The BMX Mania Pre-ABA Grands 2000 Interview
With Eric "Big Daddy" Rupe
BMX Mania - We're here in Cyber Space, with Eric Rupe, Living Legend of BMX. The ABA Grands are a little over a week away, and we have a hunch that Big Daddy, as some people call him, will be in the thick of things. Let's ask Mr. Daddy some questions about his thoughts on the ABA Grand Nationals. Um, Eric, can you remember your first ABA Grands, when was it, where was it, and what class were you racing?

That's one stylin' dude! it's Eric Rupe, lookin' kind of young!

Big Daddy, posin' with the Mongoose Factory rig, somewhere around 1988. Socal Style!

Eric -Well Jerry, my first ABA Grands were in Oklahoma way back in 1982. I was racing AA Pro and Pro Open. If memory serves me correctly and I believe it does, I finished fifth in my AA-Pro semi and wasn't real happy about it. Brian Patterson won the #1 Pro Title and Little Steve Veltman won #1 Am and #1 Am Cruiser. Not to bad for the "Hutch" kid from Texas. The track was pretty tight, didn't have many jumps and had a starting hill 15 feet high that was completely made of wood! Speaking of jumps, I remember the track having 8 jumps on the whole thing! These days, the tracks have that many jumps on one straight. Boy have times changed. 

BMX Mania - Do you have a prediction about who will win the ABA Grands in AA? How about the #1 Pro Title?

Eric - As far as who will win the Grands in AA-Pro, there's no doubt in my mind that it will be Dr. Holeshot (new nickname) Craig Reynolds! My boy is gonna be more than ready for this one and after coming off an amazing performance at "Invert", Craig will be completely fired up and ready to taste the "Victory Champagne"! As far as the AA-Pro Title goes, it's gonna go to (and you can quote me) the guy who finishes the season with the most points. I can guarantee it and if anyone wants to bet me on that, I've got a thousand bucks to put up. Seriously folks, I'm friends with Wade Bootes, Jamie Staff and Greg Romero and picking which one will win it would be like throwing darts blind folded. I just couldn't say. REALLY!

The Pink and Gray were the greatest!

The "Late 80's, Goose Gang"! Seated, T.M., Dave Custadero, & Gary DeBacker. Joyriding from left, Eric Rupe, Shelby "Invincible" James, Sam Arrelano & Travis Chipres. This was one of the most talented and personable BMX teams of all time.

BMX Mania - Do you have a prediction for Vet Pro? 

Eric -YES, I have a prediction! I predict that there will be a class at the Grands and there will be a winner. I just want to take this time to say how greatful I am (and I think I can speak for the rest of the Vet Class) that we as "old pro's" have been given a place to showcase our talents and can still compete with one another on a professional level. We may not be quite as skilled as some of those "Kid Pros" but, we still go pretty quickly. At 37 I can still give just about any pro fits down the first straight. AND I can still get beat racing Vet! Go figure? Those dudes really are fast. 

BMX Mania - If you would lose the Vet Pro title, do you plan to seek a recount? 

Eric -If I were to lose the Vet Pro Title, I would of course be disappointed but, would graciously hand over my current #1 plate to the winner. When you have prepared yourself as much as I have for something that your mind is TOTALLY focussed on and there is nothing left to do but go out and win, to not win the title would simply mean that it wasn't meant to be. I would accept that.  

BMX Mania - Moving on to some other items, I know that in my previous encounters with you, that you have a pretty good memory. We found the next picture of what appears to be a young man stealing a BMX bike out of a truck. Can you tell us who this is, and where this picture came from?

Hey! Where's that guy going with my bike!!!!!

Eric -That shot is of me at my old house in San Diego. looks like a clip from a TV interview I did with Scot Breithaupt for the NBL World Cup race at Irvine, Ca in 1987. I was actually putting my bike in my truck and making it look like I was heading off to the track. Funny thing was, in that interview, we actually shot it "after" the World Cup. So they had me talking about the pro cruiser class and how "BIG" it would be to win it. $2,500 for first. Thing was, I had already won it! Somethin' y'all probably didn't know. Kinda like asking my prediction "AFTER" I already won? LOL 

BMX Mania - Still going with the memory thing, here, can you tell us who the young man with the blue uniform and the rather large head was? Can you give us some impressions of him? Why did he look so much larger than those boys behind him? Why did he have such a big lead? What color uniform do you remember him best in?

This kid was so fast, that when he showed up at a national, all the other kids in his class just fought over who got second!

Eric -Why that's Shelby James! His head looks so big cause he's wearing a JT helmet. Those things made anyone's head look big. LOL Even though he stood over six feet tall as a 14 year old, his head was actually quite a small one. Man, that boy dominated! He had more triples in one season than anyone I ever knew of. Let's put it this way, I knew of a kid whose name sounded like Shelby James and in 1988 he rode for a company that sounded like Mongoose. He had a contingency program that paid $200.00 per win. Nothing for second. He rode three classes each day at national weekends. By the end of the year, this 14 year old kid from a state that rhymes with Florida had made over $30,000.00 in contingencies. Now that's what I call dominating folks! I remember Shelby best in Pink and Gray. Man I miss that guy. I loved getting schooled by him on the (basketball) court.

BMX Mania - While we're at it, we thought that a couple of other pictures might be interesting for the uninformed out there in BMX Mania Land to see. Can you explain to us, what a BMXstr is, and what an Usba is? (Usba, appears at the bottom of the picture, but it may be hard to read.)

Eric Rupe, "Factory" all the way down to the license plate!

Eric -That's a picture of my old license plate. It says BMX Star. Heck, that's what I was (at least that's what they told me). LOL Some might even say I still am? Aw shucks, I am what I am. I'll tell you one thing for sure, I AM BLESSED! To be able to do what I love for a living after ALL these years, if that's not being blessed, I don't know what is? (Eric forgot to tell you that Usba, was actually, U.S.B.A., or the United States Bicycle Association, and that he had listed on his license plate holder that he won a national title with "USBA")

BMX Mania - Our last pictorial question of the interview concerns some fashion concepts. Do you regret wearing that rather large puffy barrel shaped white thing on your head? And, did you really get that cut off muscle shirt at Venice Beach?

Can you say "Nineteen Eighties" Style!?

Eric -You know, "Mr. Blackwell", even I look back and wonder who the heck used to dress me? I mean, didn't most of us use to dress a little funny in the 80's? The good thing is, I no longer own ANY of the clothes I had in the 80's! LOL Thankfully I have my kids Rocky, John and Kevin to tell me how to dress and look "COOL". Thanks Guys... I LOVE AND MISS YOU 

BMX Mania - Well, you have certainly been a fun "victim", and if I hadn't had that tape of the NBL Worlds, Way Back In The Day, I wouldn't have had all of that ammunition. And, since I did give you a hard time about things, we'd really like to say that you are one of the truly Nice Guys in BMX, and anyone who doesn't know you, should stop by the Mongoose trailer and get to know you, cause we know it's always a fun experience. 

Eric -I tell you Mr. Mania, being part of the BMX world has been a part of me for so long that, it is me! I truly do love the sport and all the kids that come along with it. All are welcome to stop by the Mongoose pits to say hello, grab a few stickers, shake a few hands and even get some free advice. I look forward to it anytime. 

BMX Mania - We couldn't help but notice that Travis Chipres, your former Mongoose team mate and recent Specialized Team Manager (Pretty successful, TM, we might add!), was hired by Mongoose. Have you and Travis been cooking up any surprises for the boys and girls for next year? Hmmmmmm? 

Eric -Ya know, I could tell you all about our plans for Mongoose and BMX team for next season but, then I'd have to kill ya all! No, really, we have a lot of good things in store for next year and a few more after that but, like all good surprises, you must wait to see. 

BMX Mania - Well, I know that I, as one who has seen you and Chip operate in the past, am looking forward to seeing you get your heads together for the future. It can only be a good result, so keep us posted, OK? 

Eric -Will do. BMX Mania will be the first on my "Leak-List". When it becomes news, you'll have it. 

Eric at the 2000 ABA Gold Cup East, leadin' the A Pro class.

This is how you're most likely to see Big Daddy, out front and leading the pack!

BMX Mania - Eric, thanks for the chat. Congratulations on your NBL A Pro National #1 title, and best of luck for a fifth ABA Vet Pro title.

Eric -Thank you for chatting with me. It's really been my pleasure. I'd like to thank MONGOOSE Bicycles for all the awesome products they make, ATi for the best Grips-Plates-Pads-Bars-n-Stems that anyone makes, Oakley for cool glasses (especially my prescription ones that I've been winning with), Vans for the BEST shoes ever made to race in, Maxxis Tires for making me feel like I'm on rails, Shimano for keeping it all running smooth, Sun/Ringle' for keepin 'em straight & clicking loud, Bell Helmets for giving me courage for my head, Shift for keeping me dressed (thank the Lord for that), FSA for keeping my head...set, Answer for "Forkin" it over, The NBL for doing it right, The ABA for listening to me gripe and caring about it, Sycamore BMX in Simi Valley, Toni & Joan, you guys ROCK, to all my friends, Susie n Larry & Graham Pizzi, Reynolds, MacPeterson, My entire family, My Sons Rocky, John, Kevin for being my motivation and inspiration, and mostly I'd like to THANK and PRAISE my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who has made this all possible for little 'ol me. I'm eternally greatful!  - Eric "Big Daddy" Rupe


Posted, October 15, 2013 for the second time. - JL