Re Print: Stauffer's got nothing to offer?

Looking back and catching up with a true trail riding pioneer

4 Jun 2015


Hometown hero - 2015. Photo by Rob Dolecki

Original story printed in DIG 68 'The Trails Issue' Jan/Feb 2009 - Photos By Rob Dolecki / Sandy Carson / Kay Clauberg

“Stauffer’s got nothing to offer.”

I think it was Jay Miron that first uttered those words in Daryl Nau's classic video "Seek And Destroy". If you’re a little older, you probably remember the words fondly. Stauffer, the non-drinker at the time, getting heckled by a drunken BMX legend and taking it as well as anyone could be expected to.

Over 10 (now 15) years ago, Chris Stauffer, a native of the Bethlehem, PA area, was featured in Stew Johnson’s classic trail riding video Anthem: Home of the Brave. Not only that, Stauffer’s iconic tabletop/invert appeared on the cover of the video. Feet barely connected to the pedals, front tire mere inches from his baseball hat, oozing pure trails style. It was this video that plunged Stauffer into the media limelight, earning him a spot first on the Hoffman Bikes team, and later on Federal. The video also pushed the name Chris Stauffer into the trail riding record books. As a matter of fact, to this day, his name is almost always included in any “Top 5 Trail Riders of all Time” by any contemporary trail riders.

Stauffer also became known for his antics. A believer in the straight edge movement, Stauffer was featured alongside Robbie Morales, Kris Bennett and John Dye in Dig’s Straight Edge Issue in 1998. In his interview, he professed a liking for smashing televisions, and in the photos, he tweaked everything as far as possible. There was a certain anger to Chris Stauffer, and he channeled it into his riding, pushing everything to the brink of no return, while going smoother and higher than most. But his riding skills weren’t the only thing he had going for himself. Stauffer’s trail building skills eventually earned him a builder’s spot at dirt comps throughout the world, including the X-Games.

stauffer butthouse1 web

Trademark Stauffer x-up on a Hoffman Flash in the Butthouse backyard, circa '97. Photo by Sandy Carson

Still, it would be unfair to discuss Chris Stauffer based on skills alone. Stauffer was (is) a character like no other. As outspoken as could be, if he didn’t like something, he let it be known. Even if it hurt his close friends. Kinda like Kramer telling the girl on Seinfeld that she was good looking, she just needed a nose job. Only much more biting and confrontational.

Stauffer also went on to front his own clothing company. Known simply as Dead Memory, Stauffer and his partner Murph produced a line of t-shirts and hats that people still hold dear more than a few years later. Eventually, Stauffer also gave up the straight edge lifestyle and in a short time, became legendary for his party antics. Then something happened. I don’t know why, but Stauffer sort of faded away from the BMX limelight. That was a few years ago.

When this article was written at the end of 2008, Stauffer still rode and still lived in Philadelphia, bar tending for work. He also still made time to return to ride his hometown trails, probably pissing off a few people, and was probably making it onto a few more “Top 5 Trail Riders of All Time” lists.

And that’s the thing about Chris Stauffer. Ultimately, Stauffer leaves a mark on most everything he touches or encounters. It may be good or it may be bad, but there’s no doubting the mark of Chris Stauffer. I think BMX is still feeling it.

It turns out, Stauffer did have a lot to offer. - BT 1

Classic tabled style from Stauffer. Sometime in 2004, Eastern PA. Photo by Rob Dolecki

Outside of the piece above that ran in DIG Issue 68 in 2008, the name Chris Stauffer has been out of the media spotlight for about a decade now. While you may not see his iconic tables over the 250s section at Posh these days, rest assured he's still in the Bethlehem area cruising the BMX at his local trails when time allows. Rob Dolecki caught up with Stauff ealier this month to get a few quick words about what he's been up to recently.


Chris Stauffer B-Town May 2015 - Photo by Rob Dolecki

What are you up to right now?

At Sales’ trails right now. Me and my buddy Jeremy Guvich started rebuilding them last summer. Pretty fun, pretty easy shit. You don’t have to worry about killing yourself on them.

Does Sal (Chris Sales) know you’re digging there again?

Yeah, he does. He’s been down here a few times. He’s thinking about getting on a bike again. It’s real easy and forgiving here.

Why did you move back to Bethlehem?

I was building greenhouses with Kyle Keck and Dan Pors. WE would be on the road for a few weeks at a time. I got back to Philadelphia one time, and I got robbed; all my records, my shit was gone. That happened on a Friday, and by Monday I was living in Bethlehem.

What are you doing for work now?

I’m a maintenance/ groundskeeper at a housing management company. I cruise around in a golf cart all day and fix anything that goes wrong in the houses.

Have you been riding any other trails?

It’s been maybe three years; I rode Posh about three years ago.

What do you think of the trails scene these days?

It’s fucking mind-blowing. I took my dog to Catty Woods, and I was blown away. I’d never seen anything like that; it’s pretty incredible. It felt like when I went to the original Posh when I was a kid; I couldn’t wrap my mind around what I was seeing. I want to ride it this year; I’m scared though. It gets real towards the end of each line. I think it’s awesome though.

Chris Stauffer trails Grabel france 2001 d17 kc

Stauffer - Grabel, France. DIG 17, 2001. Photo by Kay Caluberg