Two years ago, clips via YouTube and Vimeo began to surface of a BMX rider from Bristol, Conn., who was pushing the limits of what was possible in the building block of BMX riding: the bunnyhop. His name was Stevie Churchill and he was 16 years old.
His skills on a BMX bike, learned at the skate plaza near his home, were on par with some of the biggest names in street riding. But at the time, he had only left his home state once to go to a skatepark in New Hampshire.
Slowly, more video began to surface of Churchill's riding. And this is where it gets interesting. Churchill started to take his flat-ground bunnyhop skills (which included the ability to 540 hop, 720 hop, barspin hop in both directions, tailwhip hop in both directions, 360 tailwhip and truckdriver) to huge stair sets. Instead of firing out a tailwhip bunnyhop into a mellow bank at the local skatepark in Bristol, Churchill started casually dropping his tricks down stair sets that passed the 10-stair mark.
Because of the massive amount of time spent at his local park, Churchill's riding was developing an unheard of consistency, considering the difficulty of some of his street lines. In a 2010 interview on BMX Union, Churchill, then a virtual unknown, could not explain how or why he was becoming such a consistent rider. "I don't know why I land tricks in one or two goes. I ride every day, so maybe that helps me get things quicker."
In July 2010, Churchill teamed up with friend and filming buddy Jeff Dupaul to film an exclusive edit for BMX site Defgrip. Filmed in three days, the video showcased Churchill's technical prowess and deep bag of flatground tricks, along with some of his first 540 and 720 gaps on street. The ender, or enders, etched Churchill's name into the unwritten BMX record books. First, he 360'd down a set of 15 stairs on a college campus. He then circled around, marched back up and 360 barspun the same set of stairs on the first try.
"Lil Stevie is a kid I saw grow up before my very eyes. I blinked and he became one of the best riders I have ever seen," Dupaul said in the video's explanation. Everyone that watched the video agreed.
Soon after, Churchill was added to the Volume Bikes team, followed by Demolition Parts and Dan's Comp. He started traveling. He earned a pro model frame from Volume Bikes dubbed the Mystery Machine. A YouTube channel devoted to Churchill and run by a fan of his riding appeared. And he continued progressing.
Now, the BMX world drops what it's doing and pays attention whenever new Churchill footage, including the video at the top of this article, surfaces. Filmed and edited by Stew Johnson, the video is recent footage of Churchill filmed for an upcoming video from BMX mail-order Dan's Comp. Churchill, now a member of the Dan's Comp pro team, has been filming web edits in preparation for the final video, which Dan's Comp has graciously allowed us to feature here.
This year, Churchill is invited to ride BMX Street against the likes of Garrett Reynolds, Ty Morrow and Dakota Roche at X Games Los Angeles. With a deep bag of tricks that includes technical precision and the ability to fire out big moves, Churchill could very well find himself on or atop the BMX Street podium later this month.