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Channeling my Why: Perris Benegas



PULL BMX

So this is just you and I talking all right? It's gonna be very, very casual. So it's obviously a moment in the year where the world recognizes women's history, accomplishments, etc…but the best way to put it is “International Women’s week”.


Perris Benegas

Yeah that works. Let’s celebrate it!


PULL BMX

And then this week is specifically like Women's Week. So what we're trying to do is make sure we bring to light that there's this badass movement going on in BMX, and I don't even know if “movement” is the right word. I don’t want to discredit the generation before you, but I think we'd be lying to ourselves if we didn’t think that in the past four-to-five years that the progression in Woman’s Freestyle BMX hasn’t taken a massive jump.


PULL BMX

Agreed or no.


Perris Benegas

Oh yeah, agreed!


PULL BMX

Do you feel that women are already getting this well deserved level of recognition? Am I even saying that, right?


Perris Benegas

So I think that it comes in waves. When something cool is done, I think that women get the representation or the props from the BMX industry. But there's never really a media source, besides The Bloom, that puts a focus except for this week. At the events, of course you're going to have the standout moments.


Bea (from The Bloom BMX) stays on top of keeping up with what's happening in Women’s BMX. She’ll share posts from little girls riding to pros, and everything in between….highlighting it all. She gets behind it and posts it and that allows other companies to then get behind it too.


Because of The Bloom, other companies out there searching for content can find it. And then that is just like an easy “oh, I saw this on this, let me scoop that and share it” type thing. But I will say for me personally (and recently with other companies) everyone is really starting to focus more. There are really good women riders out there.Look at Odyssey, they picked me up, put me on pro straight away and now they have Teresa, Bethany and Linda too.


I personally feel a movement is happening..But things ARE happening and that’s great. Haro put me on their pro team and then they put Keir on. I’m happy that it's becoming a thing now to where it's like, “Okay, each brand is going to have a woman or two on the team”. It's getting to that level. So I think, yeah, it is starting to get recognized for sure


PULL BMX

I agree. I think everyone is seeing more women on teams, or in ads and video parts. It’s awesome to see. Especially me being a Dad of a daughter..it’s really cool being able to show her photos or videos of you and your peers doing amazing things.


Who are your sponsors right now?

Perris Benegas

Vans, Haro Bikes, Odyssey and Bobcat.


PULL BMX

Oh, yeah, Bobcat. Lucky!


Perris Benegas

Ryan (Nyquist) just got the coolest thing from them…imagine like a golf cart. But for the ranch where it has a bed in the back and it lifts up and empties out and has four doors…it’s cool and fun to rip around.


PULL BMX

Random question…what are you eating and why does it look so horrible?


Perris Benegas

It's not horrible, it's good. There is soy sauce on it. It's rice and chicken.


PULL BMX

Okay all right, so moving forward in 2023 and let's say even 2024: we know there's this huge event in mid-2024 (Olympics) that I feel a lot of park riders focus on… You are so well versed and multi-dimensional and…ugh…let me describe what I'm saying here so we're on the same page: It's like there are certain riders out there who are known for their riding in just park or, like there's some badass chicks out there who are just street, you know what I mean?

But with you, I just sort of feel that we as an industry can sort of invite you to anything and you'll kind of be on that level or even raise the level of riding. So having said that massive rant, what keeps you going? What do you want to do you know in the sport for the next two years?


Perris Benegas

Honestly, my focus has shifted.. The 2020 Olympics was my focus and all my sponsors respected it and put everything on hold for me so I can concentrate on that. But I always had this guilt of “I'm not fulfilling my sponsorships” and stuff like that.



PULL BMX

I get it.


Perris Benegas

During that time, Deep down, I wanted to go ride other stuff. I love riding everything. That's literally what I would do as a kid. Me and my brother and all of our friends would go build dirt jumps and then we'd be done riding dirt and we'd go to the skate park… and then we'd go ride downtown that night. That's what I did as a kid and I feel like I lost that part of me when I was just solely focusing on the Olympics.


I've fully re-shifted my focus on what I want to ride. Yes, I want to podium at these contests, but I also want to put my blood, sweat and tears into a video part and to show other women that you can literally do it all. You can go ride street with the dudes or even with a group of chicks like that Cliche group… they put a full video out of just a bunch of chicks ripping in the streets. That’s so awesome.


I can go ride trails with friends and still focus on contest stuff and do well. But riding all this other stuff build’s confidence. Being versatile makes riding ramps more fun. If you go ride street for a while and you haven't ridden ramps for a while, you think “Oh, this is fun”. It's just new perspectives. My goal for the next two years and beyond is to “Channel my Why”. Because as a kid, I literally had so much fun going and riding everything. That’s why I got into BMX.


PULL BMX

I love that. I think that's the title of this interview: “Channeling my Why”. That makes so much sense. I've never heard that before.


Perris Benegas

Why did you pick up a bike when you were a kid?... and I lost that. I completely lost that going to Tokyo. I didn't even want to ride my bike. But now I’m loving it again.


Before this last contest in Saudi Arabia, I was only riding street. No ramps at all. I just showed up to the comp and had the time of my life riding ramps again.


It makes things come easier when you have that confidence. I want to work on video parts, and I want to show women that contests aren’t our only option. You don't just have to do this thing or that thing… you're not limited…we can do it all if we want to.


PULL BMX

Well said. All right, So two more questions. Number one: Do you think you'll ever dye your hair full blonde again?


Perris Benegas

Absolutely not.


PULL BMX

That video is still out there. You just shredding a concrete bowl with bright blonde hair.


Perris Benegas

I know. I hate it.


PULL BMX

So final question to everyone out there, What do you have going on for the next year? Travel, video parts, photo shoots, and you don't have to go through every single one, but are you busy or are you living the lap of luxury on a beach with your toes in the sand?


Perris Benegas

No, I'm busy, but busy with balance. That's been one of my things also, is trying to find the balance. I'm finishing this Vans video part, which will come out in August, and then from there I want to go on a few more trips, maybe even start filming another video part for one of my other sponsors. More contests of course and random travel things come up. But I would like to say I'm not just toes in the sand. When I'm home I'm riding and training. Sunday is a relaxing day…after my house is clean.


PULL BMX

That's right. You’re pretty OCD.


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