York rider Kevin Jones joins the BMX Hall of Fame
Legendary York BMX freestyler Kevin Jones will be among six riders inducted into the National BMX Hall of Fame on October 28 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
According to a press release: “From the small Pennsylvania Harley-building town came the Plywood Hoods – a group of up-and-coming young freestylers who would all make a name for themselves in BMX. Among the Hoods who would create the legendary VHS video series, titled Dorkin’ in York, was the innovator Kevin Jones. His video parts in Dorkin, his creativity, hard work ethic and incredible list of tricks drew appropriate comparisons to Kev being the Rodney Mullin of BMX.
Here is a 2016 York Daily Record story about Jones:
It’s 1984. The new movie “The Karate Kid” inspires young grasshoppers all over the world. Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” is taking over the radio. VCRs are starting to appear.
And, in sunny Thunderdohm skatepark near Triangle Printing in York, a group of kids are about to shake up the freestyle BMX industry.
These teenagers were thousands of miles from the BMX mecca that hugged the California coast from Redondo Beach to Corona to Orange and beyond, where cameras flashed, bikes swung and superstars thrived.
The band made a name for themselves, and by the 90s most people in the BMX world had heard of the Plywood Hoods. They didn’t want fame or glory. All they wanted was to ride. And by doing that, they showed the industry that BMX wasn’t just a lifestyle that parents or society didn’t approve of – it could be a rider’s future.
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But the Hoods have never had such big ambitions. What has become a BMX household name started in the Red Lion Area High School cafeteria and led to the skate park and the streets of York.
Brett Downs, Mike Daily and Brian Peters started out doing tricks and aiming for competitions. They jokingly called their gang the Plywood Hoods because the name sounded like the Cardboard Lords, a breakdancing team that had started gaining attention around the same time in York. Soon the parties met and joined forces.
“After a while my band ended up meeting Mike and his band,” Lords member Mark Eaton said of himself and fellow breakdancers Kevin Jones, Dale Mitzel and Jamie McKulik. “Mike had pegs on his bike, which was a whole new thing in BMX. And we said, ‘Let’s do this. We thought BMX was similar in the way you move and the way you can be creative.”
And the many tours of the Thunderdohm and the streets began.
“In a way, the Thunderdohm was kind of a training ground for us,” said Eaton, whose early BMX records led him to a career in film and video.
The group began developing tricks thousands of miles away from California, where a BMX scene saturated with magazine media was slowly overtaking the declining skateboarding empire, Eaton said. Despite the distance, and after many hours of practice, the Hoods’ tricks began to revolutionize the new “flatland” style of BMX freestyle, where riders perform intricate, twisting tricks on flat surfaces.
“Being at York made us great runners because we didn’t know any better,” Downs said. “We were so removed and isolated from the BMX community that we could create our own style and our own way of doing things.”
It took a deafening crowd in Austin, Texas in 1987 for the BMX community to turn to the Hoods. Jones, who Eaton and others consider one of the best in freestyle BMX history, shocked the crowd with his “Locomotive”, “Trolley” and “Standing Room Only” tricks.
“Jones is this kid who comes out of nowhere with this crazy stuff, nobody knows him, nobody knows what’s going on,” Eaton said. “They loved it. I remember how strong it was. It was crazy.”
With Jones’ talent, Eaton’s camera skills, Daily’s “Aggro Rag” zine, and the band’s general showmanship, this group of East Coast runners had made their presence known.
As the ’90s replaced the ’80s, The Hoods continued to impress with the moves of their “Dorkin’ in York” videos, some of the first homemade BMX freestyle videos that would feature Dave Mirra, a young rider who will later become a BMX. Legend.
Over 30 years later, the Plywood Hoods still have BMX in their blood. Downs and Jones still meet to resume their old tricks at secret locations around town. Eaton has pursued his love of BMX through film and video production. The long-running York Jam, where runners come to York to show off stuff, has resumed, Downs said.
“We made money, we made a living from it, we got paychecks, but that’s never the reason we did it,” Downs said. “And that’s good, because when you don’t get the paychecks, you still do it because it’s fun.”
The BMX scene has changed a lot since the days of VCRs and mail-order magazine orders. But the Hoods’ do-it-yourself attitude predates the internet, which allowed anyone to be, well, anything.
“What the Hoods have done is show the world that you can do whatever you want on a BMX bike,” Brian Tunney, former BMX pro and director of digital content for Xgames.com, said in an email. -mail. “The fact that they did it in York – so far from the established BMX industry – made it even better. And that they did it with their own tricks is remarkable.”
The Thunderdohm was razed about 10 years after its inception in the late ’70s. Now skaters and riders flock to the Reid Menzer Memorial Skatepark, where Downs went to practice one morning in April.
As Downs packed his two bikes into his silver Subaru to leave, a sedan pulled up and parked nearby. Two teenagers got out of the car, pulled two used BMX bikes out of the trunk, and headed out to the park.
— By Abigail Geiger