Interview by Joe Miller.
Name, age and hometown?
Joel Blatnicky. I live in the thriving metropolis of Joliet, IL.
How long have you been riding?
I got started at the end of 1986, and have been basically riding since then with a few slow years in there. Gotta hate turning 21.
When did you first see flatland, and what/who got you started?
The first time I consciously remember seeing flat was Oct. of 86, when a classmate brought a BMX Action magazine to school. A Schwinn ad with Jason Parkes doing a lawnmower got me hooked.
Brakes or no brakes and why?
No brakes for flat since 2006. Street I went brakeless in 2002. For me, I decided to go brakeless on flat due to the leaf I had turned over in my personal life. A new beginning so to speak. I already knew how to do some tricks, but if I truly was to push myself, both physically and mentally, I needed to do things different. I had to realise new levels of concerntration and thinking about what REALLY was going on with the bike when trying things, kinda like turning hmmm into ha!
Do you attend/compete in Jams or Comps and if so which ones have you enjoyed most, and why?
If my schedule allows me to get away I will try to get to some jams or comps. Both, really. They’re just fun. The STL Jams are good times. I’ve hit two of them and Matt T. and Steve, well those guys are the best! As far as comps go, years ago I had entered a few. By far my favorite though has to be VooDoo 2008. My first comp in 14 years. I don’t really know how, but i pulled in a 3rd place in the beginner class. What a trip. Gave away most all my prizes cuz it was like what the heck? I got my entry fee’s worth. I also recently attended Fight With Flight by Red Bull. Got bumped up to the expert class. That’ s a whole ‘nother story. Hopefully I can get to JoMoPro and the Ohio event. Whatever pops up this summer I will wait and see.
Are you intimidated by “Pro” riders, or do you just jam right along with them?
Pretty much no. I had a few summers to ride with a pro a few years ago and it did nothing but help. For the most part, you can approach a pro with a question and they won’t steer you wrong. no pun intended. Plus, if you watch how they do things you can start to pick up on it and make some things a little easier for yourself.
Do you find it easier to learn established tricks, or do you prefer inventing your own tricks/ switches?
Wow. For me I guess i’m a see it do it kind. But after a while, when you start learning you can think of how to link your moves together in a way you may not have seen before. I just try my best to learn what I can. The only person my progression really should matter anything to is me, and I constantly am beating myself up.
Do you have a crew or do you ride alone?
No real crew per se, however my homie Jeremy’s basement is affectionately known as the Flat Cave. Also, my brother of 20+ years is gonna make efforts to get out more this year. I also have the DoJo again with 7 day a week access free of charge and I will go there solo for sessions whenever the flat cave is not open.
Music is a big thing with most riders, tell me your top five songs/artists at the moment?
I almost don’t want to answer this. Music is a real big part of me. I can’t really say i have a top 5 list, and my taste is eclectic. Currently i ride to
Global Underground, Wu Tang Clan, Ween, Matloc-Rusty Chains-Morty Goldstien,and KISS.
Do you have any interests outside of riding, and what are they?
I like being outside. Golf, frisbee golf, kayaking, fishing, flying two-string stunt kites… sporty shit, i guess.
What is the best piece of advice you can give to someone who wants to start out in flatland?
My advice? RESPECT YOUR ROOTS OR TASTE MY BOOTS. lol. Flat isn’t easy. Have patience. Be ready to try things over and over. And over. The feeling when you pull a new trick can be so addictive, keep at it.
Anyone you’d like to thank?, sponsors, family,friends or mentor?
The laundry list is long. First off I have to thank God for all the blessings and gifts He’s given me.Mom and Dad, they thought this little bike was a fad. 23 years later, sorry. Jim Simpson for bringing the BMXA mag to school that day. Beau Kyburz and Sampson Simpson, those two make sessions better. Scott Whittington aka Zilla, for the DoJo. You don’t even know how much it means. Jeremy and Beth VanderMeer-FLAT CAVE MUTHA BROTHA! Tony Carruth and Tony’s Radical Sportz in White Hall, AR. Thanks for putting me up and putting up with me. Max and Kelly Smith-thanks for who you two are, I will see you soon.