Nor Cal in the News is a project to collect and preserve BMX Freestyle
appearances on television from the Northern California area. The focus
is primarily on the pre-X-Games 80's and early 90's news coverage and
commercials. During the 80's a BMX appearance on TV was a fairly rare
thing and in most cases, it showed up only on local news. A few programs
did appear nationaly like the Mountain Dew commercial and RL and Buff's
appearance on That's Incredible.
I'm sure each person's impression of these videos will be different depending
on their relationship to the sport and understanding of who each person
is and what their contributions to the sport were. I've been amazed at
how much has turned up, how much BMX freestyle history is on display
in these crude recordings and how naive the sport seems as whole with
the basic tricks, uniforms and newscasters trying to cop the lingo
of the time.
These clips are organized in cronological order and appropriately, the
first clip includes Hugo Gonzalez, the first BMX freestyle professional
from the area and part of the first trick team in the area - the Nor
Cal Trick Team - doing a show in the dirt at a local track and thinking
nothing of it. Then we see Ron Wilkerson, the most successful and
longest lasting of the Nor Cal riders caught before nabbing the cover
of the first BMX Freestyle only magazine and rider of the year award
AND again 17 years later running the 2-Hip Meet the Street contest.
There's the Golden Gate park scene before and after discovery by
Freestylin' magazine. And, all us local guys showing up for "picture
day" all dressed up in racing pants and jerseys to get on the news for
the first time. Vander doing Vanderolls before putting the Curb Dogs on
the map and before his first sponsor. Vander at the site of the first
BMX professional half-pipe contest just after he set it up and ran it.
Or, Tim Traecy doing a backyard before scuffing tricks transitioned into
rolling tricks and Kevin Jones became the acknowledged guru of flatland.
These clips also inadvertantly connect Nor Cal riders from other areas -
even other countries. Street legends like Eddie Roman and Craig Grasso
appear as part of the Skyway and O-Zone teams and the announcers refer
to the Calabasas dirt jumps as "street riding". England's wonder-boy
Craig Campbell shreds some dirt and vert. Matt Hoffman appears in a
Skyway show on his first tour showing us his first shoulder surgery and
some contorted airs.
Origin of this Project
Several years back I came across an audio tape of my friends and I
crank calling people on the phone a la Jerky Boys. I remembered clearly
what it was and I was psyched to give it a listen. So, I popped it in
the player and struggled to hear the muffled voices turning it up to
alomst full volume and hearing only faint whispers behind a huge hiss.
I kept listening and could barely makeout what was said. After it was
done, I pulled the tape out and found my tape deck was covered with a
brown dust and that part of the tape were nearly clear. A piece of my
childhood went up in dust.
I've occasionally glanced to my stack of BMX video cassettes and
thought that they will eventually face the same fate. And, those are
part of BMX history - not just part of a family album. While there are
many copies of professionally made videos and in most cases, master tapes
sitting somewhere safe, news clips are mostly not saved by the station.
Unless there is some historical significance - and sorry, BMX isn't in
their minds - it is tossed after a few years.
So, I've always wanted to archive the things I had and got going on
it this year (2003). But along the way, I realized that I didn't have
everything I thought I had. Tapes were missing! So, I had to hunt around
for some and in doing so, realized that there was a lot of other stuff out
there that I could include. So, the mission morphed into - scare up all the
BMX related news clips and TV spots with Nor Cal riders that were never
sold to the public. I've also inlcuded some promotional videos as well.
I currently have over 90 minutes of footage and am waiting for other
things to arrive. As clips are located, I learn about more and try
to get them so sometimes it seems like this will never be done! But,
it needs to be complete. Once I've exhausted all my leads, I plan
to bottle this thing up and put out a DVD. But lookie what he have here
now! This new-fangled YouTube now allows me to put these online so
check them out below.
A lot of these riders went on tour and did shows where the local news
might feature them. I only recently learned about some footage with Hugo
Gonzalez in the UK. If you are aware of anything, please let me know.
Also, several of the clips I have are 3rd generation so if you have
anything I have but possibly in better shape, please let me know -
List of Clips
Super Kids - 1982
TV show featuring racing at Fremont BMX track and a freestyle show by
the Nor Cal Trick Team. Features racers Jason Jensen and Greg Liggins
with a brief appearance by a 17 year old Brian Patterson. Freestyle
riders featured are Hugo Gonzalez, Bill Manfroy, John Manfroy, Bob Gray,
Dan Murray and Pete Reeves. At this time, the Nor Cal Trick Team was
sponsored by MCS which is what Hugo was riding on his BMX Action cover
shot. Their trick show is done in the dirt and includes a bonzai
lenghtwise car jump attempt.
Just Kidding - KRON 4 - 1983
TV show feature on the Golden Gate Park Freestyle scene. Features
Rick Allison, Vander, Darcy Langlois, Kerry Clayton, Mike Perkins,
Ben Rose, Brian Pearcy, Maurice Meyer and other locals. This came
out before Freestylin' Magazine's first issue exposed the BMX world
to the GG park freestyle scene.
Evening Magazine - KPIX 5 - 1984
News magazine segment filmed in Novato featuring Rich Avella and Ron
Wilkerson - the 2-Hip Trick Team just before going on their first US
Mountain Dew Commercial - 1984
The quintessential BMX related commercial from the 80's. Features
Ron Wilkerson, RL Osborn, Eddie Fiola and Pat Romano.
Evening Magazine - KTVU 2 - 1985
Filmed at Joey Lopes' house just after the first pro BMX half-pipe
contest was held there. Footage includes Curb Dogs, Dave Vanderspek,
Joey Lopes, Rick Anderson, Camden Scott, and Maurice Meyer.
Skyway Promotional - 1985
Promotional video made by Unreel Productions (made KOS videos) for
Skyway. Most of the footage is from 1985 San Diego AFA contest and
some Del Mar footage of Hugo Gonzalez spinning a 360 over the fence.
Footage includes Hugo Gonzalez, Dave Vanderspek, Robert Peterson,
Scotty Freeman and Maurice Meyer with a cameo of Bob Haro riding a
TGI4 - KRON 4 - 8/19/1985
Begins with footage of BMX racing at a new track in Sonoma, CA then
goes into section about BMX freestyle. Features Marc McKee, Darcy
Langlois, Gavin Beaty and other locals.
News - KCRA 7 - 9/1985
Filmed at a Skyway show in Redding California at "The Bike Shop".
Footage includes Hugo Gonzalez, Eddie Roman, Maurice Meyer, Scotty
Freeman and Robert Peterson.
News - KPIX 5 - 1986
Filmed at Beach Park cyclery and includes ground and wedge ramp on the
Skyway ramps. Footage includes Robert Peterson, Maurice Meyer, Chris
and Karl Rothe and Darcy Langlois.
Merv Griffin - CBS - 1986
On a promotional tour for the movie Rad, Robert Peterson appeared
on the Merv Griffin show with Rad actor and olympic gymnast Bart Connors.
By the way, Merv Griffin is also from Nor Cal.
Pacific Currents - KPIX 5 - 9/1986
Filmed in San Francisco at Golden Gate park featuring Maurice Meyer
and Golden Gate Park locals like Chris and Karl Rothe, Mike Perkins,
Marc McKee, Tim Traecy, Darcy Langlois and many others. Notice that
Darcy has a chrome '85 Street Beat which he had chromed himself.
News - KNTV 11 - 9/1986
IBMXF world championships in Vancouver. Besides some big airs on
the Skyway quarter-pipe, you get a peek at Hugo's full-on Smokey and
the Bandit Camaro Z28 ride plus younger brother Oscar blasting a few.
Anchored by Maggi Scura.
Filmed in San Jose at Hugo Gonzalez' work just after he won the
Ask Max - Disney - 11/2/1986
Television special featuring Max, the young inventor of the Sky Bike.
Hugo Gonzalez and Scotty Freeman do bicycle stuntwork - Hugo doubling for
Max and Scotty as a young "tuff".
Skyway Promotional - 1987
Promotional video for Skyway made by Unreel Productions. Includes
footage from the 1986 AFA Masters finals at Dominguez Hills, CA
and some from the Austin AFA contest. Never produced chrome Street
Beat is displayed. Footage includes Hugo Gonzalez, Matt Hoffman,
Robert Peterson, Eddie Roman, Scotty Freeman and Maurice Meyer.
The Adventurers - Discovery - 9/1987
Introduced by announcer telling Tony Hawk these guys do on a bike
what he does on a skateboard. Filmed at a Skyway team bike shop show
during the 1987 tour. Footage includes Matt Hoffman, Eddie Roman
and Maurice Meyer. Matt shows off scars from his first shoulder injury.
Commercial - Fisher Price PXL 2000 10/1987
Advertisement for the Fisher Price PXL 2000 Video System. Footage
includes John Donald and Norman Chuck's radio.
News - KTVU 2 - 11/1988
News report on the death of Dave Vanderspek. Includes footage from
Joey Lopes' ramp and personal messages from his friends and family.
Home Turf - 4/1/1989
Home Turf television show report on the O-Zone freestyle team
including ramp, ground and "street" at Calabasas dirt jumps.
Footage includes Craig Campbell, Oscar Gonzalez, Eric Emerson,
Pete Brant, Carly Garcia, Danny Schow and Craig Grasso. Hostess
Dominique Di Prima raps. Don't miss it...
Evening Magazine - KTVU 2 - 1989
News report on the O-Zone freestyle shows at Raging Waters in San
Jose, CA. Footage includes Craig Campbell, Oscar Gonzalez, Leo Chen,
Eric Emerson, Pete Brant and Carly Garcia.
News - KTVU 2 - 1996
News segment on the Warped Tour show in San Francisco. Features Ron
Wilkerson riding and singing in his band Cellophane.
That's Incredible - 1983
TV show segment featuring RL Osborn racing a horse through an obstacle
course. Also includes footage of Mike Buff in a skatepark and
bunnyhopping 16 people laying down.
Young Robert Peterson and His Hovercraft - Superkids 1982
News magazine segment on Robert Peterson and the hovercraft he made.
This was before his BMX freestyle days.
1985 news coverage of Vander at Joe Lopes'.
Other Home Turf episodes with bikes.
Better copy of Evening Magazine Curb Dogs feature.
Original recording of Redding show.
Japanese TV game show filmed in San Francisco where a contestent'
"punishment" is a trip to San Francisco but with a catch - she
has to ride a messenger bike on our hills. I shot a scene for
this in the 80's and never got a chance to see it.