There’s no denying by now, if you’re keeping up with BMX videos, that you have seen Matt Ray pop up somewhere! Over the past few years we have seen Matt show up in a ton of videos absolutely crushing it on everything that he has the chance to ride. Matt was recently added to the Subrosa Skeleton Crew and after his welcome video dropped, we knew there was no way we couldn’t get ahold of him to find out just what his story is! Check out this interview to get to know Matt a little better because we know you will be seeing plenty more of him in the near future!
Name: Matt Ray
All photos by Austin Bonner
Location: Lowell, MA currently but from Woburn, MA
Years riding: 6 or 7 years
What was it that first got you into BMX? Any early memories come to mind?
My dad would bring me to new skate parks, and riding around those parks and the neighborhood with my friends was always the best thing to me. The first time I went to Rye Airfield and witnessed Clint Reynolds boosting the old step-up that was higher than the vert ramp next to it and him actually talking to me after planted the seed. He may as well have been a super hero.
So, Matt! What’s going on? How’s things been on your end? I’d imagine you’re over all the snow that’s been crushing the Northeast this year.
Things here are cold but good and I’m real happy with the way everything’s been going. It takes a lot to ride in a snowy region and can suck if you let it, but I’ve managed to ride the indoor parks a few days a week, have some fun on my snowboard and have been fortunate enough to travel to warm places for a lot of the winter, too. Lowell broke the all-time snow record this winter: 113 inches.
That’s a ton of snow! Way more than we got in Minnesota.
On a less snowy note, you were recently added to the Subrosa Skeleton crew. How did that opportunity all come about? Seems like you have always been putting in a ton of work.
Yeah, man. I’m so grateful for this opportunity. They were doing a park party tour in New England and my good friend, Johnny, is the NE Sales Rep for Sparky’s. He pushed for my regular park, Hadley Park in Lowell, to be a stop and brought me along to all the stops. I got to kick it with the team and Ryan Sher for a few days, realized quickly they are more like a family than friends and after that one trip I just kept in touch with them. They kept up with me too and it all kind of fell into place over time from there.
Since you joined the team you have had that banger of a welcome video and popped up in an edit from Arizona. Have you already been getting in on some trips and what not with the crew?
Thank you! I’m psyched on both those. Bobby Kanode killed it filming and editing them. We have a few things lined up for this year that are going to be insane. Other than traveling with the team, I have a few things I want to make happen in Boston this summer too.
Photo: Austin Bonner
Do you have any trips coming up with them you can tell us about yet? Seems like those guys are always getting into something.
We’ve got a team trip coming up and Oregon as well.
You have been riding for your local park, Rye Airfield, for a while now as well. How’s things going with that place? Are there any events coming up that you are looking forward to?
Rye is one of the best parks in the world. It has been my savior from New England winters for years. It’s a good vibe there and there is always a solid crew of real dudes riding. The Recon Tour is stopping there in September and I already know that contest is going to pop off!
Any other sponsor news? I feel like people have definitely been taking notice of your riding lately?
Ethika just recently hooked me up and I’ve got a few things in the works that I’m really excited about.
Speaking of your riding, you have really been on it as of late crushing it at skateparks and street spots. You ride with a lot of speed and style… Did you grow up racing at all or is it just natural to you?
Why thank you! Haha. I started going to the track at a young age but never actually raced. I’ve always enjoyed riding ramps and scaring myself on new tricks, so when I ride street I keep the same mindset. If something scares me or takes time to land, to me it’s the most rewarding feeling.
What would you say your favorite thing to ride is these days?
These days I would have to say street. If you asked me a year ago I would probably say park, but since I’ve had the opportunity to ride new cities across the country I’ve realized I enjoy that a lot more. It’s always an eye opener when you go to a famous spot and know the shit that’s gone down there.
I know you are a bit of a contest rider, at least we have seen your name pop up quite a few times in results. Are you a fan of contests or is it just something you do when the opportunity comes up?
I like being at contests just because of seeing everybody at them and seeing the new stuff that dudes are doing. Some people take contests really seriously and get mad when something doesn’t work out, but, to me, it’s not like that. I just try to have fun and compete only against myself and try to hype everyone else up.
Do you have any trips or places you’re hoping to get to this year? Any chance we’ll see riding in the Simple Session coming up here soon?
I wish I could’ve made it this year! Simple Session is insane but I’m heading over to China at the end of April for the Kia World Xtreme Games, other than that just whatever comes up that I can make it to.
Who were some of the riders that really influenced you growing up?
Mike Aitken and Van Homan. So ahead of their time. Their riding back then continues to influence me.
Photo: Austin Bonner
What about now days? Who are the guys that really get you motivated and psyched to ride?
Garrett Reynolds and Kris Kyle riding-wise; the shit they do, I could watch all day. Also, Nigel Sylvester just because he’s doing it on his terms to recognize his own vision. A lot of people hate on it, but I get it and I love that shit.
Like we said earlier, you just had a video welcoming you to the Subrosa team drop not too long ago. Have you been filming at all lately? Can we expect some fresh footage to surface here soon?
I have something that should be dropping the middle of this month. I’m psyched on how it’s looking and there are a few things after that in the works already.
What do you think you would be getting into these days if you never got into BMX?
That’s scary to think because all I do is ride. I’ve always had entrepreneurial aspirations so I’m sure I’d be trying to start a brand or working towards opening a business of some sort.
What are you usually doing when you aren’t riding these days? Any hobbies or things you’re really good at?
Lately it’s pretty much been catching up with friends that I don’t get to see that much while on the road. I have been skating quite a bit lately as well but I don’t really do other sports. I go to the gym daily to keep my body healthy and in shape. Maybe a little hanging out with the ladies and all that… Pretty average 19-year-old life I guess, Haha.
You work as an HVAC tech or something, right? How did you get into that? What’s a typical day like for you when you’re home and working?
Not really, I work at MTC Mechanical, an HVAC business, with my dad. My sister works there too, so it’s kind of like a big family there. I really just help out there with whatever they need because Mike, the owner is so supportive of my riding. I can work a week then leave for two weeks and come right back to work on the days I can. I usually go to the gym around 7, work at 8 and get out around 3 and ride.
Is that something you could see yourself doing “after BMX” or is it just something to help keep the BMX party going for you right now?
No not really. It’s not the type of work I want to do for a living. I enjoy it because it’s pretty interesting but it’s just to support riding right now. I want to own and run my own business one day for sure.
Any plans on college or anything like that in the future? What would you go to school for if you had to go right now?
Maybe. I have taken classes already and know it’s good to have a degree, but at the same time I’ve met many successful people who don’t have a degree that have built their business by doing what they love and learning everything about it. If I enrolled right now it would be for business with an emphasis on marketing. It’s crazy, the evolution of how modern business relies on social media and alternative marketing techniques to be successful. It interests me a lot.
What’s the last movie you watched and website you visited?
Get Hard with Kevin Hart. I was almost in tears watching that. The last website would be World Star Hip Hop , gotta keep up with the hood ish.
What’s something about yourself that most people probably don’t know and would probably surprise them?
This whole interview has been about me. I would rather use this spot for others. I’m from a rough town that eats kids alive. I can’t believe hard work and a passion for riding my bike has made all this happen for a kid from The Woo. Every time a package shows up at the door and every time parks or camps invite me to ride for free, I can’t believe it’s me. Every time a rider I look up to likes my posts or knows who I am at events, I can’t believe it’s me. Every time a kid asks for an autograph, I can’t believe it is me he is asking. When I got this request for an interview, I couldn’t believe anyone would be so interested to know about me. For anyone reading this who has been told they can’t do something or that to be successful they have to follow in the footsteps of someone else who is, just BELIEVE, work hard, do things your own way and follow the path your instincts (and not others) tells you to take. BMX is athleticism. It is art. It’s life.
Photo: Austin Bonner
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hopefully still riding and healthy, working on big things to better my life and the lives of those close to me.
How can people keep up with you these days?
Do you have any shout outs or thanks?
Yes, huge shoutout to Ronnie B, Ryan and all of my teammates at Sparkys/Subrosa, my dad Don, Ethika, Rye, Camp Woodward, Johnny, my mentor in business Patti, my awesome family: Mom (Kathy), Sara and Tim, and all of my friends who are like family (way too many to try and name), my barber for keeping my hair on point and MTC Mechanical! Thanks for this interview, much love!
Anything else you want to say?