Transmoto’s weekly web-exclusive column, the FMX Insider, penned by Ben Heidrich.
Photos Courtsey of Zero G Photgraphy & Matt Collins
Over the past year during my travels to the USA, I’ve been fortunate enough to meet some pretty amazing people. Temecula, California, has been a hot spot for freestyle motocross for years and is home to many big name riders such as Brian Deegan, Nate Adams, Ronnie Faisst and Jimmy Fitzpatrick. While I was in Temecula recently, I met and had the chance to hang out with a rider named Scotty Stephens, who grew up around the Californian FMX scene. Scotty’s a super nice dude who rips on a dirt bike and rides with the Metal Mulisha crew. I hit him up for a few stories about growing up in Temecula.
Ben: What got you stoked on FMX in the beginning and how long have you been riding for?
Scotty: My Dad took me to a Vans Triple Crown events back when I was a young lad and I’ve been hooked on it ever since. I have been riding dirt bikes since I was 12 – best damn addiction on the planet.
What was it like growing up and riding in the Californian FMX scene?
Growing up in southern California, the scene was definitely wild. Back in the day, it was more about how hard you could party, how much trim you could pull and still make it to show and pull it off. We grew up in the era of Deegan and the Mulisha boys really f#@king shit up and being hardcore. Not that it’s not hardcore now, but these days the riding level and professionalism is set at a completely different level. Nowadays, riders have to please their big sponsors and put good results in at huge events and also have their heads in the game or bad things could happen.
Temecula is home to many iconic FMX riders. Who did you grow up riding with?
I grew up about 30 minutes from Temecula, riding in the hills of Beaumont every weekend with Billy Walls and my good buddy Garret Ellis, who unfortunately passed away from cancer a while back. His Dad would drag a ramp out to the hills for us every weekend, and on Saturday and Sunday, we would ride all day. That’s where I first met Jeremy Lusk (RIP) and Grant Teel. We all learnt our first grab tricks out there and I kept riding with those guys, and they introduced me to Jimmy Fitzpatrick. From that point on, there was never a bad day. Fitz was a wild dude back then; not that he isn’t now, but definitely a different level back then (laughs).
Tell me a bit about your riding history. Have you entered many competitions over the years?
I was a late bloomer with riding, and it took me years to bug my parents to get me a bike. When they finally did, I never looked back. I did a couple of years of racing but we couldn’t afford it so I just basically hit the hills everyday and built jumps with Garret. We used to rip around the local golf course after school but we would piss of the golfers, so after almost getting our bikes impounded, we quit that (laughs). Oh, good times. I have done a few contests here and there, but I mostly just stuck to the demo scene. Looking back now, I wish I had committed to some more contests for sure.
Do you ride full-time? I see that you smash out plenty of FMX demos!
Yeah, I ride demos pretty much all throughout the year so I stay pretty busy. The Fitz Army Metal Mulisha demos are picking up more and more. 2016 should be a busy one for sure. I still do some sales and marketing off the bike to help out the pockets as well.
What is your favourite FMX trick and why?
As of right now, my favourite trick would have to be Jackson Strong’s Frontflips! The dude is mad! Backflips are one thing but to commit to a 75ft Frontflip is different level shit! PROPS!
Have you had the chance to play around with backflips?
Did Jacko tell you to ask me this (laughs)? Yeah, I did a good amount of Flips back in my day. Just as I was getting them dialled I broke my femur and was out for a year or more. First surgery, the dumbass doctor put too small a metal rod in my leg, so I had to get it re-done and then let it heal properly. Since then, I’ve had a couple more attempts but they have not gone as planned. I am actually ready to nut up again and get them dialled in. Without Flips, people don’t really take you too seriously, I feel.
What do you think the west coast FMX scene needs more of?
As of right now, I think the west coast scene needs more riders that train like you Aussies and the European boys. Seems people out here have been getting lazy to catch up in the lifestyle (me, for one) and not train properly as we should. It’s definitely getting better with guys like Fitz opening his foam pit up to let people step their game up, though.
What’s your favourite moto movie?
Favourite movie, hands down, is Fresno Smooth. If you haven’t watched it, I recommend you Google it right now. It was made back in the mid ’90s when it really was all about partying. Seth Enslow was the main character and had some great one-liners (laughs).
Have you got any gnarly riding/party stories to share?
I’ve got a few, for sure, though most I can’t remember. Barn Mayhem at Fitzland always gets wild. From fights to friendly boxing matches to spray paint wars (human bodies and dirt bikes) to drunk women taking their clothes off, there’s never a dull moment. We all usually rally up there, and after the first ten beers, things start to roll down hill. Jacko knows how it happens. We had a solid night of ruckusing during his last run to the States. I think I was hungover for like three days.
Who do you look up to in FMX?
Growing up, I always looked up to Deegan. I loved the hardcore attitude he had. I was a young punk with the same mentality. I still do look up to him because he now has turned it around and is a very successful business man. These days, I dig Jacko and Tom Pages because they are taking the sport to a whole different level – bringing that BMX kind of style to moto is gnarly.
What sort of music gets you pumped on riding?
I honestly listen to anything from hardcore death metal and old school punk to gangster rap. Just depends on the riding. If I’m hitting the hills I like some rap, but mostly banging some hardcore stuff to get the blood flowing properly.
What’s riding about for you? What do you get out of it?
For me, riding is all about having a great time with my buddies and just making myself break certain mental barriers that the average joe wouldn’t know anything about. I have met my best pals from all over the world because of a dirt bike. Would not change it for anything.
What are your riding plans for next year?
In 2016, I plan on stepping my game up, that’s for sure! For the last few years I have been messing around and not really doing what I need to. I got some things out of my life which needed to go so I am feeling more motivated than ever. I plan on keeping the demo thing going, but I would like to get into X Games for Speed & Style or Best Whip. I need to start practicing because the level of talent is high.
Anything else you wanna add, man?
I just want to say thank you to all my sponsors that have my back – Metal Mulisha, Fitz Army, Langston Racing, SKVI, Mb1Motorsports, Dunlop Tyres, Smithline Industries, Uni Filter, CTi by Ossur, SCS Unlimited, Strikt Gear, Grip Clean, Seek Conquer Destroy and Cathedral Paint. I also just want to say that I’m not done, because the fire is burning hard under me and I am so excited to see what there is to come. And of course, big thanks to you, Benny, for the rad interview and also a big thanks to Jacko for being the badass friend that you are. Cheers boys – have a few for me!
ONE RESPONSE TO “TRANSMOTO INTERVIEW WITH SCOTTY STEPHENS”
- Did some online shopping at metalmulisha.com and ran across the article on scottie stephens. I've known the kid for prob 14 years on and off. He has been in the fmx industry over 15 years and is just all in all good dude. Wish him the best and glad to see he is still around after all this time. Stay rippin scottie -j