Ryden Hunter-Reay isn’t one to wear the same thing two weeks in a row in The Big Apple.
Dressed in a pint-sized replica of the yellow fire suit his dad, Ryan Hunter-Reay, wore when he won the Indianapolis 500, 1-year-old Ryden accompanied his parents as they traveled across Manhattan last week, making appearances and melting hearts on “Today,” at the New York Stock Exchange and more.
Then, after a difficult weekend of racing at the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans, the family returned to New York on June 2. This time, an appearance on the “Late Show With David Letterman” was on the agenda, as was a trip to the premiere of “The Fault in our Stars” feature film a few blocks from the Ed Sullivan Theater where Letterman’s show is taped. But the popular firesuit was out of sight. Instead, the toddler was styling in mom Beccy Hunter-Reay’s arms in a pair of white jeans and a plaid shirt.
But don’t think the child’s popular Verizon IndyCar Series look is shelved forever.
Seems it made such an impression that there have been discussions about creating onesies with the design, said Beccy.
“It’s not a bad idea,” she said. “Maybe we need to create little onesie fire suit pajamas or something.”
As it is, there’s another firesuit for Ryden on order from OMP, an Italian racing safety equipment and gear maker. Ryan asked for the first one months ago when he signed a deal with the company and it arrived in Indianapolis on May 24, the day before he won the Indianapolis 500. It fit the growing child like a glove.
“He literally cannot gain a pound, an ounce or grow an inch,” said Beccy, adding that the new suit will be big enough to last the child for the rest of the 2014 season.
That’s a good thing because the suit is as important to Ryden as it is to his public.
Because Ryan and Beccy refer to Ryan’s suit as “the magic suit,” Ryden seems to think it has special powers. So he was thrilled when he received his look-a-like.
“He thought he was a super hero,” said Beccy. “He couldn’t figure it out. He just kept staring like, ‘what is going on right now?’ He was in heaven.”
The fact that the tiny firesuit has turned into an effective marketing tool is completely unintentional, said Beccy.
“We just love our little guy so much and it was so cute,” she said. “We call Ryan’s suit ‘the magic suit’ so whenever da-da has ‘the magic suit’ on, Ryden goes nuts.”
Maybe it is magic. That same thing happens to almost everyone else when Ryden wears his version.