Brandon Dosch: The Definition of Pro
Following Daniel Dhers and his pro approach to the BMX contest realm last week, we present Detroit-area ripper Brandon Dosch. 21-year-old Brandon won the year-end 2010 Dew Cup in BMX Dirt, and more recently, won the 2011 BMX Games in Australia. Sponsored by Metal Mulisha, Redline Bicycles, Albe's, Arma Energy Snacks, Nike 6.0 and Alienation Components, Brandon is coming into his own as one of the top competitors in BMX park and dirt, and he's only getting started on his path to contest domination. But he wasn't cherry picked from the local skatepark and thrown into the pro spotlight. Instead, Brandon raced (for a long time), and when he tired of that, he made the jump into park and dirt, working really hard on his own to reach the pro level.
In the grand scheme, Brandon is part of the younger generation of BMX pro that saw what he wanted and worked his way towards that goal, without the push of sponsors or a supportive amateur series. And because of that internal drive, he's taken the short route from unknown newcomer to respectable pro. Recently, while Brandon was on the road and headed to Woodward, he spoke with us about the workings of a BMX pro and the route he took to get there. Here's Brandon.
ESPN.com: When did you first consider yourself a pro in BMX?
Dosch: I think the first time I realized it was when I got signed up for the Dew Tour, and I was riding with all of the really good guys, the guys I've looked up to forever. It was a good feeling.
Where was that?
It was the Cleveland stop in 2007.
Did anyone push you to ride pro or was that your own decision?
It was more so a general push. I had a lot of help from my family, and Mark Flippowicz at Albe's.
What do you think defines a pro in BMX?
BMX is initially what you make it. I would say that if you're getting a lot of coverage in magazines, and you're producing a lot of Web videos, and your name's getting out there, and you're doing contests and getting sponsors, I think that's when you could consider yourself a professional. And when it's your "job" as well.
As a sponsored pro, what are your average duties?
I ride a lot to produce for my sponsors. I travel a bunch. My criteria is more about how I perform in contests. I really push myself in the competitive field, and I ride as much as I can. I've got the normal things in life to take care of, like paying bills and all that fun stuff. But I'd like to say that I get to live the life. I ride a bike and get to have fun.
Do you think there's a difference between a "street" pro, someone like Nigel Sylvester, and a "contest" pro?
Not really. The skill level is the same I'd say. It's just being produced in a different way. With street riders and videos, it's being produced in more of an artistic way, if you will. I don't think there's much difference between the riders that base their riding off of the media and those that base it off of contests though. I'm friends with Nigel Sylvester, and I've chilled with him. He's a solid dude. And I wouldn't say there's too much of a difference between us wanting to ride bikes.
Why do you think you prefer contests?
I came from a competitive background. I raced BMX for about eight solid years before I got into freestyle, and that set the pace there. I wanted to compete when I saw it on TV. I thought it was an amazing thing.
What level did you make it to as a racer?
I made it to the expert classes. I was a pretty decent racer. I got second nationally when I was 16. I just kind of got over it and wanted to ride how I wanted to ride.
Who do you think is the model pro in BMX?
A good model is Jamie Bestwick. I think Jamie did it right. He's been in BMX forever, and he's always ridden his bike. He's a really good person too. You can learn a lot from him, and he's just a rad dude.
Do you think companies need to take a more active role in "turning" people pro?
Companies kinda do have their way with doing that. I found out for myself though, using a more general push, you can take yourself there if you try hard enough.
What would you tell someone that wants to go the pro route in BMX?
Sit back and enjoy the ride. If you wanna do it, go for it. Have fun and respect all the other riders, and you'll be involved in the family of BMX.
What's been the highlight of your pro career so far?
Being awarded the Dew Cup in 2010 was my most proud moment on a bike.
What's in store for your pro career in 2011?
I'm actually driving on the highway right now to move in with Anthony Napolitan, right outside of Woodward. I plan on being there till Dew Tour, and making my mark again this year. I just want to stay on the consistent route, enjoy it and have fun.
THE PRO QUESTION ON ESPN BMX