Dave Voelker, BMX road warrior
Last weekend, veteran freestyle BMX rider and former X Games BMX Park rider Dave Voelker reached out to friends via Facebook, in regards to his position as a BMX stunt show owner and rider.
"I'm reaching out to try to keep my dream alive. I have my dream quarterpipe trailer, box jump and P.A., but I don't know how to sell it. I don't want to work a normal job when I have dedicated my life to making people smile and I still enjoy doing it. Making money to survive is all I need, so if somebody wants to have some fun in life lets get this going," said Voelker, 46, from his home in Lakeside, Calif.
Voelker arrived on the BMX scene in the mid '80s. Emerging from Santee, Calif. with sponsorships from the GT/Dyno camp, Voelker's riding was and continues to be a phenomenal brand of, how else to say it, but 120% on everything in his path. Voelker went higher, clicked further and saw lines that no other rider recognized. Voelker was moved to full factory status by Dyno in 1987, but remained an amateur, racking up vert wins in the American Freestyle Association Masters series and enjoying a wealth of coverage in the BMX media.
As the late '80s gave way to street riding, Voelker's riding and ability to adapt to all terrains transcended into street riding, and he picked up one of his first pro class wins at the very first 2-hip Meet The Street contest. His wallrides were close to 6-feet higher than any other riders on that day, and he was bringing new innovative tricks to the table, such as the tailwhip nosepick (which remains a staple to this day.)
Voelker rode the street riding wagon into the early '90s, and was the only rider to remain with the GT/Dyno team through the leaner years of the sport. He continued doing extensive summer tours with the brand through the '90s, and eventually went on to earn a fifth place and a fourth place in the X Games in 1998 and 1999.
Condensing everything that Voelker did for BMX riding into several paragraphs is of course an injustice, but there is one thing about Voelker (aside from his riding) that is hugely noteworthy: he never stopped putting everything he had into BMX. While other pros from the '80s eventually dropped the bike and pursued careers outside of BMX, Voelker remained on the scene, going three feet higher than everyone else around him.
And now, at age 46, he continues to push himself. But the BMX industry isn't always a nice place to the aging rider. Voelker receives little to no factory support anymore, and runs his own brand of BMX stunt show, Dave Voelker's BMX Show. He has appeared in shows at Universal Studios, toured the world to share his riding, and is now seeking help in spreading the word about his own brand of shows.
Friends of Voelker offered business advice in reply to Dave's pleas, but it brings up an interesting situation. In a sport/lifestyle aimed at youth and promoted using younger riders, where does that leave the older rider, one that contributed wholeheartedly to the progression of the sport and has maintained a modest living off of life on the road?
In Voelker's case, we can only hope that he can continue to book demos.