Uncovering Homan And Kachinsky's "Uncovered" Contest Series
"I wanted to do something that was more inclusive"
23 Jan 2018
Words and photos by Rob Dolecki
When two notables like Van Homan (FIT) and Brian Kachinsky (GT/VANS) combine forces to create an Am-based contest series, you stop and take notice. In DIG’s case, we ask questions too. "Uncovered" is the name of the plaza series they've put together, with three stops based in the Northeast and Midwest U.S. going down during the next three months. Being that winter weather makes indoor riding more often than not the only option in this region, these contests sound like a great excuse to take a break from days on end couch-bound binging on various Netflix shows, while dreaming for Spring temps. Check out more insight into the whole deal with Mr. Homan and BK at the first stop of the series at Charm City Mason Dixon Skatepark in Maryland.
What prompted you and Brian to start the “Uncovered” series?
Van: A few years ago I realized that a lot of the events out there were invite only. I love the idea of an exclusive contest, but it had gotten to the point where if you weren’t one of the best 12 riders in the world, then there weren’t a lot of jams or contests for you to be a part of. I wanted to do something that was more inclusive, but my ideas snowballed and next thing I knew I was attempting an event that was unrealistic. Looking back, I sort of lost sight of my original goal, which was to just bring BMXers together and have a good time, so the event never got traction. After that, I was a little discouraged, but kept telling myself I was going to revisit the idea with a more grassroots approach. Earlier this year I mentioned the idea to Brian Kachinsky; he’s always highly motivated and has put on rad events before, so I thought we’d be a great combo to get something going. Brian instantly started sending over ideas, logos, etc. and really got the spark going for the Uncovered project.
Why did you guys team up for this?
Brian: Van and I are friends and have been to tons of contests together over the years, and we thought it would be cool to team up and make one happen ourselves.
Van: Again, Brian had done stuff before and he’s a good friend, so I thought it would be the perfect storm. We are both in a place where we have an opportunity to give back and use our resources to bring riders together. Uncovered is a passion project and I think we’re both really excited to see how it unfolds.
What’s the end goal with the series?
Van: The name Uncovered eludes to the concept of uncovering up-and-coming talent. We want everyone to feel like they can be part of this. I think it’s good to bring riders together and create an energy that is sometimes ignored in today’s world of social media. We sort of wanted to rekindle some of the energy Brian and I felt at CFBs, Metro Jams, Roots Jams, etc. Basically just bring riders together for a good time and give up-and-comers a chance to be seen.
Brian: There’s several “end goals” to the series. Here’s a handful of goals we have in mind-
1) Get people riding together/hanging out in the winter months when BMX scenes tend to slow down.
2) Help out indoor skateparks that make riding in cold climates possible during the winter.
3) Fill a void in Am contests… there’s not enough of these currently happening.
4) Get some Ams noticed outside their scene and region and give some shine to some of these bad-ass riders that can sometimes be overlooked.
5) Help catapult some riders from being Ams into full-fledged Pros of the future.
6) Have riders of all skill levels push themselves and have a fun day on their bikes… and more.
Why a street plaza-style contest series?
Brian: There isn’t a ton of street contests for Ams these days. Van and I have both ridden in a ton of street contests over the years and thought it would be cool to create something for this segment of BMX which we have roots in ourselves.
Why are you keeping it 100% Am-based with no Pro class at all?
Brian: Sometimes when you hold a contest, the Am class gets pushed aside a bit to make room/time for the Pro class. We didn’t want this to happen. I think by having it Am-only, you can just use all the resources, prizes, time and energy on them and not have them feel like they are being rushed or glanced over. Pros are welcome to come hang out, help out, judge, whatever, but we won’t allow them to ride in these contests.
How do the Intermediate and Semi-Pro classifications work?
Van: Basically we wanted to have an Intermediate class so that anyone feels welcome to ride. We really encourage everyone to get out there, do your thing and get some high-fives no matter what level they’re on. Semi-Pro is for a more expert/Pro level riding. It’s sort of meant to give guys the chance to be “Uncovered”.
Brian: Here’s a breakdown-
There’s no age restriction for each class. Choose whichever class you think you feel comfortable riding in after reading the descriptions below. The entry fees are assigned accordingly because the directly correlate to the prizes awarded. Intermediate winners will receive product packages from the Uncovered sponsors. Semi-Pro winners will receive cash, some product and ALSO a chance at winning the overall series prize: an invite and all-expenses paid trip to compete at the Battle of Hastings at Source Park in Hasting, U.K. in September 2018!
Intermediate: The intermediate class is for those riders who love to ride and want to push themselves in a contest setting. No previous contest experience is required, but even if you have entered contests before, that’s OK too! Intermediate riders might not feel like they ride at a Semi-Pro level yet, but want to see how well they can dial in their tricks and perhaps pull some new ones they’ve never tried before.
Semi-Pro: Riders who enter the Semi-Pro class are those who ride at a nearly Pro level. Semi-Pro riders have placed well in other Am contests before or possibly put out some notable video parts, etc. Semi-Pro class riders might even get flow from bike or parts companies but aren’t currently on the Pro Team for a major bike or parts brand. This DOES NOT include riders who might have received money for riding in shows or demos. Those riders are still allowed to enter the Semi-Pro class.
Who’s NOT ALLOWED to compete in Uncovered: While we hate to exclude anyone from competing, we have to draw the line somewhere to attempt to make it fair. You can’t compete in the Semi-Pro class if you say yes to any of the following:
-You’re currently a paid rider on the Pro Team of a bike or parts brand
-You’ve been nominated for a Nora Cup or been invited to compete in a major Pro event.
-You’ve been told by Uncovered organizers or judges that you’re beyond the Semi-Pro level.
If you don’t fit into any of these, you're welcome to compete! Also, if you are currently Pro, you’re welcome to come hang out and support all the shredders riding in the event!
How did the three locations come about?
Van: The concept was to do something during the winter months to give riders an escape from the harsh East Coast/Midwest weather. We brainstormed a few parks in various locations that we thought we would work well with. The parks are spread out to give a wide range of riders a chance to make it out. All three park owners are super down with what we are doing so that makes the whole process easier.
Are there any particular up-and-coming shredders you're hoping to see ride at any of the stops?
Brian: Yeah! There’s plenty of dudes from the East Coast and Midwest that I’m looking forward to seeing ride, but also I’m looking forward to seeing dudes I’ve never even heard of.
Do you have any other dream skatepark/ locations for potential future Uncovered events?
Brian: Not a dream location in particular. It’s less about location and more about the vibe/scene. A good fun vibe at a contest is always the best.
How do you guys see the current state of contests/ events in the U.S.?
Van: Honestly, I think it’s amazing right now. I feel like other riders noticed the void in BMX a few years ago and events on every scale have been popping up all over.
Brian: I think there’s some really awesome events/contest happening right now. I’ve been to tons of inspiring jams/events this year and I always leave them thinking, “there needs to be more of these”. Of course, that’s easier said than done, but I applaud anyone who puts together events/jams/contests. They’re a lot of work but they all have their place and achieve the main goal of getting BMXers together. That’s always awesome.
If these go as planned, and ideas for future events?
Van: Definitely, don’t see any reason not to do more events in the future as long as we continue to get support from the parks and brands to make it happen. Right now we are obviously focused on these three events but random ideas have already been running through my head for next year.
Brian: If these go as planned we will definitely do more of them. I actually have a couple ideas for possible future events/projects which I’m pumped about, but first things first- we just want to make this contest series a fun one. After the dust settles from these, we will start dreaming up what comes next.
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