All eyes in the BMX community are focused on Austin, Texas, this week, and for good reason. Odyssey BMX’s third annual Texas Toast Jam, the highly-anticipated Markit video premiere, and RideBMX’s NORA Cup (Number One Rider Award) celebration are all happening this weekend. Given the huge BMX presence already entrenched in Austin, it’s going to be one hell of a party.
Dean "Pool Shralper" Dickinson (pictured above) has earned the title of Texas Toast Project Manager this year. With Dean's experience organizing events and event founder Taj Mihelich's daily guidance and assistance, this year’s edition is sure to be another one for the history books. We spoke with him about how he got the gig and what he has planned…
redbull.com: How did you end up getting the gig to manage Texas Toast?
Dean Dickinson: I randomly got a call from [filmer/photographer] Justin Kosman, who said that Odyssey was looking for someone to run this year’s Texas Toast. Taj had organized the first two events on his own while plugging away on Fairdale Bikes at the same time, which is a lot of work. Kosman put in a good word for me since we had a working relationship.
That day, I gave Jim Bauer [Odyssey Art Director] a call and from my understanding the Odyssey guys were pretty stoked on the events that I’ve organized. As our conversation went on Bauer seemed pretty hyped and I was ready to roll. Ten days after the initial call I was on a plane to Austin. Taj picked me up from the airport and from that moment on Texas Toast has taken over my life. Taj is still very much involved and is providing daily guidance and assistance throughout the whole thing.
Check out Corey Bohan's take on Texas Toast 2012 in this video:
What ran through your head when it was first presented to you?
I was really excited but I didn’t want to get my hopes up. Odyssey has always been a brand that I’ve really respected so I knew they had high expectations -- such innovative and creative work has come out of the company. But after I got off the phone with Bauer I KNEW it was the right decision. Following the footsteps of Taj for Toast is a pretty overwhelming sensation, but I knew that it would be a great opportunity and I couldn’t say no.
You've attended a previous Toast Jam as a spectator, correct?
Yeah, last year. I knew Toast was going to be rad, but my expectations were blown out of the water. The jam was truly inspiring. It made me really want to focus on my creative abilities and my career in special events. Taj has always been a really big inspiration, so when I was asked to project manage this year’s Toast it truly was an honor. I’m still pretty blown away.
The ultimate goal is always the same: Have as much fun as you possibly can without getting hurt or going to jail.
You're known for putting on frequent jams and events; how does a big event like Toast compare?
It’s just a lot more to manage, but the ultimate goal is always the same: Have as much fun as you possibly can without getting hurt or going to jail. It’s one thing to host a D.I.Y. event without any permits or permission, but it’s a whole different ball game being legitimate and getting approved by the city. The City of Austin has actually been really supportive so we’re all really stoked on that.
What has been the most stressful/challenging hurdle so far?
I would say the most difficult part is fitting everything into one weekend. Everyone wants a piece of Toast and I’m really stoked on that, so I’ve been doing my very best to fulfill the riders’ and the brands’ needs.
We have over 200 riders competing in street, dirt, and the Gauntlet. We have twice as many brands involved this year, but the financial support is slightly less. To host an official event with restrooms, medical staff, and insurance can get really pricey, but everyone is working together to make it all happen and I can’t thank our supporters enough for believing in Texas Toast.
It was announced that Flatland could not be part of this years Toast due to situations out of your control. Want to clear that up for everyone?
Yeah… I was really trying to make it all happen but it just didn’t work out. Last year’s portion of flat was hosted in a covered building located at the lumberyard. Since the housing market is booming here in Austin, business for the lumberyard has been insane! The lumber in the flatland building has to stay, and will also house extra wood from outside to make room for Toast to even happen.
We tried to make room for a flat comp in the street course but the space wasn’t there either. I’m still bummed flat didn’t make it into Texas Toast 2013 but I hope it works out for next year.
Who's on staff this year for the build?
Ryan Corrigan is leading the ramp build with the help of Jeremy Hrabal. The Credence Crew -- Clint Reynolds, James P. Nutter, Matty Aquizap, and Will Blount -- have been dialing in the dirt course. Lindsay Hale and Dani Windhausen have also been helping with a ton of stuff. And of course Taj and Monty have been running all over the place helping and providing guidance.
There’s been a bunch of others but for the most part that’s the core group. I can’t thank these guys and gals enough for their loyal support. That’s the coolest part about Toast. Everyone works together to make shit happen!
Any surprise additions to this year’s jam?
A couple but I don’t want to give too much away. Mat Hoffman’s vert ramp is definitely a really big addition for us. Joe Dirt will also be hosting TEAM SHRALP’s Chili Dog Cook Off on Saturday as a benefit for the Athlete Recovery Fund.
As we get closer to the event, what is your main focus?
My ultimate goal is to be as resourceful as I possibly can and to simply roll with the punches. Like Joe Dirt once said, “You gotta just keep on keepin’ on.”