There and Back Again: KC Badger
After graduating art school, KC Badger packed his bags and headed North, traveling from Phoenix to the Pacific Northwest. In between part-time jobs and Kink trips, KC plots his next move: get a job, keep riding or learn how to properly cook Korean BBQ.
I've always appreciated KC Badger's presence in BMX simply because he does what he wants. He doesn't try to keep up with the latest trends, tricks or styles. He just does what he does (really really well) and seems to be happy enough with that. But of course, there's more to KC than just a heaping handful of awesome BMX style and skills. KC is a legitimate artist with a Bachelor of Arts degree from ASU in Tempe, Arizona. He works in a variety of mediums, including painting, drawing and sculpting; and his subjects run the gamut of experiences, from pop culture icons to homeless people to unicorns. But above everything else, KC is a sweet dude, the kind of guy that just oozes goodness without even trying. Fresh off yet another Northwest summer, we caught up with KC to check out what's new in his life. What follows is a quick ten-minute glimpse into one of the most stylish and artistic BMXers around right now. Enjoy.
So what brought you to Seattle?
I've been coming to the Northwest for the past five summers or so. Last year, I split my time between Seattle and Portland. My girlfriend lives in Seattle, so I've just been here the whole summer living with her, riding bikes with Seth Holton, kinda living the Northwest life.
Hometown: Tempe, AZ
Sponsors: Kink, Etnies, Odyssey, Kore Bike Shop
Likes: Trails, sea foam green, dive bars, reality TV
Words of Wisdom: "I seem to be fascinated by anywhere/anything that I am not."
Currently in transit from the Pacific Northwest to Arizona, KC Badger is the longest standing member of the Kink team. He also possesses a bachelor of fine arts degree and contributes illustrations to Ride BMX Magazine.
Do you have a job there?
Yeah, I work at Industrial skate shop a couple days a week. The same shop I worked at back in Arizona; they have a shop up here. My lady works all day everyday, so I took the job to cure some boredom.
Where are you living in the Seattle area?
I live in Magnolia. I can see Jimmy [Levan's] house from mine. I live on the hill to the West of him. It's pretty amazing here. My girlfriend is from Arizona and she's been up here almost two years, and she said it's hard to meet new people, unless you grew up here and knew people already. Everyone isn't very open to that. But it makes sense to me. The friends I have up here are all from different places.
Are you done with school now?
So what does that mean for the life of KC Badger?
I just get to struggle like everyone else now. I don't know. I worked at the skate shop, and I've been looking for a job. I applied to teach an after school program in Seattle. There's not really too much right now, so I'm playing with the idea of going back to school to basically learn more, and stay on top of things, keep looking for jobs that whole time and basically learn more while I'm doing that. Then I'll be extra prepared for the real life.
How old are you?
You should already be prepared probably.
I know. That's what I keep telling myself too.
What are your plans when you go back to Arizona?
Basically, just to work a couple of jobs. I worked at a restaurant before I left, and I worked at the skate shop as well. Save money, and then my lady is going to move down sometime during winter and we'll get a place together. Start life.
How's everything with Kink?
Everything with Kink is the best. I'm honestly the most psyched that I've ever been to be a part of that company. In like seven years now.
Are your jobs cool with you traveling to Taiwan or going on random Kink trips?
That's the reason why I have those jobs. I keep finding real jobs, and I apply, and I feel like, if the job is good enough, I'm gonna have to put down bike riding to take the job opportunity. At the same time, I still have all these opportunities to travel and do all these amazing things through Kink. So I'm kinda half looking for jobs, just to stretch it out. The jobs I have now, they know my schedule and they know that it's kinda lax, so they let me do what I want.
Where did the "Laziest pro in BMX" tag come from?
It came from TheComeUp. I think it was a joke. It came out right before a Kink road trip, so we played up on it and made fun of it, and I don't know if people took it real seriously. But for whatever it's worth, I think it's kinda funny.
What's the funniest thing you've ever read about yourself on the Internet?
That I couldn't bunnyhop up a curb. I don't remember where I read that, but it's pretty funny.
Yeah. I can't Ty Morrow anything but I can get up a curb.
Who do you ride for?
Kink, Etnies, Odyssey, Kore Bike Shop
Did you go on the Kink Taiwan trip?
Can you explain your experiences in the Far East?
I've never been outside of North America before then. I've been to Canada and Mexico, but never overseas. So my first trip anywhere outside of North American was Taiwan. And it was crazy; the complete opposite of anything I've ever witnessed. I went in with an open mind, wanted to eat all the crazy food, take in all the experiences, and it bit back. The fourth day in, I got super sick and had a stomach flu for the whole time. It wasn't real bad. I could still ride around with everybody, but every once in a while, I'd be hunched over in pain at the spot, hoping I didn't poop my pants. For a country that the bike industry revolves around, it's crazy that no one had really gone and seen any of the spots. The spots were crazy good.
What made you sick?
Ryan Fudger and I branched off from the crew. Basically, on every Kink trip, we always find one safe place to eat. In America, we always end up at Olive Garden for some reason. We could be in a place with the best Italian food on the planet, and we'll end up at Olive Garden. So in Taiwan, everybody found their safe spot next to the bike shop. Fudger and I got sick of eating there every night, so we went to some crazy Korean BBQ place. They didn't know any English and we couldn't speak Mandarin, but we ended up talking to the owner on the phone. He asked us how much we wanted to spend, so we gave him a number, and they just kept bringing food out. But we had to cook it ourselves on the BBQ in front of us. And apparently, I'm not a good BBQ chef, cause the next day is when I started to feel sick. But Fudger's intestines of steel seemed to handle it good.
When we went to China, we ended up eating at Papa John's.
We felt like the biggest jerks. Fudger, Sean Sexton and myself got there a day before everyone else did. And we woke up, pedal around, and we ended up just going to McDonald's. We were the typical Americans.
Wanna give any shouts out?
To my mom, everybody at Kink, Etnies and Odyssey, my girlfriend Jen, everybody that's put up with me in Seattle for the past six months. Thanks and I'll see you soon.
Follow Brian Tunney on Twitter: @briantunney
Looking for more BMX content? From features to photos to videos; we've got it covered.
- Team Shralp Caveman Jam
- East Coast Trails
- Brazil Big Air
- Interbike Rail Jam
- Cincinnati Mixtape
- Adam Roye Profile
- Grant Castelluzzo Edit
- Brawlin at the Belmar
- Dave Jacobs Profile