Interview - January 10, 2007

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BMX Mania - Yo, Big Daddy! Eric Rupe! Wazzup in your world? We hear that you've just picked up a new sponsor after years of working with the same bike company, Mongoose BMX!

Eric - Yeah, I'm pretty stoked. I tried to get sponsored by GT back in '84, but they weren't interested. I guess my patience paid off, huh? lol

BMX Mania - WHOA! That's quite a change. How many seasons have you ridden for Mongoose?

Big Daddy - All in all it was 18 years that I was sponsored by the Mighty Goose!

BMX Mania - I know this is 'business' for you, but is there a sense of loss in switching from something that you've almost always been involved in to something new?

Eric - I actually felt a real loss when I knew for sure that my days in a Mongoose uniform were numbered. I've been a part of the Mongoose name brand for so long, that it really felt like part of me.

BMX Mania - You're joining a pretty extensive team effort on the behalf of GT, what do you see as the most significant aspect of racing with this stellar group of BMX Stars?

Large Father - Honestly I feel that it'll be a really good mix. Being teammates with Stumpy, Day and Bradford is gonna be good for all of us. I can share with them, my 30 plus years of pro racing wisdom, my tricks to making travel easier and more fun and help them all with life lessons in general. They, in turn, will be the ones that will help me maintain my youth, my boyish enthusiasm and help me try to keep up with the ever increasing skill level in the pro class today.

BMX Mania - We've heard a little rumor about a new rider on the team for 2007, any comment from the Big Daddy?

Swoop - I can't say anything right now, but I'll tell you in a "Day" or so.

BMX Mania - Any diff in the bikes that you'll be riding?

E - The greatest thing for me was that when I jumped on the 2007 GT Ultrabox, it took me about one hour of riding to be TOTALLY comfortable on it and ready to win some races. I'm really happy. Also, it'll be great working with the tech guys at GT, cause I know they are committed to making the best stuff out there which means I'll get to use it. SWEET!!

BMX Mania - Is it true that you will not let anyone else touch your bike, other than yourself? If you do let someone else touch/work on it, who might that be?

Joe Title - It is true. I've always been pretty picky about who gets near my ride with a wrench or tool. Here is the SHORT list of people I'd let touch my bike. Rob (my brother), John Purse, Craig Reynolds and Mike "Ninty" Ninteman. I'm sure most pros are kinda the same when it comes to who they let mess with their bike.

BMX Mania - Let's look back at Mongoose a little bit. What were the beginnings of Mongoose and when did you first become officially involved with them?

Mr. BMX - The company was actually originally called BMX Products. The name of their bike (the only one they made at the time) was called the Mongoose. The first product they actually made was the Moto Mag. I bought my first Mongoose frame in early 1976. They had their first real big legit "Factory Team" in 1977. I was riding for Schwinn then, but I wanted to be a Mongoose rider from the first time I saw their uniforms. I got my first call from them in October of 1981 and I went from SE Racing to Mongoose in November of 1981. I'll never forget when they flew me from Florida (where I was living at the time) to So Cal to sign my contract and get all my new bikes and uniforms. I went to their warehouse and literally took a shopping cart and went up and down the aisles picking out WHATEVER I wanted. It was the coolest feeling in the world. They made nearly every bike part needed to build a complete bike, so I was in HEAVEN!!

BMX Mania - Got any cool Mongoose 'stories' for us from The Beginning?

Mr. Goose Gang - One of my fondest memories of being on the team in the early days was when we did summer tour together. There were five AA pros on the team at the time and no amateurs. We were at an NBL race in KY or TN and all of us were riding really well that day. When all was said and done we all had made the main. Pretty cool. It was real "Team Bonding Experience" for us that day. Don't make me ruin the story by you asking me if any of us actually won that day. lol

BMX Mania - I was fortunate to be able to score a Co Factory ride with Mongoose during the infamous "Goose Gang" late 80's years of you, Travis Chipres, Sam Arrelano, Shelby James and Gary DeBacker and you were always nice to me, making me feel like a real part of the team even tough I did have to sleep on the floor when I got to stay with you guys! Were you just faking friendship or did you really get on with people like me or Jason Chang (Another Goose Co-Factory guy), when you were such a big name in those times of BMX, back when the sport was JAMMIN and you were making all those big bucks from racing?

Eric - I keep it real. If I'm ever nice to you or anyone, it's simply because I'm a nice guy. I don't fake it. Just cause I was a "Super Star" back then and made more money racing BMX than I knew what to do with, didn't mean that I lost the ability to relate to real folk like you and Chang. You guys always made the races fun and I dug watching you SMOKE the guys in your class. Sorry about the floor thing in the hotel room way back then. If I had known it was gonna scar you even all these years later, I'd have let you climb under the covers with Travis or Sam. lol

BMX Mania - What are the differences that you see between the BMX Racing scene of twenty+ years ago and today?

Big Daddy - It amazes me how good all the riders are these days. Also, how bike shop and trophy team uniforms look as good or better than factory team ones do. We have NO IDEA how lucky we all are at how FAST the races are run these days. We used to panic if we ever had a 100-150 moto race back in the day, cause we knew we were gonna be there til 10 or 11 at night. The ladies used to write all the moto sheets by hand. Back then they used rakes to groom the turns NOT BROOMS. Putting your foot down was how you kept from falling. Knobby tires were actually a necessity.

BMX Mania - You've been known to have a pretty good memory, remembering particular moto results from 25 years ago, give us a good Harry Leary (Old Skool legend, famous for his years with Diamondback, "The Leary" jump and being one of the early memorable pro BMXers) story that you can come up with in the next ten seconds.

Grande Papa - It was 1982 and we were at an NBL National in Bakersfield, CA. It was in a AA-Pro moto where we were heading into the last turn. He's in second and I'm in third. I make a move to pass him and pull it off, but I did brush his elbow on the way by and he went down. A few minutes later as I'm sitting at my car WITH MY PARENTS, he comes up to me and gives me a piece of his mind and threatens to kick my ass. I was only 18 and it freaked me out. I was scared of that dude for years after because of that one incident. He's really a great guy with a kind heart... I just didn't find that out until years later. :-)

BMX Mania - Switching "Back To The Future" what do you think of your team mate, - What a great kid! He's got a really good head on his shoulders. He has a good work ethic. He's dedicated and serious. He's got speed and skills to burn. He's gonna be a great pro. He talks in his sleep.

BMX Mania - Now, to switch Back To Ancient History, give us a good "Mad Dog" story. (Mad Dog, being Chris Moeller, legendary pro and founder of S&M Bikes, otherwise known as the "Angry Canine".)

Mr. Memory - He doesn't like being called "Mad Dog", but I do have a good story. We are scheduled to do a Mongoose photo shoot for the mighty BMX Action magazine. It's gonna take place at pretty cool trails spot in the SFV in So Cal. This place is no joke (big & tricky jumps) and it took lots of hours of building and riding to get this place dialed in. As the BMXA van rolls up, some punk kid hops out and grabs his bike. Instead of just riding over to where we are sitting he goes and hits up the biggest section at the place. FIRST TIME THERE, FIRST TRY AND HE NAILS IT PERFECTLY. He then rides up to us and says "Hi, I'm Chris". The guy was as good as I've ever seen.

BMX Mania - If you could pick three other riders to be on your team, and could pick anyone who you know of that's ever raced, who would you pick and why?

Eric On The Spot - Rocky Rupe, cause he's my number one son. John Rupe, cause he's my number two son and Kevin Rupe, cause he's my number three son. That way I'd get to travel and race with my boys and spend all kinds of cool time with them. Otherwise it'd be Craig Reynolds (always a good time). Christophe Leveque (always a good riding lesson). Bubba Harris (almost always finds a way to win)

BMX Mania - How bad did you feel when I beat you in Radio Roulette on the drive from Stockton to L.A. after the Stockton ABA National in 1987?

Mr. I Don't Like To Be Beat - Remember a few questions back when I said that I'm a nice guy and I'm a gracious host to our co-sponsor riders? You don't think you REALLY beat me at that game do you? ;-)

BMX Mania - How impressive do you think it is that you can continue to make a living racing BMX?

Uncle Longevity - I honestly don't ever think about it. I've been out here with something to prove ever since I started racing in 1974. Every time I get on the track I've got something to prove. So far, I'm not impressed one bit. I do however, think I've been truly blessed and thank Jesus every day for my ability and health.

BMX Mania - What's an average day like for Big Daddy?

Big Daddy - Up by 8am & have breakfast. In the gym by 10am. Home to get on line to check email and then have lunch. Over to my trailer & storage unit to clean, organize and work on bikes. Back home to make team travel arrangements, check more email and get ready for the track. I actually hit the track Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday nights. After the track I have dinner either at home or out with my girlfriend Maria and her daughter Frankie. Watch TV or movies and go to bed by 11pm. Now that's just the average day. Of course all days are different, so activities and actions may vary.

BMX Mania - How did you get the nickname Big Daddy? Do you like it?

Mr. I've been an AA Champ in three different sanctions - It was 1988 at Rockford. It was given to me by Dugan Finnel. He was the ABA’s main announcer at the time. I won AA Pro that day and as I was snapping all the AAs out of the gate and down the first straight, I could hear Dugan saying, “Big Daddy coming out on fire”. I remember it like it was yesterday. It really charged me up each time I heard him say it. So much so, that I even went on to win Pro Open that day too. From that day on, I was known as Big Daddy. He later said it was because he knew I had a few kids at home and it just seemed to fit me. It’s always best to have nickname that others have given you, rather than making one up yourself. Lots of guys have tried nicknaming themselves, but it never really has the same flair. Yes, I like having that name.

BMX Mania - What's the 'funnest' thing about BMX to you? -

Eric - Traveling. I just love packing up, driving or flying and going to different cities, states and even countries. I just love it all... though, now that I have a live in girlfriend, it's hard to be gone so much. I miss her every time I leave.

BMX Mania - WAIT! The Name Game just flew thru the room and I swatted it down, here comes......

Gary Ellis - Beards

Rand Stoomfhouser - Ping Pong

BMX Sanctions - Confusing


Kyle Bennett - Style

Las Vegas - Fun

Most Beautiful Woman In The World - My Mom

"Pistol Pete" Loncarevich - Cheater

Rental Cars - Rockford

Barry McManus - Manual

gOrk - BMX

Shelby James - Hoops

Travis Chipres - Heart

Sam Arrelano - Sell out

Gary DeBacker - Wacky

Fav Music - Ottmar Liebert

Fav Place To Eat While On The Road - Applebees

Favorite Team Mate - Reynolds

Matt Pohlkamp - Model

Warwick Stevenson - Strong

BMX Mania Pro Training Camp - Lessons

Favorite Brother - Rob

Christophe Leveque - Finesse

TV Show You'd Watch If You Had Some Free Time - CSI & The Office and I do make time for them.

Movie You'd Be Most Likely To Watch - Anything with Jim Carey

Your Favorite BMX Racing Web Site Run By An Old Geezer BMXer - BMX Mania ALL THE WAY!!!!

Vet Pro/Elite Masters - Second Career

BMX Mania - What has been your favorite moment in BMX so far ?

RUPE - I'd have to say it was winning the A-Pro title at the 2000 NBL Grands. Everyone was saying I was TOO OLD to beat those kids! The pro section was NOT easy but I handled it for the semi and the main. I won the main AND the title and my son Rocky was there to see it AND film it.

BMX Mania - What track have you won the most races on?

Eric - No question it would have to be my favorite track of all time... ROCKFORD!

BMX Mania - What do you think about the new Masters Class at the UCI worlds this year?

RUPE - I think it's GREAT. It's about time they give the Vet Pros validation and recognition. I plan to be earning the rainbow stripes come late July.

BMX Mania - If you had the choice to pick the team to represent the USA at the Olympics in 2008 who would it be?

RUPE - If I had to pick the team right now, it'd be Stumpy, Day and Bubba. They are the best and fastest guys the US has right now.

BMX Mania - Thrill Us With Some Thank You's

Mr. Thank You - A big thank you shout out goes to my Mom & Dad, my three great sons Rocky, John & Kevin, Girl Friend Maria, Travis/Mongoose, Bruce/ATi, Sarah/Pacific, Ray/Fly, Brooke/Champion Nutrition, Rob Rupe/Brother, Blick/Oakley and the thousands of others that have helped make my career possible. God Bless You All. I love you.

Thanks for the interview, and thanks for the memories and your dedication to BMX, may the future be bright for you.