Interview - 7/2004
Chris Ard and Jeff Slavik
Dennis DMC McCoy
It's hard to believe that Dennis McCoy has been a key figure in the
freestyle scene for 20 years. In that time, he's dominated in every
aspect of the sport. Whether it be flatland, street, or vert, Dennis
has been at the top. Dennis has constantly adapted and kept his
riding style current. At 38, Dennis is still one of the most
respected riders in today's scene. He continues to ride and
promote the sport.
Jeff and Chris: A lot of us on the VBMX site are from the old school of freestyle,
and have recently found our way back. Tell us what you've been up to since your
days with the great Haro teams of the 80's?
DMC: Riding. I realize that's a short answer, but I could write a book from that
question and someday probably will. I've been injured a fair amount, but healed
enough to progress and ride in almost every major comp. I've also formed a
production company that runs the bike events for the Gravity Games and the
Vans Triple Crown Series and next year's Action Sports Tour on NBC. I also
spend lots of time touring. Most recently with Tony Hawk's Boom Boom Huckjam.
Jeff and Chris: Tell us about your riding.
DMC: I never stopped and never will. The last couple of months have been
non-stop starting with a bad slam at the Woodward West CFB. A week later I
won X-Games Gold in Vert in Rio, then traveled to the SLC Vans Triple Crown
where I knocked myself out cold on a flip 180 over the spine. I was back in KC
for a big demo at the Kansas Speedway before heading to Denver for Road
Fools 13. Ten straight days of non-stop riding with a kick ass crew ended at my
friend Tom's park (Ramp Riders) in St. Louis. Then it was back to Denver for
Stop 2 of the Vans Triple Crown and now back home riding Josh's backyard
Jeff and Chris: What do you think was the reason for the decline in popularity
of freestyle in the late 80's early 90's?
DMC: Demographics. There was a shortage of new teenagers during those
years - not enough babies were born in the late 70's. Personally, I think the
decline in popularity was overstated. Freestyle sales dropped in part because
bikes last longer than a year. Not buying and not riding are two different
statistics and it would be hard to measure how many people were still riding. The
Ride On video is all the evidence needed to show that plenty of us were still
Jeff and Chris: What are your thoughts on the old school vs. new school
DMC: The old school was more like one big family. Later on there was bit too
much drama and jockeying for position in the media. In some ways it feels that
this is starting to pass and the newest school scene is improving.
Jeff and Chris: What are your thoughts on old school bikes vs. the current
DMC: Today's bikes are better for today's riding - they've evolved with the times.
In some respects that means going back to the basics that were popular early
Jeff and Chris: What do you miss most about the old school?
DMC: The simplicity of riding. Progression can have its downside. Nowadays a
vert session requires some serious safety gear and even flatland requires the
right surface. I miss the days of waking up, throwing on shorts and slip on Vans
and riding shirtless 15 miles to downtown KC hitting street spots all the way
there. We would then head to 7-eleven for some Big Gulps and a flatland
session before coasting to the projects to ride Jonathan's quarter pipe. We'd
ride the big doubles at the nearby BMX track and then hit up Taco Bell before
battling breakdancers for change from the drunks at the bars. Cherrypickers
and bunnyhopping bikes paid well. More street, some Swap Bottle, and a little
more flatland experimentation would carry us to sunup and the long ride back to
our local Dunkin' Donuts for breakfast and dirty looks from the cops that hung
out there. Sleep, wakeup, repeat...
Jeff and Chris: What souvenirs have you kept from your old riding days?
DMC: Not enough. Somehow my Real McCoy jersey is missing and I wore down
every signature grip doing hitchhikers. It never feels like the present day will
become the old days and with so many riders in Kansas City, my parts always
end up with someone else.
Jeff and Chris: Back in the day you were an awesome flatlander, one of the
most fluid riders I'd ever seen. When was your last flatland competition, and why
did you stop competing in flatland?
DMC: My last comp was the 1995 BS finals in Daytona Beach. I won my 10th
consecutive Overall title that weekend in large part because I had refocused on
flatland and pulled a dialed run with new tricks. Shortly thereafter I had a long
overdue wrist surgery that was a disaster. To repair a torn ligament, three bones
were fused together damaging my carpal tunnel nerve during the process. It
took 14 weeks before I could tie my shoe. The range of motion in that wrist is
severely limited, and with flatland requiring so much support of your body weight
it's the most painful discipline for me to ride. However, flatland is in my blood so I
can't help but ride it on occasion and I continue to incorporate flatland tricks into
street, park, mini and vert.
Jeff and Chris: Each of us here at vbmx has probably watched "RAD" 50 times!
How many times have you watched it?
DMC: Honestly, just once all the way through. It was at a theater in San Diego
with John Peterson (old school cruiser rider/Haro announcer). I've borrowed
quotes from that movie to no end. Was I seeing things or did Martin Aparijo's wig
come off during the lake jump scene?
Jeff and Chris: Do you still keep in touch with anyone from the old school?
DMC: Lots of people. Joe Johnson is one of our staff at the comps we run, so I
see him all the time. I recently spent time riding Mirra's warehouse with Joe and
Gary Pollack. Mark Eaton shoots the Triple Crown comps for NBC and I stay in
touch with Large Ray as well. About a year ago I did a couple weeks of demos
with Voelker and I always seem to cross paths with Blyther. Heal up quick Brian.
Jeff and Chris: What was your favorite bike from back in the day?
DMC: Haro Master. The lime green one.
Jeff and Chris: Are you amazed at what the old school stuff sells for on ebay?
DMC: I'm amazed that Large Ray has singlehandedly driven up the market value
of anything vintage freestyle.
Jeff and Chris: Ok, Word association time. I'm going to say some names from
the past and present. You tell me the first thing that comes to mind...
Bob Haro - Freestyle. Rider owned companies.
Ron Wilkerson - Image conscious.
Mike Dominguez - Huge airs and massive subwoofers.
Dave Mirra - Little Buddy, roast beef and Burger King.
Mat Hoffman - Good friends, hair and truckstops.
Jeff and Chris: What are your future plans?
DMC: Ride on and on and on and on and I'll be sloping that cloping til the break