Photo: Tristan Afre
Mark is one of those young guns who has been popping up for the past year or so in the Daily Section. We’ve seen a handful of edits out of him and in that time his riding has really progressed a substantial amount… So much that he was able to get the attention of Sunday and Shadow, who he was recently added to the flow team for both brands. We figured by now there’s gotta be a few people out there wondering just who this kid is, so we caught up with him to find out all about him! Get familiar because I have a feeling we will be seeing plenty more of Mark in the future!
Years riding: Just over 4
What was it that first got you into BMX? Any first time memories pop up?
My friend Brendan’s older brother had a Verde Vex and all of his friends had BMX bikes. At the time I had some Wal-Mart mountain bike that I rode to school almost everyday during 5th grade. I used to do wheelies and stuff and I even remember one time getting yelled at by my vice principal for doing one in the parking lot waiting for the bell. On my 11th birthday my mom brought me to this local bike shop with Brendan and I got a lime green Haro Backtrail and have been on a real BMX bike ever since.
So you have been getting hooked up by Sunday for a while now. How did that opportunity come about for you?
I’ve known Jake Seeley for about 3 years now and have been riding with him regularly for the past year. While he was at Texas Toast he put in a good word for me with Jim C and thankfully he was down with putting me on flow and I’m super grateful for that!
What does Jim have in store for you this summer? Any trips or anything you’re really looking forward to?
My Sunday edit that was mostly filmed in a week in Austin should be dropping pretty soon and as far as trips go I’m actually going on one next week all around New England and I’m really looking forward to it as it’s my first trip with the team.
You have been riding for Shadow for a bit now as well. What lead to them hooking you up?
Well, I had originally planned on going to Woodward weeks 5 and 6 last year but I broke my thumb right before I was going to leave so I had to move my weeks to 7 and 8. This worked out great as Shadow week was week 7 and after hanging out with Chadwick and the rest of the team I got to know them pretty well. One day Chadwick commented his number on one of my Instagram pictures telling me to text him and soon after that he put me on and I got going on my welcome edit.
Do you have anything in the works with them right now? I feel like you’re due for a trip with those guys?
Yeah, we’re doing the Woodward week again this year and I was lucky enough to get invited on that and their was talk about doing something afterward but I’m not too sure yet.
Photo: Brady Hanford
Any other sponsor news you can tell us about?
I don’t have anything lined up and I’m really happy with the 3 that I have although I’m sure my mom wouldn’t mind me having a shoe sponsor, haha.
Over the past year or so you have put out and appeared in a handful of videos that I know I’ve definitely taken notice of. How do you feel about filming? Is it something that motivates you to push yourself?
Yeah, I love filming and usually if it’s something I haven’t done or if it’s really scary I’ll film it. That’s how my whole iPhone web video series started. I usually ride my flat ledge for a few hours a day when I’m home and not hurt. I’m pretty picky as to what I film and I like the spot to suit my style but I don’t mind when a clip takes an hour because I know I’m going to be super hyped when I get it.
I know you have had a few edits drop recently, but are you working on anything else we can look forward to seeing soon?
Yeah, my Sunday edit should drop pretty soon. I’m also working on a new Shadow edit that I have about 10 clips for and I’m really excited about those right now. After that I think I might do a split edit with Jake but that’ll be later in the summer possibly early fall.
You had a banger of a quick video come out for the Red Bull Phenom contest recently. Did you expect to get the reaction you did from people with that? Think you got a chance?
Nah, I definitely didn’t expect that kind of reaction. I didn’t really want it to get out to a large audience because it wasn’t my best footage from the weekend and I don’t really like entering video contests. I think the only reason I might have a chance is because it’s top 6. If it was best video I’d say it would go to my friend Brandon Webster, his entry is amazing.
I feel like you’ve been pretty contained along the East coast for a little too long. Do you have any travel plans now that school is out? Where are some places you hope to get to at some point?
I’m going on that trip throughout New England next week, and then afterward I think I might go out and stay in Huntington Beach for a week or two to ride SoCal for the first time. Other than that I’d definitely want to go to Barcelona (average BMX rider answer) as well as hopefully make it out to Arizona this winter.
How do your parents feel about the whole BMX thing you have going on these days? Are they pretty cool with you going out on trips and what not?
Yeah, both of my parents are pretty down with it. I’m actually taking a few finals early so I can go on this Sunday trip and I’m still going a day late because I can’t move one of my regents exams. My mom has always taken me to the skatepark or to go ride street wherever I ask and I’m super grateful for her always lugging me around until I turn 16 and hopefully get my license haha.
Obviously we’ve seen you progress a TON in the past year. What have been some of the things that really motivate you to push yourself and try new things?
Usually it’s just amazing web videos and my friends. I’ve probably watched the new Reed Stark edit, the Fiend Promo and the Deadline trailer over 50 times. All of those are just so good and they make me want to get on my bike and think of new tricks to try. Also, as everybody knows, Jake is super technical with grinds so we usually go back and forth teaching and learning new tricks with each other.
Do you have a pretty heavy crew from where you’re from? Any guys that really stand out as the people you look up to?
Yeah, their are definitely a ton of local dudes that are all super good. My friend Jared is probably the guy I ride with the most as well as my friend Nick who’s my age and super good. And then their is the Pittsfield crew which consists of Jake Seeley, Matt Clark, James Johnson, Tyler Dadak, Jesse Pause, and a ton of other shredders who all are super good and motivate everyone in the group.
You’re pretty dialed when it comes to peg tricks. What are a few of your favorite tricks? What’s one that you can’t do for the life of you?
Lately I’ve been really into 180-ice-halfcabs and crank arm grinds but I still have never landed a switch smith hard 180 or a smith hard 360 no matter how many times I’ve tried, up ledge or flat.
Where are you usually getting most of your riding time in these days? Any hot spots you have been stoked on?
I usually just ride in my driveway (and get mocked by my SoCal friends mercilessly for it) and Albany, NY is about 10 minutes away so sessions happen there pretty regularly.
What do you think you would be getting into if you never got on a BMX bike?
I’d probably still be doing Karate. I did it from the time I was 4-12 and had my black belt and everything. I got bored because their is a set curriculum for each belt and I like learning new things. With BMX I can progress every single day and thats one of the reasons I like it so much.
What are you usually up to when you aren’t riding these days? Do you have a job or anything?
No job, haha. BMX kinda consumes most of my life, but when I’m not riding in the summer I’m probably swimming or re-watching my favorite web videos or something like that during the day and hanging out with my friends in the afternoon and into the night.
I’d imagine you’re pretty stoked to be done with school for the summer. How many years do you have left? Any plans for once high school is over? College or anything like that on your mind yet?
I’m going into sophomore year this coming fall so I have 3, painfully long, years left. Once high school is over I’ll see what my options are. If I have any way of not going to college whether it be as a pro rider or something of that nature then I’m probably going to put it off for a few years and just enjoy my youth. After that I’ll probably have to be an average human and get a degree and a 9-5 or something like that but I really hope my adulthood isn’t that boring.
So you’re clearly a shredder on a bike. What else are you good at?
I really like to film and edit. I have a VX2000 and if I’m not filming a clip of my own I’m usually behind the lens for one of my friends. I used to be pretty good at karate too. I got 4th at nationals for my age group when I was 10 but I don’t remember any of my katas or flow drills anymore so I definitely wouldn’t say I’m still good at that haha.
Photo: Frank Christenson
What’s something about yourself that might surprise people?
May not be too surprising if you follow me but I am addicted to Social Media. My phone dies at least twice a day because I’m always making the rounds through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine and Snapchat.
It’s Friday night. What are you getting yourself into usually?
If I’m riding I’ll probably be in a nearby city, or on my way to Pittsfield, MA which is about an hour away. If I’m home I’m usually kicking it with my friends at someones house.
What’s the last song you heard, movie you watched and website you visited?
Song: 50K-Waka Flocka
Movie: Napoleon Dynamite
Website: The Union
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hopefully still riding, maybe filming or have a job somewhere in BMX. I’ll only be 20 so I might still be in college or something.
So you said you were on Twitter, Instagram and all that above. How can people keep up with you?
Yeah definitely follow me on Twitter @_MarkBurnett, Instagram @Mark_Burnett, Facebook and Vine are both Mark Burnett as well.
Do you have any shout outs or thanks?
I’d definitely like to thank Jake Seeley for everything he does for me from helping me with industry stuff, role model stuff, girl stuff, or anything else he’s done for me. My homies Nick Mykins and Jared Butler for always being down to ride, film, and hangout. Jim Cielencki for putting me on Sunday and letting me crash at his house for a week in Austin. Ryan Chadwick for putting me on Shadow and just being the man! My Mom and Dad for being super dope. Kurt and The Union for this interview and anyone else out their that is keeping BMX awesome.
Anything else you’d like to say?