Rhythm - Ronnie Kim
The SoCal city of Corona has quite a history with the
sport of BMX - as it was once home to the World’s gnarliest
and most legendary downhill tracks. Plenty of BMX
Hall of Famers - like Stu Thomsen, Kevin McNeal, and Eric
Carter have also called it home. But today, in modern-day
BMX, Corona’s biggest BMX connection is 12-year-old RONNIE KIM.
So we were all set for this interview and had built up a
file of great shots of you from the Grands in your Full
Tilt uniform - then the news was announced that you’d
be riding for Box-Components in 2018. How’d that all
RONNIE: It happened all too quick! Right before Christmas
I got a message from Box that they were having a younger
Amateur Program for 2018. My name came up and we went
in for an interview. Everything turned out to be exactly what I
wanted. I have always been supported by Box Components,
while on Haro and Full Tilt. I love the brand and it has been
a winning combination since I started racing BMX in 2011.”
What are you looking forward to the most - in 2018?
RONNIE: “Have a lot of FUN! To represent my sponsor and
co-sponsors well. Go to all the biggest USA BMX Nationals
to possibly capture the National No.1 Title!”
Are you planning on going to Baku for the Worlds?
RONNIE: “Yes, I want to go and defend my World-1 title and
try to win both class and cruiser. It’s a long flight and a long
ways from home, but we are currently thinking about it.”
Of all the races you won last year - is there one race in
particular that stands out the most as your favorite?
RONNIE: “The 11-year-old Challenge main event at the
World Championships in Rock Hill was my favorite. It was a
long day full of fun and excitement. I got to hang out with all
my buddies, representing the United States of America and
at the same time making new friends all around the world. It
was an experience I will never forget.”
Would you say that you are more of a natural at BMX
racing, or are you really working hard to be on top?
RONNIE: “I am not a natural. I am very consistent and I feel
very blessed to have learned from BMX icons like Richie
Anderson, Mike Redman, and Donavon Long. They are
all excellent trainers and mentors who made my success
possible. My dad was a BMX rider in the 80’s and has had
a big impact on my success. He has been my secret to my
How hard do you work at being as fast as you are?
RONNIE: “I work hard, all around, to try to be consistent.
We go to the track a few times a week. When I am not at
the track, I am at the gym working out two to three times a
week. Mostly I do a lot of reps and work my core muscles. I
am learning new exercises that are really helping me on and
off the track. Most of my training at the track is between two
to four hours. Most clinics and training sessions are three to
four hours. I also do a lot of off track training near my home.
It’s a training exercise I have been doing with my dad and
my friends since I started BMX. I have built a lot of strength
and stamina riding the steep trails on my BMX racing bike.”
For you, what is the most fun thing about BMX racing?
RONNIE: “Traveling to new places and riding new tracks,
and making friends all over the World.”
Mike Redman was your first major sponsor; correct?
How much did his support in those early days help
make you what you are today?
RONNIE: “Factory Redman was my first major sponsor.
All of my BMX foundation started from there. Mike showed
me how to become a great racer. He showed me all the
manners and respect that goes with BMX. Still to this day
he trains and mentors me to be focused and ready! I can’t
thank him enough for all the love I get from him.”
I remember way back in 2012, talking with Bob Morales
- Dane’s dad, and he told us flat out: “That Ronnie Kim
kid is the real deal. He’s going to be hard to beat.” And
then you won your first NAG No.1 plate the following
year and have owned it ever since. What’s it feel like to
be No.1 in your age group for five straight years now?
RONNIE: “First, I’d like to say it’s been a privilege to train
and race Dane Morales. He was so mentally and physically
focused and confident. I needed to do a lot of training to
compete at that level. Dane is part of the reason I had so
much success. To be honest, there has not been anyone
that gave me the type of competition like Dane did. It has
been an awesome feeling knowing you are the best in the
country for the past five years in a row. It’s been a privilege,
with a lot of hard work. Being a Champion
is tough - knowing that everyone is
training hard to take the crown. I know
I must work harder and wiser to keep
what I got. Importantly, I must act and
behave like a champion.”
Of those five NAG No.1 plates - which
one has meant the most, so far?
RONNIE: “My first NAG No.1 was the
biggest accomplishment. I never thought
I would come this far and win the title
from the toughest champion, competitor,
The record for most consecutive NAG
No.1’s (on 20”) is now EIGHT in a row,
held by your former Full Tilt teammate,
Jack Kelly. How many more
consecutive NAG plates do you think
you can win?
RONNIE: “Jack is incredible and he’s
an awesome friend of mine. To achieve
more consecutive NAG 1 plates is going
to take a lot of hard work, perseverance,
and training. I will be focusing year by
year to stay undefeated in my age group.
I plan on following in Jack’s footsteps.
So, do you just take it just one race at
a time or look at the entire series or
RONNIE: “I focus year by year - going
to the biggest races, facing my hardest
competition, and focus on being ready
for the Grand Nationals.”
In your class, you’re always up
against some mighty tough competition
- from Ty Beadle to Bobby Wasabi,
Wyatt Worth to Michael Villanueva,
all the way up to that Brazilian ripper
Lucas Zimmerman. In your mind, who
is the toughest guy to beat right now?
RONNIE: “Looking back at my past
races, Bobby has been my toughest
competitor. He has a heart of steel and
has come a long way since we both
started. Wyatt, Lucas, Ty, and Michael
are all strong competitors that can take
your spot. For example: Wyatt Worth has
beaten top ranked NAG riders in ‘Vegas.
He is extremely powerful at short tracks
and will not be overlooked. Lately, Lucas
and Michael have been more competitive
than ever. Watch out for these guys!”
You race X-Open classes a lot, right?
How much does that help you to
gauge yourself against kids one year
older than you?
RONNIE: “I like racing bigger and faster
riders. It gives me a better idea where
I stand. Racing Open classes has
mentally and physically prepared me to
be better throughout the year. Since my
birthday is in January, most older kids
will transfer out of my class before the
Grands and leaves younger kids moving
into my class. My goal is to age up and
start winning and each year the gap is
getting more narrow.”
BMX is definitely a mental sport as
much as it is power. What is your
mindset when you get up in the gate
for a National main?
RONNIE: “I try to stay calm as much as
possible right before any main event. I
have a lot of confidence when I am faced
with the same age riders at the Grands
but when I am facing top NAG riders
from one age up, I do get a bit nervous.
I’ve been taught to never doubt myself
so I remain confident that I can win with
anyone in the main event.”
There are so many great things available
for the best racers in BMX - from
College Scholarships to Olympic
glory, or even a future working in
the bicycle industry. What are your
dreams and goals for your future?
RONNIE: “I hope to continue racing
BMX and continue my education. My
dream is to someday be able to represent
the United States of America in the
Olympics. Then I hope to be an innovator
in the BMX/Cycling industry after
finishing my college education.”
We have no doubt that you will succeed
with that mission. Thanks for
the interview Ronnie, and best of luck
to you this year.
Seafood - Lobster, shrimp, and crab!
Grand Prix BMX - my Home Track.
USA, of course!
Favorite Bike of All Time?
Favorite Place to Eat?
Porsche 911 Turbo
Favorite Thing to Do besides BMX?
Go to the gym and hang out with
Favorite Subject in School?
Favorite State to Visit?