Monday, May 7, 2012

Old School BMX Reunion, 2012

I've had a long relationship with BMX, and like most relationships, it's had some ups and downs. However, the fact remains that for 30 years, I have loved 20-inch bikes. As a star-struck kid, I was in awe of the early pro riders like Bob Haro, RL Osborn, Martin Aparijo, Woody Itson, Dennis Langlais, Ron Wilkerson, Eddie Fiola, Dennis McCoy, and SO many more. I was fortunate to eventually ride for a living and call some of these legends friends.

BMX isn't the main focus of my life like it once was, but over the past year, I HAVE rekindled my love for the sport. The riders of this generation are completely amazing, but the riders of the 80's, the pioneers, will always be my favorites. Read More

It seems that the 80's generation of riders, both former pros and the general masses alike, has collectively started experiencing a mid-life crisis as Old School BMX events are popping up all over the place.

Last year, the 3rd annual Old School BMX Reunion, held at Camp Woodward West looked awesome. I wasn't there, but a couple of my friends were, and one even went as far as having some of the legends of the sport hold a "where's Dave Alden?" sign for some photos. Seeing those, I was inspired to make the trip to the 4th OSBMXR.

Just a *quick* 6hr flight from Boston to LAX (with a 6AM departure no less), with a quick hour layover, then a quick hour flight to Bakersfield, and I was nearly there. The plane From LAX to Bakersfield was the tiniest plane I had ever been on. I had to move my knees to allow the pilot into the cockpit. Anyway, aside from having to get up at 4AM and the cramped airline seats, the trip to CA was fine. My bike was even disassembled enough to fit in one bag, which was undersized and underweight.

My good friend Brian Martin picked me up from the Bakersfield airport and we drove out to Stallion Springs (outside of Tehachapi), singing Iron Maiden, Dio, Metallica and Pantera. BMX and metal... Hell yeah.

We arrived at Woodward West, checked in, and got ready to ride. I put my flatland bike together and did some riding... I was tired, but I managed to ride well. Martin Aparijo was there, Robert Castillo was there as were a few other familiar faces. I also carved around in the ramp parks and rolled through a couple of dirt jump lines. Fun!

Steve Swope, Me, Mat Hoffman
My other good friend, Mike Drolet, arrived, and then more familiar faces started popping up. One of my best friends from my early BMX years was there, Keith McElhinney. Older, but still shredding, and quiet and shy. Not. And then look, there's Chad Herrington, and Jason Shaimas, and Jared Souney, and the list just keeps going.

The first day alone was a blast, and my day ended taking a few runs into the foam pit. I loved the foam pit and need to convince my wife that we need one.

Saturday was the big day. Unfortunately, I was a little sore and didn't ride much. Actually, I wasn't "sore." I can ride through "sore," I was in pain.  I'm pretty sure I broke a rib. Anyway, there was a lot to do and see even without riding so I certainly wasn't bored.... Just VERY frustrated.

Martin Aparijo, Eddie Fiola, Josh White,
Robert Castillo, Jason Jeffries
I saw more big names from "back in the day," including Josh White, Eddie Fiola, Dave Nourie, Mat Hoffman, Cameron Birdwell, Dennis McCoy, Brian Blyther, Dave Voelker, and I saw some new names that were absolutely amazing, such as Ben Snowden and Kevin Peraza. Check out this and this.

We hung out at the Mega Ramp session for a bit, watched some guys kill it and other nearly get killed, went back to the main park and eventually got ready for the big Saturday night party.

Jason Shaimas
Ben Snowden
Ketih McElhinney
Dave Nourie
The party was one of the weirdest events I've been to. There were about 30 old school BMX bikes on display, free beer and food, music that went from Iron Maiden to Men At Work, live entertainment like break dancing and Dave Nourie doing a topless Gumby, RAD's star, Bill Allen, and about 100 like-minded middle-aged men. It was awesome.

There's a little dance floor that became the defacto flatland/breakin' performance area. It killed me NOT to be riding, but with age comes wisdom, and I knew that no good would come of it. The flatland show was great. Nourie and Aparijo were rocking, and James McGraw would do front wheel hops and I-hops in one set and blenders and time-machines in the next set. That boy's got skillz, and at one point, they were all even riding to Send Me An Angel.

Martin Aparijo
If you DON'T know the significance of that, why are you even reading this? Between all of the riding, Jason Jeffries break dancing, and the impromptu tribute to the Beastie Boys, all bases were covered. Tony Donaldson and Jared Souney got some great pics, so look for them on the Interwebs.

But all good things must come to an end, even free beer, BMX shows and heavy metal. It was 1AM before I knew it and time to get back to the room.

Sunday's start was a little slow. We were up and out of the room, I had my bike taken apart and I was at the Long Beach Airport before I knew it.

I didn't ride as much as I had hoped, but I still had a great time. Now it's time for my red-eye flight back home maybe some X-rays, and time to make plans for the next OSBMXR in 2013.

James McGraw
Until then:

  • Thanks to Steve Swope for all your hard work.
  • Thanks to Mike Drolet for taking care of all of the logistics AND the ride to the airport.
  • Thanks to Brian Martin for one of the funniest photos I've ever seen (the last photo on this page).
Enjoy these pics... I shot WAY more video than still images on this trip, so in time, I'll have some video posted, but not today... (here's a teaser video)
There were a few casualties this weekend. 

This guy was so inspiring. He lost his leg in a motorcycle
accident 5yrs ago and he hasn't let that slow him down.
He developed a special pedal with a magnetic attachment for the shoe,
and he was jumping the MegaRamp...
I know your'e thinking, "wow, his pants are very baggy," but don't worry,
Kevin Peraza's pants were tight, and didn't slow him down a bit.
There were some great bikes on display, but WTF is up with that seat?

Sean McKinney
Unknown rider, L-sit, bad-ass bike...
Yep, that's my accountant.
Jose Yanez, Eddie Fiola, Bill Allen, Martin Aparijo
Dave Nourie
James McGraw

Yep, Nourie with a topless Gumby. The BMX bike is the
new stripper pole.

Mike's Snack Attach stash!
That's me, and from this angle, that does NOT look like a
turn-down, but trust me, it is.
Me again...

Group photo courtesy of Tony Donaldson


Mike D said...

Great depiction of the event with killer photos. That was an awesome weekend!

Mike D said...
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