Freestyle Now squad member Jason Parker recently fulfilled one of his long dreams and headed over to America to attend the York Jam in Pennsylvania in America. Jason has been an important member to Freestyle Now since he was enlisted on the squad in 1999 with performing bmx stunt shows around the nation and being heavily involved in the production of Behind the Bars with Shaun Jarvis. Jason sent through some good words about his trip and a few snaps so read on
“Well I guess ever since I started riding freestyle BMX way back in 1995, I came across a video called “Wheelies” That video had, and still has some of the best flatland riding caught on film. Ever since seeing that video, I have wanted to go to York Pennsylvania to ride at the annual event called ‘York Jam’.Earlier this year, while I was on Facebook, I saw an advertisement for the “25th anniversary of York Jam”. I decided just by seeing that ad, that if I was rostered off work, I was going! It was that easy. I looked up my roster and checked that I could go! All that was stopping it, was a decision of “was it worth it”? That was easy to decide. I had always dreamt of going to meet the best riders from the world, the riders who made flatland what it is now! So I said this is it, the Jam has rolled for 25 years, if I miss this one they may not have another! It was the easiest decision I have ever made. So next I was booking the flights and accommodation, car hire etc. Then I thought I would see if anyone wanted to come along. I ended up getting my friend Simon to join, he was stoked!
Simon and I had started riding together back in 1995. He knew the video and the people we were heading to go and hang out with. It was game on! We were booked and ready to go, next I received the worst news from Simon, “man I have broken my leg and torn an ACL and Ligament too”. Oh no way, I was like “so I guess you can’t go”? Simon was like “hell no, I’m going”! So despite the major setback Simon pushed through the pain barrier and discomfort and made it along for the ride.
Holiday snaps surrounding the epic bike bag pack up – clockwise from top – That’s LA in the background, The girls from York Jam, The 25th York Jam crew, Looking mean on the Harley Davidson factory tour, New York New York, The yellow Stang, Chillin at the York Jam, Riding at Santa Monica. Photos by Simon Johnston
We left Perth flying via Sydney and then flew onto Los Angeles. We saw Santa Monica Beach, Hollywood, and Huntington Beach. As fate would have it, when we left Huntington Beach Simon noticed a rider in the car park. I was like “No way! That looks like Gabe Weed”! We decided to go see who it was, Yep it sure was Gabe Weed, he was just about to have a ride. We had a yarn and rode some flatland for a bit. Simon and I could not believe it, what is the chance of meeting one of the best flatland riders like that. We then drove down to Las Vegas in a Ford Mustang. That is a must if you are ever going to go see Las Vegas, Simon drove most of the way. We went to Hoover dam then arrived at Los Vegas. After we were in Vegas for a few days we headed to the East coast landing at JFK airport, New York. We had made it to the big apple AKA New York. We did the tourist thing and saw Brooklyn Bridge, Empire state building, and the Statue of Liberty. We also ate the best Pizza ever! NY is not my scene that’s for sure but the Pizza is so good. We got out of NY and headed to the place we had been waiting to ride since we started riding. The drive was awesome, we saw so much. Once we made it to York we got on the “Buffalo wings” and did a wall mart visit. Simon was loving it! He wanted to get a bike and ride at the jam.
So Friday 11th Sep 2015 the Pre jam day arrived. We headed out to find the spots that were on the advertisement. No one was there yet. We decided to do a Harley Davidson tour while we waited for the jam to start. The place is heaps cool. Interesting fact that Australia is the second biggest purchasers of Harley Davidson other than the US. So about 3.00pm I get a message from Brett Downs on Facebook, Saying “Let me know when you want to go ride”! So I replied “I’m at the Hidden Spot now”! So I was doing a manual and a car pulled up. It was Brett he was like” You want to come ride, with Kevin and me at the Pit”? I was like “Yeah that would be sweet”. So Simon and I followed Brett and we meet up with Chad, Ivan, Terry and Kevin. It was so cool to see Mr Jones ride in person. He cranked up a heap of speed put one foot over the bars and did the longest no handed nose wheelie I had ever seen! EPIC was about as good a word I can think of to describe it. The man is KING! I could not believe how lucky we were, to be able to hang out with these guys. The typical BMX crew, who I had never meet before, but felt like I had known them all of my life! So after hanging with the crew, we headed back to the Hidden spot and started to meet some of the people who also made the long journey to York P.A. Riders from all over the US and Canada had made the effort to be at the 25 year jam. It was so cool to be apart off. We rode until about 8.00pm then headed out with everyone!
Clockwise from top left – Jason at Santa Monica Beach hitting up a decade – Meeting on Gabe Weed at Huntington Beach – Hanging out at the York jam undercover due to the rain with James McGraw – Meeting legendary flatland rider Kevin Jones
The day had come and after 3 months with no rain in York, the only thing that could ruin travelling over 18000 Km’s was RAIN! Yep it sure did “It pissed down all day”! But in typical flatland style we had plan B. Lucky the locals knew of the best spot in York for this 25 year jam to push on. We had a whole multilevel car park all to ourselves. Well unless the local authorities were to show up! Everyone headed, to go ride in the car park out of the rain, It was awesome I think at least 150 riders made it for this year’s jam. Also we had six girls show up to throw down some flat action, they were all awesome!! The rest were “two tired”. No that was just a real bad joke! Mark Eaton was cranking tunes all day it was like being in the video “Wheelies” but it was real life. LOL some awesome riding was done and heaps of tricks were pulled. After a full day of flatland, we headed out yet again. We made heaps of new riding friends for life. After a huge night with Lincoln and Matt, everybody reunited and jammed again at the George st spot on Sunday. It was awesome getting to meet hero’s you never think you will ever get to meet in your entire life. So many good riders and the scene was like when I saw “Wheelies”. Thanks to Diggs and everyone who organized York jam. Simon and I left the next day we had 28 hrs of flights and 2 days of travel ahead of us. And then straight back to work for me.
For anyone who has a wish to or thought of an event that you have always wanted to attend, just go for it and make it happen, you will be so happy you made the effort.
As the saying goes Freestyle Now…….. Before it’s too late. Ride on!”