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Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Catching up with Ben Hucke


Rail feeble in Portland, Ore. Launch Gallery »

ESPN.com: How's the Portland winter treating you so far?
Hucke: I just got home from ten days in LA shooting photos for Dan's Comp and filming a little ESPN edit with Codie Larsen and Aaron Nardi. I got some sun so winter is going good so far.

You recently went on your first time out of the country, a Shadow trip to Russia. What was that like?
Definitely mind blowing, I don't know how to compare it to other countries other than the USA. All I can say is the majority of the people in Russia have no regard for their own safety. Overall the trip was amazing and I was with a bunch of my best friends so anything that happened could only be a positive experience. Don't ever get hurt in Russia, I learned the hard way and found out the hospitals are terrifying.

How old is your son Levi now? You showed me a funny clip of him riding a bike. Are you going to teach him how to ride BMX?
Levi will be three in March so that's coming up. As far as BMX goes, that's up to him. I'm not going to push it on him or try to make him be good at it. I just want him to enjoy life and do what he loves. I may buy him some golf clubs though, it couldn't hurt to try.

Sputnic's going through a lot of changes at the moment. Tony Neyer left the team last month to ride for Verde and just the other day David Grant left to ride for BSD. What are your thoughts on all that?
I don't think any of us knew how to move forward without our original crew that was sadly torn part when Rickey passed away this year. There are definitely more changes to come and I think it's best for everyone. Everyone's been real positive about everything going on so that alone makes me happy.

Ben kicked out this toothpick hanger on a ledge just just over the river from downtown Portland. Launch Gallery »

I know Rickey Bates was not only a teammate of yours, but a really good friend who tragically left us earlier this year. What do you miss most about him?
I miss us being a crew, I continuously reach for my phone to send him a text or hit him up with a trip idea or whatever. Rickey is one of a kind, I can't compare what I miss about him to anyone else. Just him being him.

You mentioned that you like to film and edit and were planning on doing that more and getting a new camera soon. What are your plans?
I recently bought an Panasonic HMC-40, I've mostly been using it second angle on trips and what not. But after several months of using it I'm finally starting to get it all figured out and still have a lot to learn. One thing I love about filming is that it reminds me of why I love riding. Everyone has their own style and you can never stop progressing.

What's your favorite memory from 2011? Do you have any big plans for New Years?
Everything this year has been amazing, I thank all my family, sponsors and friends for being there for me and letting me live my dream. No plans for New Years yet, probably just high five Levi.

It's nearing the end of the year and it's the time when riders make sponsor changes. Are there any changes you might be making for next year?
Wouldn't you like to know, haha.