They are most often referred to as the Riggs, or “the twins” (although they are not the only set of team or even Explorer twins, anymore). Individually, one or the other might simply be called “Riggs,” but people who do that confess to doing so because they have trouble telling Micheal and Casey apart.
Various methods have been used to distinguish them: the shape of their glasses; a hairstyle, perhaps; something tied to a shoelace. But often even that fails to make a clear distinction. (And, on at least one occasion, the uniform blouse wasn’t an accurate way to tell, either, because they’ve been known to switch shirts – not on purpose, of course.)
When asked to answer the spotlight questions, the first response was a joint one covering both boys. They do, after all, both live in Walnut Creek and are originally from Danville. They both joined CoCoSAR as ninth graders, at the ripe age of 14.
Both love hiking and backpacking. Both work on and off at the Brenden Theatres.
Neither likes to read, particularly, though Casey will pick up a book on a subject that fascinates him and Michael likes the P.G. Wodehouse books on tape. At 17, they are both looking into the same colleges and plotting a similar path in the world of filmmaking, which includes their recent acceptance into an exciting mentoring program with a professional filmmaker.
But a little digging determines there are a few variances, albeit subtle ones and not just the physical “my head is more rounded and Casey’s is narrower” types of differences Micheal cites.
Casey, for instance, got into making film first. He loves photography and it’s the videography and production end that most grabs him.
When Micheal finally caught the filmmaking bug, too, he veered toward the technical end with editing more up his alley. Casey says his plan is to get a master’s degree in cinematography and photography. Micheal will aim toward editing and sound mixing.
Asked if they will then work together, Casey says “why not?” since it’s easier to get his brother to do the editing than to hire someone else. You’ve heard of the Coen Brothers, he says, so, “Why can’t it be the Riggs Brothers?”
They also love the “culture of the outdoors,” but Micheal says Casey is more of a “hipster” kind of guy but he is all about plaid. Casey will venture farther afield to conduct missions such as building a house in Mexico, whereas Micheal is content to hang and hike around home base.
Casey is a little quieter around the SAR camp, a man of fewer words than Micheal. “One of the most valuable things I have experienced in SAR is teamwork,” he says. “Searches and trainings continually show me how working as a team produces the most effective results.”
Micheal, on the other hand, is likely to pop up and offer a little speech when the opportunity arises, like at an orientation night. And he is a little more verbose in his evaluation of his SAR experience, so he gets the last word(s):
“There are many times, during my SAR training and during some searches I think of something Yvon Chouinard said: ‘Real adventure is defined best as a journey from which you may not come back alive, and certainly not as the same person.’ I may not really be in danger of dying during my SAR experiences, but it has definitely changed my life for the better,” Micheal says. “The mission, the different types of people and the work have given me an experience I would not have had in any other way.”