When he was 11, Anthony Murray got his first bike, a Yamaha PW 80, for Christmas. Soon began his love for riding in the hills and jumping that would lead him to become a freestyle motocross rider. Not having the funds it typically takes to go all-out racing, he found himself riding out in the hills adjacent to his hometown of Canyon City, Colo.
Eventually Murray began working on all the tricks and trying to catch up to the skill level of the top guys competing in the FMX contests. He outgrew a small foam pit once it was time to flip a standard 250 two-stroke FMX bike. This meant flipping a bigger bike without the safety net of a foam pit. A luxury most top FMX guys have had.
With a trick list and the flip down Murray was still working a full-time job but knew that to be successful in FMX he needed to head west. He needed to get his name out there and try to line up as many demos as possible. With some help from his former boss and a friend James Carter he was able to do so.
FMX can be a brutal way of life and way to make a living but for most it's the only way to live their lives. On some down time back in December we spoke with Murray about what it was like to pack up and head to California with so much uncertainty.
XGames.com: How did you get into FMX?
Murray: Well, pretty much I never really had money to race, so I grew up riding in the hills, I always loved jumping a lot. It was in 2005 or 2006 when the Dew Tour was in Denver, I went and watched FMX in person for the first time. After that I knew I wanted to do freestyle. So when I got back home I started trying to learn new tricks.
So you like riding in the hills too?
Yeah, I grew up riding in the hills and I think it's my strong suit. Any chance I get to ride in them I do and I'd prefer riding in the hills [compared with] ramps. The hills were all I had to ride growing up and before I even jumped a freestyle ramp I had learned all my tricks on dirt jumps out in the hills.
Once you started riding FMX how long did it take to flip?
Let's see, I started riding freestyle about 14 or 15 years old and it was Nov. 9, 2009, I landed my first flip. I started on a [Kawasaki] KX 85 into a small foam pit. The foam put we had built was only like 20 by 20. I set up a 7-foot mini bike super kicker at 30 feet and was able to flip my 250 into it. Super sketchy though. I only jumped into it four times then went to dirt at 30 feet. After flipping this ramp I went to a full size FMX ramp and pulled it back to 50 feet and went for it. From here on out I just pulled the ramp back little by little until I was flipping 75 feet.
Dang, so once you got to a certain point you had to just go for it without the foam pit?
Yeah, pretty much [laughs].
What shows did you ride this past year?
I rode some shows for Marc Burnett, Kenny Bartram's Steel Rodeo Tour, pretty much any shows that I could get.
When did you decide to move down to Southern California?
Well, I'm going on a little over a year now, I was in Colorado and decided there was no exposure there, the winters are way too cold to ride so I pretty much just had to make the commitment to come out here and try and make it happen. So far it's been good.
What was it like moving down to California not knowing what to expect?
Leaving my hometown was pretty hard for me. I had to leave all the people who care about me the most and the people that I know are always there for me. I do miss all my friends and family a lot and it's hard to leave them when I go and visit. Living out here has been a big change. I only have a few friends and connections out here so I really don't have anyone that I can turn to when I need help.
I know that I need to be in California to be able to pursue my dream so it's totally worth it. You only live once, so I'm gonna live it up while I'm young.
Did you think a year later you'd still be here or did you have enough funds that you knew you would?
Well, when I first moved down here I really didn't know what to expect because I was working a full-time job back home in Colorado and I had money saved up but right before I came out here I got hurt. I hurt my femur jumping into the foam pit trying to learn Cordova flips.
And I had bought a ramp right before I came out plus was supposed to ride a show but couldn't because I was hurt so I pretty much came out here with no money. My old boss, the guy I used to work for, Mike Andreis at Precision Machining said, "Here, here is my credit card, take what you think you need to get down here and get going and make it happen."
I came down here with $1,200 and lived with James Carter who helped me out a bunch with finding shows and getting work. I didn't know what to expect, but I'm thankful things have worked out the way they have.
You have any shows coming up on the horizon?
Right now since it's winter-time things are slowing down a bit but I've been talking to Cycle City Promotions who puts on some Arenacross races to do some FMX shows in February, March. I did my very first ever FMX show with these guys.