2017 Vansprocup2 Mexico Young Turndown
23 Mar 2018

Forget the Olympics - The VANS BMX Pro Cup is back

Featuring Interviews with Dugan, Enarson, Young, Buitrago, Walsh, and Doyle

vans flying v clean

Words and photos by Rob Dolecki

The international Vans BMX Pro Cup series has gained quite a reputation. Instead of using traditional judging criteria for parks, which is focused primarily on trick progression, these concrete bowl comps favor style, creativity, and unique lines, something that seems to make a more relaxed environment with positive vibes emanating from everyone entered. Ahead of the first stop of the 2018 series (which started this weekend in Chile), we caught up with the likes of Dugan, Enarson, Young, Buitrago, Walsh, and Doyle to get some riders’ perspective on their Pro Cup experiences; lots of good words below. 

The series stops for 2018 are as follows:

2018 WORLD TOUR SCHEDULE

Regional Qualifiers

March 23 & 25 - Santiago, Chile

April 27 - Sydney, Australia 

June 28 - Woodward East, Pennsylvania 

August 24 - Guadalajara, Mexico

September 21 - Málaga, Spain 

*Open Registration Information is available on vansbmxprocup.com

Pro Tour 

April 29 - Sydney Australia

August 3 & 5 - Huntington Beach, CA  

August 25 - 26 - Guadalajara, Mexico 

World Championship 

Málaga, Spain September 22 - 23 

For new updates and more information on competition format, locations, athletes and more, please visit www.vansbmxprocup.com.

2017 Vansprocup2 Mexico Enarson Tooth

Dennis Enarson

You went to all the Pro Cup stops last year?

Yeah.

How have you been liking them?

It’s been so fun. We went to Australia, and stayed an extra week, and Spain I went a week early. It’s cool not being a typical domestic thing; it’s cool being a worldwide tour. I naturally ride street or parks at home in Sand Diego, and these feel natural and not forced.

How do you like concrete park courses as opposed to wood setups?

I like concrete because I actually ride it more than wood right now. But I like everything.

How have the Pro Cups been for you, compared to other contests in general?

It kind of reminds me of Dew Tour days, where you see all your really good contest travel friends, then you see them again next month, then the next month. It’s a family; I’ve been coming even closer with all these guys than before. That’s my favorite part of it- traveling with 25 of my favorite people.

Do you feel these contests have helped fuel a resurgence of all-around riders?

You can do every trick and do well, or you could be similar to Geoff Slattery and just do no tricks and kill it. It’s skills that matter at these. You could do every trick and if you’re not landing good, you’re not going to get scored as good as someone just rides the shit out of the bowl and handles it.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen at the Pro Cups last year?

Larry (Edgar) riding Ruben’s park. The pump and power he has, that was one of the most beautiful things to see. Just practice, it was like, “Whoa, he’s on another level.”

How important do you consider contests like these?

For myself, I want to do well at whatever I do. These contests are so sick; I want to do my part to make these contests look as cool as possible. These contests are so good for BMX, because any kid has a chance to do good at them. You don’t need a foam pit; you just need to get good at riding. It’s a total skill thing.

How did you like the open qualifiers at each event?

That was sick. The Australian and Spain ones I knew a lot of the people. In Mexico, it was tons of names I never seen before. Colombians, Brazilians, Mexicans, these dudes that don’t have a chance to ride in the States get a chance to come out and shine. BMX is small and really tight-knit, and we need to let everyone show their skills.

2017 Vansprocup2 Mexico Enarson Nftcan

"You don’t need a foam pit; you just need to get good at riding. It’s a total skill thing."

-Dennis Enarson

2017 Vansprocup  Mexico Buitrago Oneftdrksde

Nina Buitrago

How did the women’s class at the Vans Pro Cup come about?

I really wanted to ride the H.B. bowl the first time I ever saw it. Once I saw the girl’s skateboarding event happen, I tried to leverage our way in, try to give as many options as possible to include us. I thought it would be cool to involve us. It took one year, and we got to do a demo before Men’s final in Huntingdon Beach.  It was awesome; we filled the stands, the girls had a great time, everyone killed it, and Badders was sold. A few months later, he said the Pro Cup was going global, and wanted to do something. I’m stoked Vans is embracing it.

Do think this will have an effect on the women’s BMX community?

I think it’s been so great. It’s really inspired and motivated so many of the girls, myself included. A lot of these girls, they are the only one in their area. All of a sudden, when you’re done with your run, getting to go on the deck into the catcher’s mitt of cheerleading. Everyone’s trying new stuff. As a whole it’s really helping grow the scene.

How have the contests gone so far?

They’ve all been great. Sydney was amazing. The weather kind of balled up our event a little bit. Each stop has been an even better turnout than the previous.

Has there been many different riders at each stop?

Yeah, it’s really cool. A couple of U.S. riders have made it out to a few stops. We’ve just been having a blast getting to meet these international ladies that we don’t always get to see. These international events are really crucial for bringing us all together.

How do the Pro Cups differ from other events?

With it being a bowl contest, it changes the vibe. When you have more of a box jump setup, it can get a little boring. I think this series in particular brings out more of the freestyle vibes, where you gotta get creative; you have to figure out where your style fits. It reminds me of the older contests like the Metro Jam, but in a bowl. It’s great to have a rider-run event that’s on a global scale.

How do you like concrete park courses as opposed to wood setups?

As much as I like the wood ramps, concrete is gnarly and awesome at the same time. It’s not for everyone. Living in Austin, we’re so lucky to have so much concrete, and getting to travel so much last year. Concrete’s fun.

Do you feel there is a resurgence of the all-around rider?

I think so. It’s forcing people riders out of their comfort zone. A lot of women don’t ride concrete as much as some people. These contests are so fun that it’s bringing all types of riders out.

Is there anywhere you’d like to see a Pro Cup stop in the future?

Some place new that I’d never been. Some place in the Northwest. Myrtle Creek, Oregon would be so insane. There are so many good bowls out there. Somewhere in Colorado, Costa Rica or Brazil.

2017 Vansprocup2 Mexico Maggei Valenzuela

One of the lesser-known women shredders getting some shine time, thanks to the Pro Cup series-Maggei Valenzuela.

2017 Vansprocup2 Mexico Walsh Trnsfr

Corey Walsh

How do the Pro Cups differ from other contests?

Man, I haven’t been to that many contests. I went to FISE one year; it’s not even relatable. I went to every single Metro Jam when I was a kid; I didn’t get to ride them since I was just a kid. Spain had that same vibe.

Compare concrete to wood parks.

 I love concrete. I didn’t ride a concrete bowl until I moved to Vancouver. I only rode wood parks. I ride concrete the most because it’s convenient. I like how you can put your own touch on things. I like open pockets; you don’t get those at wood skateparks.

What’s your favorite aspect of the Pro Cup series?

Just how relaxed it is. There’s more money involved compared to racing, but there’s no stress. Every single one is so positive.

If you were spectating at a comp, who would be your dream group to watch?

Joe, Garrett, Ruben. I got to ride with that group two days after the event in Malaga. Paul Buchanan- I really want to see that motherfucker ride, because he’s the mystery GOAT. Jay Miron, John Heaton, just because he lived so close to me. Every dude at the Pro Cups is so sick; it’s kind like a dream being in heats with them.

What’s been the craziest thing you’ve seen at the Pro Cups last year?

Quinch doing a 900 in a cornered pocket in Australia; it wasn’t easy to air.

Do you think there’s a resurgence of the all-around rider?

I kind of feel like kids are starting to get stoked on transition again. I respect the shit out of technical riding; some people might not get it. Maybe all-around is coming around.

Where you like to see any stops go down, in particular?

Hastings in Vancouver. That would be the craziest course to see. It was opened up like ten years ago by the Canadian Beast; that motherfucker would ride that shit until he was hurt.
 
How important do you consider contests to be?

I don’t like being competitive. Racing was miserable. I like competing at the Pro Cups because it doesn’t feel like it. They aren’t important at all. But they allow us to ride more things and to plan trips around them, which is the coolest thing.

Do you think contests like these help promote BMX as a whole?

Kids aren’t doing triple whips and landing on their cranks, because they can’t get speed for the next ramp. People going fast and going high, people like Sergio making it look like art.

2017 Vansprocup2 Mexico Dugan Lookbck

Tom Dugan

What do you like about concrete parks/ bowls compared to other types of courses?

I love it. You only ride cement bowls if you love riding them; a lot of times they are really weird to ride. Each one has its own vibe. I love how cement rides, fast as shit and unforgiving, and fun to figure out. But I could be riding anything and have just as much fun.

How do the Pro Cups differ from other contests?

It seems like there is usually a good crew of people riding them. I don’t usually get to fuck with contests series too much. This past year I’ve been liking contests a lot more. This one is helping me, making me calmer, since it’s shit that I do anyway.

What is your favorite aspect of these events?

I’d say being friends with pretty much every one of the riders, and getting to run into so many of homies. And the fact that they are straight up judging on how a bowl should be ridden.

Do you think there’s a resurgence of the all-around rider?

Yeah, I feel like you have to be that if you truly enjoy riding. If you don’t like riding that much to ride everything, those are the people that fall out of it. You can get burnt out on that one thing.

Do you think the Pro Cup is helping that?

Yeah, it’s helping; shows you can still shred don’t have to do some crazy combo.

Where would you like to see any stops go down, in particular?

I hear there might be one in Budapest. That would be a sick-ass place. Tough call- I’d like to see it at my home bowl, Wichita. I think anywhere some shredders could be brought out of the woodwork, to bring someone cool into the contest.

How important do you consider contests to be?

For some people I see the importance of it. I don’t think they are important at all for me.  I just enjoy it. I’m in a contest for myself. For my style of riding, I can’t let it be that important; I'd be let down. I get tenth and I get stoked.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen at the Pro Cups last year?

Nyquist’s first-ever 900, in Australia. On cement. So stoked to be in a contest with him; been looking up to that motherfucker forever, and he’s still sending it so hard.

2017 Vansprocup2  Mexico Doyle Nftcan

Chris Doyle

Was the Guadalajara stop your first Pro Cup?

Yes. It was great. I don’t know if you could have picked a better location with more locals genuinely stoked on all these pros being here at their hometown. I know people drove from all over Mexico to be here. For Vans to come out and do something like this, it's really special. Not only for myself, but also for the Mexican community. I’m stoked to be a part of it.

You’ve been to your share of comps over the years; how are the Pro Cups different?

I think it’s just the atmosphere -The locals bring so much to it. The bowl in Guadalajara is not easy to ride. This one is a lot more challenging. It makes it special where you have to think about it a little more.

How was it riding with the locals?

You come down here and you realize a lot of these guys don’t have the means to travel much. To be here in their home country and for them to be shredding was awesome. They have the park wired; it was really fun to watch.

How was it being the oldest guy at the Guadalajara stop last year?

It happens really fast. I was typically the youngest guy when I started competing. Now I’m the old guy. I’m just happy I’m still around to appreciate it, and I’d like to think everyone treats me like another bike rider. That’s all it is, young, old, whatever ethnicity, we’re all here for the same reason. I might get a little more tired faster. (Laughter)

Being a regular at all the crazy concrete parks in Pittsburgh, how do you like concrete courses as opposed to say wood courses?

I treat them differently. Concrete is more relatable to trails, and that’s what I grew up riding, and what I love to ride the most. I just love flowing around and trying to keep my speed, don’t pedal too much, and try and throw some tricks in there.

If you were spectating at a comp, who would be your dream group to watch?

When I was 14 years old, I went to a contest in Greenville, and Colin Winkleman and Dave Mirra were there. I’d never seen riding like that in my own eyes; it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen. It would be rad to see those guys session again. That’s the nostalgia part of me. Dream riders to watch at a concrete park - Chase Hawk, Mike Aitken, Sergio, Tom Dugan- because you never know what’s going to happen (with Tom); it could be the biggest thing you ever seen or could be the biggest slam. All those guys are top shelf in my book.

You’ve always been a varied-terrain rider who has stayed away from trends; do you see a resurgence of the all-around rider?

I think so. Especially coming to one of these comps, you see all these guys, and they can shred anything. I think there is a resurgence of riders who enjoy riding anything; younger guys like Dennis Enarson. It’s getting to that point where it’s not as segregated as it maybe once was a few years ago.

Where you like to see any stops go down?

At my local park, which is three miles from home. (Laughter) I would love it if they did it like a five-stop series. I went to Canberra, Australia; there are so many insane riders there. Hastings park in Vancouver would be sick. Salt Lake City – the Sandy park.

Do you think contests like these get kids psyched on bowl riding, which might help promote everything in BMX in general?

Yeah, definitely. It gets people stoked. At this point in BMX, where it’s kind of on a low swing, it gives kids something to watch and look forward to, even if it’s on their phones. I think things like these are really important.

2017 Vansprocup2  Mexico Young Table

Gary Young

Have you been you all the Pro Cups last year?

Yeah, the first one was in Australia. It was a treat. It rained a lot, but with this crew, it didn’t matter because everyone in the contest was cleaning the decks, making the course rideable. Going to Spain, it was Ruben’s bowl. That was a treat in itself; that was really, really fun. In Guadalajara, none of us had ridden here, and it was a challenge. Every three to six inches was a different transition.

How to you feel going from a concrete masterpiece like Malaga to a challenging one like Guadalajara?

I think it makes for a more well-rounded series winner at the end. I’m a fan of the dudes who do well in this contest; it’s cool this series is providing everything under the sun for them to ride.

Being someone who’s obviously a fan of concrete, how do you like these, as opposed to most park contests, which are usually more conventional–style wood parks?

Wood parks are fun, but this is where my heart is. I like having to think how to make a run together. The challenge of this for me is what gets me stoked.

How do you view a comp like this that is more focused on how you are riding a course, as opposed to just trick progression?

It’s cool, because to the normal kid, it’s more accessible. When I watch the big resi contests, I’m like, “that doesn’t look like anything I do.” If I can’t relate to it, and I’ve been riding for over twenty years, how is a young kid from Idaho going to want to do seven flips in a row? I think these are a lot more inviting for kids to get into it.

How do you like the locals having an opportunity to ride the day before and qualify to ride with you and other established riders?

I think it’s awesome. For the longest time, things have just been invite-only. It’s really suppressed younger generations coming up. This series has really opened it up. I like it a lot.

What’s been the craziest thing you’ve seen at these events so far?

Trick-wise, Nyquist trying to send his first 900 on a concrete quarter; that’s pretty manly. Seeing some of the Aussie locals- they could just blast so unreal; it was inspiring. In Spain, the camaraderie that all the Spanish had was pretty rad. The vibe at that park was just unreal.

Where you like to see any stops go down, in particular?

Myrtle Creek, Oregon is pretty good. I like Boulder, Colordao. Even newer parks that people haven’t ridden- it makes for a more fair contest in this sort of thing.

Last year, you’ve been at all kinds of jams/ comps that vary from Swampfest to X-Games; where do the Pro Cups fit in?

This one seems to be the most well-rounded. You can’t really mess with the Swampfest vibe; but these are much closer to Swampfest vibe than X-Games vibe. The dudes that come to these; they are the dudes I want to see ride. When they do something good, everyone gets stoked. When you go to some other bigger contests, not everyone gets stoked; it’s weird. It’s a good vibe at the Pro Cups.

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