Chad Degroot Explained

Chad Degroot, a mustache and a pickle.

Sometimes, I really suck. Most of the time actually. Like yesterday, when I finally managed to catch Chad Degroot on the phone for a 15-minute interview. We had been trying to catch up for a little over a week, but Chad's a busy guy so it was kinda rough. Then I finally get Chad on the phone, record an awesome, candid interview with him, and realize that the recorder's batteries were dead. I hated having to tell Chad, but luckily, he's a good sport and agreed to do a re-interview an hour or so later. But I still feel bad about it. Really bad. Chad Degroot originally hails from Green Bay, Wisconsin, though he now calls the Orlando, Florida area home. Throughout the early and mid '90s, and into the current year, Chad delivered some of the most demandingly innovative flatland riding the world has yet seen. Not only that, Chad (along with an oddball cast of friends such as Dave Freimuth and Chris Rye) went on to produce some of the most cutting-edge BMX videos to date in the form of the Baco Series. Any trick, technique, riding style or trend has more than likely been done already in the Baco video series. They even did an x-rated Jackass style video magazine before all that Jackass stuff was ever around. But Chad's influence doesn't end there. He owns and operates Mesh Skatepark, team manages the UGP team and brand, judges contests all over the place and still finds time to progress his riding in between the demands of his various pursuits and family life. It also doesn't hurt that Chad doesn't seem to take BMX too seriously. In fact, that's one of the traits that makes his riding so endearing. He can do it all, and do it good, but he's never seemed to place too much importance on that fact. Chad recently launched his own Web site dubbed DecoBMX, and I figured it would be a good time to catch up with him. So here's the second version, recorded successfully for your reading enjoyment. Sorry again Chad. You wanna tell me about your life again?
Of course I do. Where do you want me to start? I think you mentioned something about your knee.
Yeah, I think you asked what was going on with me and what I've been up to. I cracked my knee a few months back. It wasn't a horrible crack; it was actually north to south, so I could still walk. If it's horizontal, that's when it starts splitting apart. With most of my injuries, I've had real good luck if that's such a thing. It did stress me out and freak me out having knee injuries, cause I've known way too many people with blown out knees. But it brought everything to a halt. With my kid, who's a little over a year, carrying him with a limp was hard. Actually, in four months, I still haven't kneeled down on my knee. I'm still kinda careful with it, and I'm pretty hesitant riding with it. I've been pretty lucky, just tuck and roll style. I think that changed a lot of stuff. Having an injury like that, coming back and gaining my confidence back and building up my strength. It's crazy, but I think I'm kinda lucky. I'd rather have a cracked knee cap than a blown out knee any day. It's scary.

Nosepick on some industrial decay.

Especially when you're 35.
There's a skatepark that's downtown, and it's a pay park. It's run by a company, not the city, and it's real big. 12-foot high walls and a pool. For some miscommunicated reason, bikes got banned from there. I was there for the opening, did demos there and then one day, they just decide they're not having bikes in there anymore. So I looked into it with the city, and in one day, I got a hold of the city people and the parks and recreation, and I got bikes back in, which is funny in a sense since I have my own skatepark. But I can't ride there all the time, and the cement one is amazing. The second time back in there, that's when I did my knee. And I realized that when you fall from 10-feet with your knee on cement, cement doesn't give a s--t about you. So now riding cement is kinda weird, but there's another park to ride. Do you wanna tell me about Versa again as well?
The Versa thing is kind of a sore subject. The way it started was with good intentions, but the owner, who's got a race background, well, I thought he was good but he was bad. That's all it comes down to. He definitely uses people and doesn't do anything. He had an amazing thing in his hands, and he didn't take advantage of it. He also screwed most of the people on the team in one way or another. I've been with some sponsors that have done that in the past, and I didn't feel it at the time, but then it just hit really hard. Just like those old sponsors. Kinda bummed on that whole situation, but it's all gonna come around and get him someday. That's really it. I like the guys that are on the team. I know they all know the dude's shady, but I don't know if they know the magnitude of it. I don't know if the guys are even on the team anymore though. Bad news, bad news. Can you tell me about the new Web site venture again too?
My whole Web site started just cause I do a bunch of Web updates with UGP, and I started understanding what it is and how it works. It gets a little addictive, like Facebook and Twitter. I think there's no harm done with it. Everyone's on the Internet all the time, and it's pure entertainment. But I was so limited with updating UGP, and I almost have to put a PG-13 rating on it, cause you don't know who's gonna look at it or not. There was a comment Dan Sieg made in a news update for UGP, and it was cutting on the Mormons. It said "The crazy Mormons," I think. And some guy from Utah completely freaked out, so my boss at UGP told us we had to change it. It wasn't bagging on them, it just called them "Crazy," which they are, so whatever. My site, I wanted to put what I want on there. If I want boobs on there, they go. If I wanna talk about or post anything, I can. I have free reign; it's a release in a sense. And by doing so, it just makes me laugh. The other day, I blew snot out my nose and I was crying because something I was posting was so funny. That's really it. I wanna post some older videos and have an outlet that I can do what I want with.

Hip cancan in the Northwest.

Is James Covington really a virgin?
He really, really is a virgin. And he's not afraid to tell anyone. I know he's had some girls hunt him down, and I guess they think he's some kind of prize. I mentioned that he was a virgin on my Web site in the hope that he would get something going, but I don't know what he's doing. I think he's afraid that the first girl he's with, he'll probably marry. Like Cameron from Ferris Bueller.
Exactly. He's so afraid that he's just gonna fall in love and just become mesmerized by the experience. I don't know if James has seen that post yet though. He is pretty open-minded though. He's down with the cause. He had his sights on two girls. Really liked them both, but one decided to bang a lot of the trails dudes. And the other lives in NY now. So that one is pretty tough.

This one lady was smoking a cigarette with an infant in her arms walking into the shop with no shoes, cheetah skin seat covers in her car, and she fell asleep standing up.

--Chad Degroot


Can you tell me what you do with UGP again now?
On my business card, it says "Team Manager." But in a sense, there's probably an infinite number of duties, from Web posts each day to making sure the team is happy. Stocking shelves, picking up containers, unloading, shipping/packing, calling shops, sending out stickers and promo packages for contests. It's almost like my phone never turns off, and if there's something having to do with UGP, I gotta answer it and take care of it. Even in the office, tracking spending, giving feedback on the products, doing photography, filling in the blanks and learning everything in between as well. S--t's real good, real busy. Do you still ride flatland as much as you used to?
I do ride but I tend to ride way more when I know I have a demo to do. I miss routine riding a little bit more, but I have this spot by my house, and when I go there, it's so relaxing. I can go a couple of weeks without riding, which has happened, but I'm almost cool with it, cause when I do ride, it still feels good. I'm still learning new stuff, I've got some harder stuff that I can pull; it's one of those things where I actually enjoy watching older videos now. I forget certain tricks and I love to redo them. It's crazy, I've been riding so long and I've done so much that I forget about tricks. James the virgin tells me all the time about tricks he's seen me do in old VHS video tapes. But I'm still going. On my 35th birthday, I made sure to go riding and pulled a whole bunch of stuff I didn't think I could do. Okay, tell me about breeding and we'll wrap it up.
I've got a little boy named Cooper right now. He's almost 19 months old. And we've got a bun in the oven. My wife just keeps getting pregnant, but we're happy. We've got a girl coming and I think that rounds everything off. I know it's going to get crazy real soon. She's due in two months, and I've got a huge road trip in a month, and then that's it. I don't want to miss my kid being born. That would be pretty s----y.

Curved wall ride. Wait a sec. That's a water bottle in Chad's mouth. Umm, yeah.

And lastly, can you tell me about Mesh Skatepark?
It's basically two skateparks that combined, my old skatepark called Mission and my partners, who had park six miles away called Metro. For the argument of namesake, we just meshed together and came into one. I had my park for four years and now we've had this one for over four and a half years. It's pretty crazy. We moved across the street. I didn't think nine years would pass this quick. I had no idea that building a little ramp would turn into this. But yeah, I own a skatepark, and it is never a dull moment. With kids stealing golf carts, stealing bikes, drinking, havng sex in the bathrooms, getting hurt, pissing on everything, and doing what kids do. It never is slow on the mind. You have to be on your toes and do a lot of talking. We just sit back and talk to some of the wildest people everyday. Most are completely nuts. We want to start filming a reality show. It is crazier than most of the shows on TV. So nuts. There are a group of kids who wear cowboy boots to ride so they don't slip a pedal. One guy started a team and has everyone on it. He doesn't sell anything or really promote anything. There were a group of kids who would show up with no shoes and run around with sticks all day. And to top it off, the parents are amazing. This one lady was smoking a cigarette with an infant in her arms walking into the shop with no shoes, cheetah skin seat covers in her car, and she fell asleep standing up. True story. Welcome to Florida. Wanna say thanks to anyone?
Thanks to UGP, Profile, Piranha water,the best water on earth, go211.com and DECOBMX.com. Also thank to everyone who has supported Mesh Skatepark and Baco Jams. That's what's up.

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