Jeremiah Smith -- Pro BMX rider, bowler
X Games BMX Park and Street competitor Jeremiah Smith has two X Games medals, and is slated to ride in both Park and Street at X Games Los Angeles next month. He also works in a bowling alley so that he can bowl for free. While it may seem odd to learn that a pro with a signature frame from Failure and the skills to attack street courses across the world has a part-time job, it makes perfect sense for Jeremiah, who bowls, on the average, 210 per game. Just after returning from his second trip to China for X Games Asia, we caught up with Jeremiah to run through life at Woodward, bike setups and his search for Roy Munson-esque bowling scores.
ESPN.com: You won the silver medal at X Games Asia a few weeks ago. How was our overall experience in China?
Smith: My overall experience was awesome. I think the black market was one of the best parts of the trip. I also like holding onto the motor scooter while going down the road and waiting for them to turn around and see the expression on their face.
People commonly mistake you as Shaun White and you have some pretty funny stories about it. Does that ever get annoying?
It doesn't annoy me at all. I think it's really funny and it shows how star-struck people can be. I've met Shaun a few times and he is a nice guy. There was this one time right before my run in prelims at X Games. I had to go to the bathroom, so I stopped riding. While I was heading to the bathroom I kept hearing someone yelling, "Shaun, Shaun, Shaun" so I finally turned around and it was a woman that worked for a newspaper wanting to do an interview. She asked me if I had time to do one and I told her, "Not really, I'm kind of busy I have to go to the restroom, then I have prelims." I kept walking to the restroom and when I got out, she was waiting for me and kept asking if I had time and I told her "No, now I have to ride in prelims, sorry maybe later." Then she gave me one of her cards and I went back to riding.
Most people don't know that you recently picked up a part-time job working at a bowling alley. Would you mind explaining to us why?
Yeah, I got a part-time job at a bowling alley about two months ago. I was going there everyday and spending like $70 a week. One day, I was bowling and they came up to me and asked if I wanted a job and I told them, "Not really. I travel a lot." But then the manager said I would get to bowl for free, and I asked "Where do I sign up?" I have been working there for two months and have only worked a total of three weeks and won't be home til the end of May. I don't think I will be working there anymore, which kind of sucks because now I have to start paying again.
What got you into bowling and what's your highest game?
Bowling is just really fun and something different, I think that's why I like it so much. My highest game is 279 and my average is 210.
What's it like living by Camp Woodward and getting to ride it whenever you like?
Living by camp is amazing. You have State College, which has amazing street, and then I have camp, which is 30 minutes away. It's like a win-win situation. Getting to ride camp whenever I want is definitely a privilege -- they have the best parks and plazas you can ask for. And during the summer they have swimming, paint ball, go carts, wakeboard, the rope course, a photo/video program and more.
Do you ever ride the Mini Mega ramp at Woodward?
I don't ride the Mini Mega at camp; it's not fun for me. Plus an 18-foot quarter is just too big for me. If I tried to air it, I would end up pulling out too much and landing back on the box landing or hanging out to my death.
Who would you like to see get an invite to X Games street and would you like to see anything change about BMX Street?
If it were up to me, I would invite all the top street riders and the up and coming riders that many people don't know about. It would be a really fun contest and give a chance to some of the street riders that might not get that chance. The only thing I would change about the street contest is how they have a final and a super final, I think there should just be a prelims and a final. Right now, it's way too much riding. It wears us out, and I feel like we don't really perform our best in the super finals.
You were one of the first riders to push pegless street riding by grinding kinked rails, going up rails. Why did you switch back to pegs, do you think you'll ever ride pegless again?
Honestly, I like to switch things up every once and a while, that's why I put pegs on. One of the reasons I took them off was because I started seeing everyone going pegless. Sometimes I take them off and I even put brakes on. I don't think you should just stick to one type of riding or style just because it's what everyone is doing or thinks is cool. BMX is BMX whether it's flatland, trails, park or street. It's all fun and you shouldn't hate on any of it. Plus, if you ride it all, it will make you become a better rider.
Aside from riding contests, what are some of your goals for the rest of this year?
I would like to focus more on riding street, traveling and filming. I'm also trying to film a video part for The Hunt, but at the moment I don't have a filmer, so it's been hard. Hopefully I can find one soon and still have enough time to film a section.