In between the swamplands of Southern Louisiana, located just to the west of New Orleans, lies the small town of Destrehan, home of the Raiford family and a father-and-son BMX dynasty, Ryan and Broc.
Born in 1968, in Norco, Louisiana, Ryan Raiford was a Southern boy on the loose and hunting for speed and excitement on two wheels.
Find out more about the Railford family and catch their amazing riding in the video above.
In ’70s Louisiana there wasn’t much of a BMX scene, so Ryan grew up largely influenced by motocross via his uncle, although his parents weren’t exactly sold on that idea.
Dirt bikes were too expensive to maintain and race, but one day Ryan witnessed his uncle jump his dirt bike into and out of the ditch near their house. This sight fuelled his imagination and motivated him to mimic everything he knew about motocross and turn it into his version of BMX. Ever since that day he’s been hooked.
In 1994, along came Broc Raiford. He grew up with all the access he could’ve asked for when it came to dirt bikes – his father wanted him to have the options he'd never had as a kid. But Broc didn’t take to it the way Ryan had expected.
He was the definition of a ‘rocket-powered kid’, as his dad would say – he would excel at almost every sport he chose to do. The young Broc played soccer and baseball, and skateboarded, but the whole time kept riding a BMX bike. When he was 12 he decided to focus solely on BMX.
Broc began his journey at the bike nights held at a local skate park in Harvey, Louisiana and quickly started to gain popularity among the older riders. He soon outgrew his Dyno Coaster brake bike, and his dad bought him a Hoffman.
Shortly after its arrival he began leaving Louisiana to ride contests in neighbouring Florida. He soon gained invites to a Dew Tour Free Flow Tour stops, became a Woodward Camp instructor and featured on the TV show New Pollution on Fuel TV.
When he turned 16 years old, Broc’s dad bought The Compound, an indoor skate park in New Orleans. The Raiford family owned the place from 2007 to 2010. “Not only did I want a place for my son to ride,” Ryan says, “I also loved the scene and wanted to have a place for the other kids to ride and to help keep my son motivated!”
All of this effort by Ryan to keep his son safe, motivated and on the right track towards BMX has been a driving force throughout Broc’s career, right up to this very day. From dirt bikes to BMX bikes, from Louisiana to California, Ryan and Broc Raiford make up one great father-and-son team.
Broc has ridden in numerous Dew Tour events, X Games and special invitational contests all over the world, and is sponsored by some of the biggest and most well-respected companies in BMX. Today he lives in California and rides as a full-time pro BMX riding for Volume Bikes, Danscomp, Odyssey and Vans shoes. At just 21 he’s achieved a lot, but it’s all been down to hard work and commitment from both himself and his father.