It’s been pretty quiet from Dave Voelker over the past few years. Now 48, engaged to be married and with two kids, Voelker remains legendary in BMX circles for his early BMX contributions in vert, park and street, but after completely shattering his patella over two years ago, he’s been off the bike. As a full-time demo rider, that means Voelker can’t make money and support his family, and because his medical insurance reached a cap, he is now paying out of pocket for his medical bills.
Voelker arrived on the BMX scene in the mid ’80s. Emerging from Santee, Calif. with sponsorships from the GT/Dyno camp, Voelker’s riding was and continues to be a phenomenal brand of 120% on everything in his path. Voelker went higher, clicked further and saw lines that no other rider recognized. Voelker was moved to full factory status by Dyno in 1987, but remained an amateur, racking up vert wins in the American Freestyle Association Masters series and enjoying a wealth of coverage in the BMX media.
As the late ’80s gave way to street riding, Voelker’s riding and ability to adapt to all terrains transcended into street riding, and he picked up one of his first pro class wins at the very first 2-hip Meet The Street contest. His wallrides were close to 6-feet higher than any other riders on that day, and he was bringing new innovative tricks to the table, such as the tailwhip nosepick (which remains a staple to this day.)
Voelker rode the street riding wagon into the early ’90s, and was the only rider to remain with the GT/Dyno team through the leaner years of the sport. He continued doing extensive summer tours with the brand through the ’90s, and eventually went on to earn a fifth place and a fourth place in the X Games in 1998 and 1999.
Condensing everything that Voelker did for BMX riding into several paragraphs is of course an injustice, but there is one thing about Voelker (aside from his riding) that is hugely noteworthy: he never stopped putting everything he had into BMX. While other pros from the ’80s eventually dropped the bike and pursued careers outside of BMX, Voelker remained on the scene, going three feet higher than everyone else around him.
He’s got the respect of the BMX world, but that rarely if ever pays the bills. What Voelker needs is help, and I can appreciate that in 2015, knowing the dude spent over 20 years on the road to bring BMX freestyle to small towns across the continental United States.
Chances are, if you’re reading this, Voelker helped to fuel your initial interest (and love or hate for AC/DC) in BMX. I know he did for me, and that’s why I donated some cash and am linking to his crowd funding page today.
Donate here: http://www.gofundme.com/u9snqng