Far from home in the sun soaked terrain of California is Maryland native Patrick Evans, one of the latest to follow the industry out to its epicenter. Born in Annapolis, he was quickly relocated to the east coast in North Carolina, where he grew up riding and racing alongside the sport’s top stars of today like Jordon Smith and Cooper Webb. Though once he found himself at the Joe Gibbs Racing compound with a camera in his hands, his path soon changed. The itch to get on two wheels soon morphed into a desire to get behind the lens, and through a couple of opportunities along the way, Patrick has found himself beside some of the world’s biggest athletes in motocross, BMX, and even surfing. While by most measures successful, Patrick is still out there looking for his shot to prove just how talented he really is.
Discussion includes: Early success in motocross and freestyle BMX, his Dad’s involvement in the sport (including being James Stewart’s agent at one time), freewheeling his way out to California, and more…
You were out at Pala the other day filming with Axell Hodges?
Yeah, I only live like thirty minutes from there so if I go I’ll ride with Axell and those dudes. I’ll bring a camera every once in a while. Brian McCarty has been staying at our house for a little bit, and he decided to go out there so I went with him. Axell’s always there, so I just filmed those dudes.
I was going to ask if you ever get a chance to ride out there, but combing through your Instagram recently I saw that video of you coming up short off the freestyle ramp.
Yeah… that one got pretty popular. [laughs] On a 250 I could hit that ramp pretty good. I mean I’m not like a ramp guy, but on the 250 I was alright because you hit it third gear pretty wide open. But that day I wasn’t really gonna hit it because I was getting used to the 450, I had just gotten my Suzuki. So I was sitting there with John Sanders, Twitch, Axell, Nate [Adams], and Bilko. I was just going around the track, but I always park inside the freestyle area just to hang out with those dudes, and [John] comes up and goes, “Hey, are you gonna hit the ramp today!?”
I was like, “…you dick,” because he says it right in front of everyone, so I’m thinking, “now I’m going to…”
So I hit it clean twice, but it was the third time that I just cased the shit out of it. On the 450 the timing is a little different with the throttle and I went a little deep.
Well I’m glad you rode out of it. I’ve got a handful of questions here I’d like to jump into right now though. I want to start with your origins. You’re from Annapolis, Maryland?
I was born there but I didn’t really grow up there, I grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina. Right by JGR, pretty much. But yeah, from Annapolis. I’d rather say I’m from Maryland than North Carolina.
[laughs] Why’s that?
I don’t know man, it’s North Carolina. I was actually born right by Travis [Pastrana’s] house, my Dad and Travis used to ride together at Budds Creek. They weren’t really friends, but Travis was the local kid on the 60 killing it. So it was funny, I was born there and then this year I was back there again. I ended up working there, right where I was from.
Coming full circle.
[laughs] I guess.
Did you ride a lot as a kid?
I stopped riding when I was on 80’s, but yeah, I was pretty serious on 50’s and 65’s. I was really good locally, I won everything locally. I never really did big races but we grew up with Cooper Webb, Jordon Smith, they were always at local races. We kind of knew I stacked up pretty well on a national level. I don’t think I would’ve won a championship, but I would’ve been a top three dude I think, on 65’s and 50’s. I just got burnt out, I was over it. Around this time Ernesto [Fonseca] got hurt, we were kind of friends with him and after he became paralyzed my parents were thinking I should stop riding as well, but really I was burnt out. We had a track at my house that I’d ride on everyday, so yeah.
I kind of regret stopping though, I wish I would’ve kept going because now that I’ve moved out to California [I’m riding more]. I haven’t really ridden since I was ten, but now that I’m riding again all I can think is, “I should’ve just stuck with it and made some money.” You know, Cooper’s got a million dollar contract… probably should’ve just dealt with the burn out.
Maybe you wouldn’t have sacked yourself at Pala if you kept riding!
[laughs] No kidding.
What was it like riding on the east coast back in those days, in a time before that area became a hotbed for training facilities? Places like Club MX, Jimmy Weinert Training Facility, or South of the Border just below the state.
It was pretty much the same, it just hadn’t gotten the notoriety yet. It’s not Southern California, but still. We had Webb, McElrath, Cody Robbins was pretty fast as an amateur. I don’t know, it’s definitely different from SoCal. It’s a little more “rednecky” out there, [laughs] but it was cool. My dad was also Stewart’s agent back in the day, so we got to go ride at Stewart’s house, which is a pretty notable east coast location. I got to ride Stewart’s house on a 50.
That must’ve been a little intimidating!
It was cool. He had a 110 supercross track, which was kind of perfect for a 50. I remember I tried to ride the outdoor track they have there on a Cobra. That track was so gnarly, I could barely even get around it.
Being that involved with racing at such a young age, what was it like to get picked for the KTM Challenge at Chase Field in ’06?
Oh, that little gem? Where’d you find that out?
‘Cause we raced it together!
You were at Phoenix!?
Yeah, dude! We battled! You don’t remember!? [laughs]
Oh! No… dude, I don’t remember that day because after the whole double/triple thing… [Ed. note: Patrick began doubling one of the SX triples on his 50 in practice, prompting another rider to attempt it and crashing immediately. All kids were banned from double jumping for the rest of the night.]
I didn’t even give a shit about that main event, dude. I wanted to leave. My parents made me finish it. I think I still have photos of me crying by the KTM rig.
Patrick (7) and I (4, being photobombed by Villopoto) at the KTM Challenge. Photo by the late Steve Bruhn, 2006.
I wanted to bring that up because I found the rider entry list from that day in my basement. I was tripping when I saw your name on the list!
You know what’s funny? I live with Vicki Golden and Kenny Bell, so we’ll always have people coming in and out. You know, supercross kids staying in a room for a week or two. Casey Brennan stayed there, he’s a privateer 450 rider, and we were driving to A1 from our house in Murrieta. Somehow the KTM Challenge came up, and he says, “I remember watching the KTM Challenge when I was a kid in Phoenix. I saw some kid hit the double and I thought that was so sick. I wanted to get a bike after that.”
I shot back, “Yo, that was me!” [laughs] That’s funny that it surfaces again all these years later.
You mentioned earlier that your dad was Stewart’s agent back in the day. Did he manage more riders?
He was a stock broker before coming into motocross, but the first thing he did in motocross was the Chevy Trucks deal. So his first deal was getting Chevy Trucks to team up with Kawasaki. I guess from there he got to know Stewart. He was Stewart’s agent from ’03 to maybe ’06 or ’07. He was [Brett] Metcalfe’s agent as well at that time, and still is. Now he’s Cooper Webb’s agent. He also did the JGR deal as well, he started that in 2008 with Coy [Gibbs] and [Jeremy] Albrecht.
He’s really invested in the sport, it seems.
Yeah, in 2008 him and Coy got together and started the motocross team. He still works over there, but he’s starting to move more towards the NASCAR side of Joe Gibbs now.
Getting back to you a little bit, in addition to motocross you were a pretty avid BMX rider. Like a lot of people I’ve interviewed so far, you seemed to catch the action sports bug at a young age. Was being on the east coast a catalyst for getting involved in that scene? I know Greenville, North Carolina was once the spot where Dave Mirra and Ryan Nyquist were living and riding together.
I was like five hours from Greenville. After I got out of motocross my parents wanted me to race BMX, something a little safer. I did a couple BMX races but I got over that pretty quickly. You know, when you’re riding dirt bikes you’re riding BMX with your friends too, so we ended up turning the motocross track into BMX jumps. But I wouldn’t say being in North Carolina was really good for it. I was out in the middle of nowhere, so I had trails to ride, but the nearest skatepark was like an hour away. I made do with the backyard, but we eventually made a full resi and everything. I took BMX pretty serious, but it was the same thing with motocross, right when I got to the point where you could start to do something with it I was over it. I did Athen’s Jam, won the expert division in that, so I was pretty good. But same thing with motocross, just good enough to not do anything with it. [laughs]
You’re hucking backflips and shit! I rode BMX a lot as well when I was a kid, like you said, being around motocross that’s something kids tend to do. We only ever dreamed of even trying to do stuff like that, though.
I got pretty good around when I was 13, then once it started getting a little gnarlier… dude, BMX is gnarly. Once you get to that point where you have to do your tricks over a twelve-foot box, you’re fully committing. It’s a little different from motocross, it’s almost gnarlier in a way. I could frontflip a box, I could three-sixty double whip a box, but at that point you’re just so in it. It’s not like motocross, where you have a little more forward momentum. If you eat it, you’ll be rolling. In BMX you’re coming down really hard and awkward on everything.
When I first came out to California, I got back into the bike scene and came down awkward on a wheelie, folding my knee over and doing a number on my ACL. Not ideal for BMX, which I gravitated away from after that, but it’s not too bad for dirt bikes. You can still ride a dirt bike with a torn ACL. Vicki Golden doesn’t have one, she hasn’t had one for years. Just gotta roll with it.
When did you first start to tinker with video?
The first thing I remember about video was my Dad filming some stuff for JGR on a camcorder, like a total piece of crap camcorder. He filmed some behind the scenes stuff for a photo shoot at JGR, which he had no business doing. I think he was just bored at the photo shoot. He was at home putting it together in like, Pinnacle Studio or something. I was always kind of around that stuff, though.
I remember he would always have Photoshop up on his computer so I’d mess with that a little bit. The first thing I did was a JGR behind the scenes video, I did two of them. I shot some BMX videos by myself as well for practice, trying to figure out how to do new tricks. That’s kind of how it started.
When did you start seeing you could get serious with video?
I don’t really… well, I guess I kind of take it seriously now.
There wasn’t a defining moment for you?
Well, I did a bunch of stuff for JGR and I was starting to get ok. I started shooting at GoPro Motorplex, it’s a Karting complex in North Carolina. I started shooting some people there and it turned out that some twelve-year old girl who karted there, her Dad was a dentist who owned this big [dental] practice and he reached out to me to film some dentistry stuff. He gave me a salary job at sixteen, so I was making pretty good money, but it wasn’t what I wanted to do. That was sort of the start for me though, as far as doing something as a job.
From there I went into car dealerships. I got in contact with a guy who wanted to do a video on this Lamborghini Aventador exhaust system that his performance shop down the road from me made, so I went and shot that for a couple hundred bucks. Then the company that owned the Lamborghini hit him up and said they wanted a video kid, so they ended up offering me a salary job to film supercars all day. At that point, the question was simple: Was I going to work for a dentist or help sell supercars?
That seems to be a pretty healthy market.
Yeah, it is. It was good, I had a big office in there. I worked six days a week ten to seven at 17. They’d let me take whatever supercar I wanted to lunch. It was pretty rad, but it’s hard to get over sitting in an office everyday, six days a week.
I’d imagine having that sort of opportunity so young must’ve been pretty exciting.
It was definitely gnarly. Dude, that office was the size of most people’s garages or something, a two-car garage. It had a TV in there. I’d just edit a video real quick then hang out with my friends in the fab shop out back and shoot the shit. But after about six months… basically everything in my life happens in six month intervals. [laughs] After about five or six months I started watching that RED Collective series on YouTube, it’s all about people that shoot on RED. I remember watching that Mark Toia video and thinking, “I need to move to California now. I’m over this.”
Just one video clip later and you’re out!
The Mark Toia RED Collective video was kind of a game changer. That and “We Are Blood,” that made a big difference.
You’re a big Ty Evans fan?
Yeah, for sure. But I’ve always thought Ty Evans was rad, I remember watching “Yeah Right!” as a kid and thinking that was sick. I liked the idea of just going out with your friends and making something on your own.
Can you tell me about shooting with Colton Haaker for his upcoming film?
That hasn’t come out yet, his movie. I’m not really working on it anymore, unfortunately. I lived with Colton Haaker for three or four months, I met him at Pala one day. I was living in Irvine at the time and I wanted to move out to the Inland Empire area near all of the test tracks, so I ended up living with him. He’s a creative dude, he has his vlog series and everything. He’s super into video. He loves watching DEATHGRIP, all of Semenuk’s stuff too.
Basically, he wanted to make a movie. He had most of the idea but I helped take some of them to paper. He pitched it to Rockstar, and I think they’re going to fund it, but even before we got funding we had to go shoot the opening round of Super Enduro in Poland. He paid for my flight and we shot a bunch of race footage for the movie.
Then we had this thing going where I wrote a nightmare sequence [for the movie]. I was really into Stranger Things, so I really wanted to have a Stranger Things-type section. I wanted to have a monster in the movie. Colton was kind of apprehensive about it but I insisted, “Dude, I can pull it off! We can do this.”
[Because of that] we ended up butting heads a little bit. We did this shoot for the nightmare sequence at night, and we had Steve Haughelstine come out with his RED/Ronin bike setup. Eric from Tempt Media came out so we had all of the monitoring in the truck and everything. Jimmy Bowron came out as well to help film, Tanner Yeager was doing photos, we had a pretty solid crew.
Colton was spending some money, we got some lights out there, a fog machine… we were supposed to have stadium lights but we ended up getting flood lights, [laughs] so we had three flood lights and a generator to light his entire backyard with. So right away we were struggling a little bit, but it was good overall. Tensions were high on that set, working until 3 AM most nights. We got some rad stuff though.
Colton’s a rad dude. Him and I get along awesome when we’re just hanging out. I’m just too hardheaded and we’re both creative, so I don’t think we work together too well. If they finish that movie, it’ll be rad.
I just noticed on your website, and we mentioned earlier, you did the Giant Bikes Factory Team Intro.
I just edited it, Metis Creative shot it. Cameron Baird, Clay Porter, John Reynolds, and John Anastocio. Those dudes are awesome.
How’d you get hooked up with those guys? I remember a brief exchange we had on the MXS forums where you told me they filmed that Cole Seely video for RedBull.
Yeah, they did the RedBull video with Cole at Zaca Station. Cameron did a photo shoot with JGR back in the day and I’d always be hanging out there and filming. I think it was 2015 maybe, he hit me up and asked me to film a behind the scenes video for them. He sent a RED out for me, and that was the first time I shot on a RED. He basically said, “Here, practice with this. We’ll be there in a week.” So I shot a little behind the scenes video. We had a nice exchange.
Then Wienerschnitzel, my buddy Rico worked there, he hit Cameron up to go shoot something but all of his guys were shooting somewhere else. So I guess Rico said, “What about Patrick?”
Cameron set that up with Rico, then I flew out to California for the first time to shoot a charity event Wienerschnitzel did along with some stuff at San Diego supercross. That was the first time I shot something for Wienerschnitzel, the first time I did something under Metis Creative… so that’s kind of how all of that got started.
Were the guys at Metis a big proponent in getting you out to California?
Yeah, definitely. I knew Cameron would hire me for some stuff if I stayed in North Carolina, but I figured it’d be a lot more likely if I lived in California, same thing with Wienerschintzel. I actually forgot to tell Rico that I was moving out here. For some reason I thought I texted him, but I didn’t. I flew out here and just showed up at his door, “Did I not tell you I was staying out here and that I could stay at your house for a month?”
He’s at the door, “Nah, you didn’t.”
And I go, “Well… I’m here!”
What were some important things that you picked up from those guys?
Organization. The way they edit and send files and folders out. They’re so anal about it, and now I am too, but yeah. It’s the way they organize their folders and projects, bringing all of their footage into a timeline and dropping it into a sequence, going through every single clip and pulling out selects. Making a new timeline for just selects, putting every single rider into this timeline, every type of shot into this timeline… Dude I spent a week organizing, then another week reorganizing just Giant footage before editing. It’s miserable, but that’s how you do it.
With all of the work you’re getting now through Metis and other clients like Stance, is it important for you to find time to keep riding?
Yeah, unfortunately. I wish it wasn’t important to me [laughs]. I actually want to try to do a national next year, just to say I did it. I think I’ll be moving back to North Carolina here in a couple of months to work on a start-up production company, so I don’t know if riding will take a back seat or not. I’ll be by JGR again so I could just ride there but, you know. It’d be better if I could just not ride, but then you start getting quick again and it’s like, “Damn it.”
The faster you go the more it sucks to give it up.
Thanks to Patrick for taking the time to talk.