So, You grew up in Wisconsin, but ended up in Chicago where you currently reside. How did you end up there?
I grew up in Neenah, Wisconsin and went to college at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. After that I traveled around quite a bit over the next year or two and found myself being in Chicago quite a bit due to friends, the airport, riding scene, etc. At that point in my life I just felt like I needed a change. I was also at the beginning of a 6 month ACL surgery recovery. I have always wanted to experience a big city and something outside my comfort zone so I went for it. I have now lived in Chicago for about 3 and a half years and like it. It’s a huge city and has a lot of culture. I just feel like everyday I’m surrounded by culture and opportunity and never get caught in a routine. I like that.
Tell us a little about growing up in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin is an awesome place to live and grow up. I really can’t say anything bad about it aside from the winters and weather in general. Some of the best people, food, beer, riders, academic research, cheese and thinkers come out of that state.
Unfortunately at this point, I just don’t feel like it quite has what I need to do what I want to do. That’s not to say I won’t be back there someday. It will always feel like home no matter where I live.
Did you ever own one of those Green Bay cheese wedge hat things?
Hell yeah! I have the hat, tie, sombrero and gloves. It’s moola well spent. I almost did a bike that color but thought it “lact” in creativity and originality.
I’m sure winters in Wisconsin can be pretty brutal. That, combined with being a rider probably led you to travel a bunch. By now, you’ve been all over America and to most corners of the world. Without giving it too much thought, what are some of the benefits to traveling and experiencing different cultures?
I was about to say it’s made me open minded, but I think I’ve always been open minded which is why I wanted to travel so much in the first place. I think it’s just made me more educated in so many ways. It’s hard to really realize how things are and why they are until you’ve lived in it and actually hung out with riders/people who are from those places. I have erased so many fears and stereotypes that I was fed throughout my life because of traveling, but traveling alone doesn’t do it. You also need to read and ask questions about things you’ve read once you get there. Some people don’t care about that stuff and that’s fine, but I really like learning what makes different countries and cultures tick. It’s fascinating and makes you realize we are all much more alike than you think.
Roughly how much money has your DK “golf” bag saved you in travel expenses?
Thousands of dollars, easily.
Roughly how much money has Catfish cost you in travel expenses?
I got a speeding ticket in France because of him once, but the laughter and good times he’s brought me makes up for that tenfold.
What’s the first travel story that comes to mind involving Catfish?
The first time we went to China, just riding through the streets was insane. Near-death experiences and hilarious sights around every corner. Every trip has countless stories. We should do a whole separate interview about that one. Haha.
Between him and Povah, you must be stoked. You’ve been on Etnies for a while now, and I’m sure you’ve spent some quality time with Povah. Is he really a @salty_bastard?
Etnies has been amazing. I think I started getting shoes from them in 2003 after riding for Axion for a couple years. I was so stoked to just be able to wear the best shoes in BMX and then years passed and it just got better!
By 2008 I was bumped up to the pro team and now have a colorway in 2011. It hasn’t been a short road but that’s the way I prefer it. Povah is salty but we love him for it. He’s actually just really straight forward. You have to respect a straight shooter and someone who has been around BMX for as long as he has. He has a good grasp of BMX from the past, present and future and has dedicated his life to it. Much respect.
How many pairs of shoes do you pack when you go on a trip? Riding and chilling pair?
Usually 3 pairs of riding shoes and 1 pair of chilling shoes. It’s funny because I usually will only end up wearing 1 or 2 pairs the whole trip, but I always have a back-up pair. I like to keep them looking decent so a back-up pair or two is nice to have.
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