Old School BMX Reunion: Woodward West
A few months back when Steve Swope sent me a note about an old school BMX gathering he was planning at Woodward West, I figured it would be a fun group of 20 or 30 people I see semi-regularly anyway. As a result of sites like Facebook, a number of riders from the past have reconnected, and quickly the gathering grew to over 200 attendees.
I’ve gotten to meet a lot of the guys I read about as a kid from working in the BMX industry for the past decade (Wilkerson, McCoy, etc), but many of them still remained mysterious. A number of legends from the past turned up from Ron Wilkerson, Dennis McCoy, Brian Blyther, Lee Reynolds, Dave Voelker, Eddie Fiola, Dave Nourie, Rich Sigur, Gary Laurent, Hugo Gonzalez, Mike Dominguez and Marty Schlesinger to the man who started it all, Bob Haro. Artist Rich Hanson and one of the original BMX photographers, John Ker were there along with Europeans like Bart DeJong, Stephen Prantl and Andy Zeiss.
The riding sessions felt just like the old days… all fun. It didn’t matter what your bike looked like, or what kinds of tricks you still had in your bag, everyone was just there to have fun. The weekend was open (by invitation) to those over 32 who had kept a strong connection to BMX freestyle over the years.
Lee Reynolds and Ron Wilkerson showed some of the newer school old schoolers like Kevin Robinson, Simon Tabron, Brian “Yellow” Gavigan, and Lip Lord Jay Eggleston that they still could hang on a vert ramp after all these years. Even when the others had worn out and taken off their pads, 43 year old Ron Wilkerson was still up on the ramp by himself blasting well above head height.
Some guys rode a lot, some just hung out, but it didn’t matter either way. After a long day of riding Saturday, everyone converged on the Lodge for a reunion party complete with a slide show, videos playing, and even an impromtu bar floor flatland demo from Dave Nourie.
The turn out was so incredible, and the old school riders were so stoked, that this might turn into a yearly event (the minimum age will go up by a year each year of course). If it does, I’m heading back for sure, as this weekend was 20-some-odd years in the making for everyone there. Awesome. Thanks to Steve Swope for organizing the whole thing, and Debbie Williams and Gary Ream at Woodward Camp for making it possible.
Above images are the entire group, and of course Ron Wilkerson doing a lookback at age 43. Check out the gallery below.