. By the late nineties, he was a higher-up in the Black Rock Rangers, using the playa name J.D. Boggman. He was initially refused entrance to the Black Rock Rangers: “They wouldn’t let me e a Ranger until the Burn in ‘94… Michael said I was too aggressive. And eh was right, I was. I didn’t take shit, always packed guns. Even if I was wearing a suit, I’d have a shoulder holster. Hey, I;m in the middle of nowhere with a bunch of acid heads - I’m going home alive. Fuck you, I don’t care what your voices tell you to do. You’re not doing it to me.” (He later left the organization after a public altercation with another Black Rock worker).

At the Drive By Shooting Range, you could set up anything you wanted and shoot at it on bike or car. Michael Mikel’s prized chariot, the 5:04 Special, was a favorite out at the range. It was an Olds Cutlass Supreme that had been crushed by a brick wall from during the 1989 Earthquake, which occurred at 5:04 pm.

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Kimric Smythe

Kevin Evans, who Mikel often let drive the car, recalls sending families of strangers into tearful panics when he’d innocently pull over on long road trips to picnic in the grass. They were certain they had stumbled upon a horrific accident scene.

Also involved in the Drive By Shooting Range was Kimric Smythe, a former air force man and an explosive expert from Survival Research Laboratories (SRL). Kimric was responsible throughout the nineties for the pyrotechnics on the Man, along with his father Bill, a former United Nations functionary. SRL never had a presence at Burning Man (despite erroneous press reporting to the contrary).