Interview with Woody Itson,questions asked by myself Februari 2003
First of all I would like to thank you to do this interview with me.
I'm a long time BMX racer but I remember you very good when you was on Hutch.
So,let's talk a bit about that time.
JJR:When did you start riding for Hutch and for how long? And what was the reason to quit riding for Hutch?
Woody: It's been so long that it's hard to remember exactly when I first started riding for Hutch, but I think somewhere around 1983. As for quitting, I didn't really have much choice to be honest. Hutch had filed for bankruptcy and I was owed some money and had bills to pay and Mike D. was already on Diamond Back at the time and he asked me if I wanted to ride with him again, this time on DB, I said yes (1987), and spent my last sponsored years there.
JJR:How was it riding for one of the best companies then?
Woody: It was awesome. Rich (Richard Hutchins) was very good to me for all those years. He treated me like family back then and I will always be greatful for the things he did for me. I felt very lucky to be the first sponsored rider on Hutch for Freestyle.
JJR:What kind of tittles did you won in you pro freestyler career?
Woody: I held the titles of number one pro in flatland in the AFA & NFA. Won the Nora Cup Team (Me & Mike D). Got second at the World Championships one year(that was the year everyone on Skyway won-they sponsored the event). I also held the world record for the wheelie and the bunny-hop for a while.
JJR:In 1986 you was the Hutch Trick Team manager. Was that the beginning of you current job as the manager of the Giant freestyle team? And maybe the end of you pro freestyler career?
Woody: No, I didn't really decide to back off riding until I got into college almost 5 years later. You see, I was older than most riders when freestyle became popular the first time through. When my deal with DB ended, I took a year off and rode for myself, no contests or photo shoots, just rode. The next year I started going to college, and that really took most of my time, I had to study a lot to do well, so I didn't ride much. I made the right choice for myself-no regrets.
JJR:In the same year (1986) you got a golden Hutch Trick Star as a present by Hutch. What's happened with that bike? And did you use the bike realy to ride?
Woody: That bike was a gift from Hutch (kind of a thank you), I was offered some other deals from other teams while I was on Hutch, but I turned them down. I liked riding for Hutch on a bike that I designed. Yes, I really did ride it, not all the time, but every so often I would take it out and watch peoples expressions, that was pretty funny back then. I was Bling-Blinging before Nelly.
JJR:Hutch made a Woody (front)brake/fork combination. I never seen many photo's with that brake on your bike. It seems that the brake/fork combination never realy took of. Can you explain that?
Woody: It only worked OK, better than conventional side-pull brakes, but 990's worked better, that's all there was to that. It was a good idea, but it only worked OK, not great.
JJR:I've noticed that your Trick Star back then had forks with a bit higher positioned welded on pegs. Were they special made for you or did Hutch made them in serie too?
Woody: They were made in series and available to the public for a while, but I had them first to test. Freestyle was changing so fast back then, that we were always testing and trying new things to make the bike better. Hutch was really good when it came to R&D, whatever we wanted to try, he would make in his shop, sometimes, while I waited. Man, those days are just about gone forever.
JJR: Hutch made signature frame sets for Tim Judge and Mike Miranda. Were there never plans for a Hutch Woody Itson signature frame?
Woody: The Trick Star was my frame, I designed it. It won the Nora Cup as well, I think that's pretty good. That bike still rides good by today's standards. For a while Hutch even did a signature series release here in the states, a "Woody Itson" signature edition if you will-it was pink. I didn't really care about having my name on a bike, don't get me wrong, I thought it was cool, but I liked the name Trick Star better, so we went with that. The other stuff is just marketing.
JJR: Do someone still make the famous Woody bars.
Woody: Yeah-LOL, lots of companies, they just put there own name on it these days. VDC (Voris Dixon) made them first, then Hutch, then DB butchered them. Mine was the first .065 handlebar ever made. It was also the first with a lowered cross bar,so you wouldn't hit your face so hard when you landed low and it was easier to do candybars and barhops on. I use to go through bars all the time, so I made my own.
JJR: What do you think of the following said by Eric Carter in 1987: "On Hutch,we were out of control! I felt bad at what we did. I mean,I feel bad thinking that we might have had something to do with Hutch having financial difficulties. But look at Woody Itson… I'm not sure,but I heard while they were on tour,the engine in the van ran out of oil and blew up! Hutch asked him,'When was the last time you checked the oil? Why didn't you check the oil?' and Woody said,'You don't pay me to.' I mean we weren't that bad."
Woody: Well the motor did blow up when we were on the road, and it was due to lack of oil. Randy Bowser was our announcer back then and we always asked him, did you check the oil? He always said yes, now we know otherwise-he had other issues. As for EC, what was he back them 12? He wasn't there, so how would he know what I said? Just because someone says something that get's printed, doesn't make it true. For the record, that never was said by me. Me and EC and cool. The van cost about 3500 bucks to fix, but I hardly doubt that had anything to do with down fall of Hutch. It all rested on some Jackass named "Fern", he was suppose to be some financial expert, all he did was ruin Hutch's company in my opinion. You want to know what happened to Hutch, skateboards, ugly shorts, & windstylers!
JJR: Do you still ride a freestyle bike?
Woody: Yes, I ride a Giant team frame.
JJR: Do you own a Hutch Trick Star as kind of memory?
Woody: Yes, a couple. All that glitters is……….
JJR: I give you some names of former Hutch factory riders. Can you tell a bit what you know of them when riding for Hutch? Tim Judge,Mike Miranda,Eric Carter,Charles Townsend,Steve Veltman,Mike Buff,Mike Dominguez,…
Woody: Tim Judge was Rad, I miss Timmy, he was really funny. Mike Miranda (now Mike Phelte) is a golf pro and family man and one of the coolest guys you will every know. He was the closet thing to Elvis the bike industry will ever know. I see EC once in a while, he's always been a good guy, I wish him continued success. Charlie's always been good to me, don't see him much though, it's been a while. Not sure what he is up to these days. Veltman, man I got some good stories about me, him, and Monte in South Africa, but what happens on the road, stays on the road. That was one of the best trips ever. Me and Veltman had a good time back then (I had more fun that Steve did). I still see him once in a while at the races, I hear he lives out here by me these days? Mike Buff, funny guy, family man, hard worker. Always up for a good time. I wish I had more time to hang with Buff. Finally, Mike D. Me and Mike will always be tight. I'm going to see him and his son in a few minutes. Mike D is the man-VERT!
JJR: Tell me more what you're doing at present.
Woody: Well, I own and operate the Giant Bicycles Stunt Team/Racing Teams with two other semi-retired riders (Todd Corbitt-Auburn & Todd Huffman-SE). We all still ride once in a while, but we get tired faster these days. We started this team so we wouldn't be at the mercy of a company that was run by people that didn't know who the riders on the team were or what they did. Giant Bicycles (Skip Hess & Russ Okawa) played a huge part in helping us out to do our own thing. Without them, not sure where I would be right now. As for my personal life, I finally got married on November 2nd of last year and my wife and I are expecting our first child. I feel very blessed with the life I had in the past and even more so with the one in front of me now.
Well,I thank you for our talk.