When I think of Sheep Hills, I think of SNAP magazine, Barspinner Ryan, S&M guys, Sean Butler and many other local SoCal riders that used to ride/ dig there daily. It’s famous “moon dust” dirt, and local legends made it a hot spot for pros and inspiring pros at the time. It was one of the few dirt spots that’s open to the public, and where you can go and see half a dozen pros riding together or shooting photos. Many years later, the old guys got older and went less and less and the new breed of HB locals took over. When you think of Sheep Hills today, you’ll definitely see Kris Fox and Hucker’s name in the lineup. We thought we’d get the skinny with Hucker and Kris with having Sheep Hills in their backyard and everything else in-between. Read the whole interview and check the photo gallery after the jump.
K (for Kris Fox)
H ( for Hucker)
(K & H) When did you first hear about Sheep and was it through mags or just local kids going there?
K: I found out about Sheep pretty much when I first started to really get into BMX as a little kid. I started in racing, so I looked up to guys like the Foster brothers, The Wildman, Butler, Barspinner Ryan, and that whole scene who really built it into a lifestyle. So I found out about sheep pretty much though the guys I looked up to. I loved every bit of it and I remember digging on little jumps in my backyard doing everything I could to make my “own sheep hills”. From that point on, I knew I wanted to live in Huntington Beach and ride a bike when I was older.
H: I first heard about Sheep Hills when I was 11. My older brother used to hang out with all the SHL’s back in the day. He told me all about it and I went there for my first time right after my 12th birthday and I was hooked.
(K & H) First impressions of your first time at Sheep?
K: I first went to sheep when I was about 8 years-old on my race bike with skinny little tires. It was the first time that I got to see the Fosters, The Wildman, Butler, Barspinner Ryan and so many more ride in person. I was so excited but TERRIFED to actually ride in front of them. I think I made it through “kiddy pack” once or twice but I mostly watched everyone in awe not trying to get in the way. Looking back on it, I am seriously honored to have seen those guys have that particular session and the memory of it still has an impact on me today.
H: I was completely blown away walking into Sheep for my first time. I remember walking in and the very first thing I saw was Shawn Buttler doing a 360 can can on a purple bike. There was at least fifty people there too. It looked like they were all having the most fun ever. I wanted to do that more than anything from that moment on
(K & H) Since Sheep was in every SNAP and other publications back in the day, did you think it lived up to the “hype” once you went there?
K: Oh yeah without a doubt! To see all the photos of all of my heroes in the magazines, see photos of how crazy the jumps were, photos of how progressive the sessions were, then to be there in person seeing it with my own eyes, it more than lived up to the “hype”. That whole scene there gave me a dream of what I wanted in life so “hype” might actually be an understatement.
H: I never knew of Sheep from the magazines. I was more hyped than ever when I saw it in the magazines after going there for the very first time.
(H) Sheep is back in a big way these days, after dropping off for a couple of years, what happened?
H: Ya sheep is better then it’s been in years. I think all the locals just got tired of not having a spot anymore. All the locals invested in watering backpacks and a lot of dedication. It’s just as fun as I remembered it growing up.
(K) Riding there, it seems like it’s almost set up for a guy like you with your style. Seems like you especially can haul ass (pedal) around and keep going. Do you like Sheep’s style vs not pedaling and cruising jumps downhill?
K: Honestly, pedaling is really fun to me and I feel like I can gauge my speed a lot better by cranking into things. Like I said, I grew up racing and Sheep definitely has the feel of a “race track” to me. Downhill trails are always fun as well, but it’s hard to compare Sheep to anything. Sheep is so one of a kind and has so much BMX history to it, you honestly can’t compare it. All the pedaling, the powdery dirt, the smell of the trees surrounding it, all the different feeling jumps, it’s honestly it’s own category.
(H) I think you especially have a soft spot for Sheep since you’ve had so much history growing up there in HB and had so many good times there. Would you say riding there now vs coming up when you just started going there is different and why?
H: I definitely have a soft spot for sheep. When I’m home I ride there more than anywhere else. The only difference in my opinion is now I’m watching all the up and comers vs being the up and comer. It’s so rad to watch it happen!
(K & H) There seems to always be drama on who “claims” to dig there and who doesn’t, what’s the normal etiquette to ride Sheep and stay on everyone’s good side? I guess this question could be for any trails kids ride at.
K: Well, for me personally, I am a very “non-confrontational” human. So any drama on who digs and who doesn’t I try not to associate myself with. I’ll always lend a helping hand, and then ride my bike and have fun with my friends. I always look back to the guys that build the place though, the guys that I had the pleasure of seeing ride when I was an 8 year-old kid. Sheep was a platform for those guys to inspire kids like myself to have dreams of riding BMX when they were older. Those guys not only dug at Sheep, but they built it into a lifestyle that I still look back on. Every time I talk about Sheep, that generation of when I was a kid is something I always want to bring up because it meant so much to me. As for now days, there are still awesome kids and riders down there throwing shovels and keeping Sheep alive. And at the end of the day, that’s what really matters… keeping BMX, the sport we all love alive. If you show up to any trail spot, always lend a hand throwing shovels, watering, sweeping, whatever the locals need. Bring a positive vibe, enjoy the stories of the history of their spot, and enjoy happiness on your bike.
H: Sheep is pretty much the only trail spot in CA that is open to all to come and ride as they please. For the most part there are a small handful of people that still go down there and dig every day
(K) With the city claiming that riding Sheep is fully legal, do you guys ever see it expanding into a full-blown Catty or Posh that are legendary east coast jumps or is that pushing it for what it is and why?
K: Well, to me personally, I feel Sheep is already legendary in it’s own way. Sheep tells countless stories of BMX history over the years and Sheep has seen some of the most progressive riding ever. The same can be said about Catty and Posh. Sheep, Catty, Posh, and other legendary spots are all unique and all tell their own stories. I just want to say thank you to all the riders and all the locals throughout the history of those spots. Thank you for helping pave the way of BMX and giving a kid like myself something to look up to. My outlook and lifestyle is a simple and happy one with BMX being the main objective. I am blessed to live my personal dream, and I look back to watching that session at sheep when I was 8 years-old and it all clicked for me because of those guys. Like myself, there are also countless other kids that watched those sessions then and they can still talk about them today. That is history in my opinion, and that is legendary in it’s own way.
(K & H) What would you guys like to see Sheep be or see in the future?
K: Sheep Hills will always be Sheep Hills to me. As a kid, it affected my outlook on BMX so much, that the vision and legend of Sheep Hills will always remain the same to me. I would also like to see it stay alive for years to come. I want there to be more 8 year-old kids that make it down there for the first time now days and get inspired on BMX. I want the legend of Sheep Hills to continue forever.
H: I would just like to see sheep there in the future. I want kids in the area to have the opportunity that I had growing up. There aren’t very many trail spots these days that are open to the public. As long as the jumps are there people will dig and ride