Jace! Fill us in on life. What have you been up to since finishing up your internship at Ride Nature?
Life has been good. I went back to Oregon after Florida and just worked for a bit to save money. I had to have knee surgery (ACL and Meniscus), went through a bunch of physical therapy, and then moved back to Nicaragua with my family shortly after.
Things got a little crazy down there with storms and hurricanes, right?
Yeah, last year there were two hurricanes. There was a ton of damage done to the Caribbean side of Nicaragua so we were over there helping with a lot of stuff and doing some rebuilding. I also have been spending some time in San Juan del Sur working with Hans on the new Ride Nature location. Just trying to stay busy, but things are good now.
So what happened to your knee that you needed surgery?
I was at the park riding. I honestly don’t really remember what I was doing. Something stupid I’m sure.
Have you been able to get back to BMXing and riding your dirtbike since the surgery?
Thankfully, I have! I’ve finally been feeling better on my bike again and starting to be able to push myself harder so I'm really stoked on that.
When did you get into BMX and Motocross?
My dad bought me my first dirt bike when I was three years old. I’ve been riding since then. I started racing motocross when I was 14 or 15 and did that until our family moved down to Nicaragua when I was 18. As far as BMX, I just kind of picked it up as I was racing because it was what everyone was doing off the tracks.
Do you have people that you’re getting to ride with in Nicaragua?
It’s a pretty small and niche community down here but there are some. I haven't done too much in the moto scene but I’ve done a lot more with mountain biking and BMX because I’ve been able to meet guys that ride by going and hanging out at the skatepark.
There are a few pros down there, right? I feel like I saw you riding with a guy that’s sponsored by Monster!
Yeah! That’s my buddy Gama. He lives in Costa Rica though so we don’t get to ride together a ton. But he’s real sick man. He’s definitely on the track to become pro!
From the stuff you’ve been posting on social media, it looks like you’ve been learning some new stuff too! That big dirt jump you built looked real heavy!
Yeah, Gama came down actually and helped me build that. We only have two jumps right now but we’re planning on building more at the Ranch. But the gap on that first one is like 30’. Definitely has been nice having that to learn new tricks.
What’s the history with the Ranch? How did you guys become a part of that?
Our friends down here in Nicaragua started “Ruby Ranch” about seven or eight years ago. When we came down here for the first time to visit them, my family instantly fell in love with everything about it. It wasn’t too long after that first visit that my family sold everything and moved down here to work with them and help host teams that were coming to Nicaragua from the U.S. and Canada. Basically, Ruby Ranch is an adventure camp for kids that live near Managua that come from rough or poor communities. The goal is to have them come to the camp honestly just to have fun and ultimately get to experience Jesus. We’re still a little bit in the building phase with some new projects so I’ve been helping with that construction. The goal is to keep building until it's at the point where kids can now stay overnight. It’s going to be really cool.
Do you feel like your time at Ride Nature helped to prepare you for everything you’re doing now?
It definitely helped a lot, even with just being able to connect with the action sports community better. It’s a really hard culture to break into and build connections with everybody if you’re not actually a part of it. But the way Ride Nature goes about it, with all of the Bible Studies and everything, it was super cool to learn and see how anyone can do it. It helped me overall learn how to reach out to guys that don’t really have anybody else reaching out to them. Here in Nica, most of the kids ride bikes, so just being encouraged to use my bike as a tool has been awesome. The goal with building all of the jumps at the Ranch is to be able to invite more guys I meet skating and biking back to spend more intentional time with them while we ride.
You’re naturally a pretty quiet person, but do you feel like you’re getting more bold or confident?
Oh for sure. The first Bible Study I led when I was in Florida I was super nervous. Public speaking is terrifying to me. It was difficult for sure and it still isn’t easy, but the more I keep practicing, I’m gaining more and more confidence and definitely becoming more bold. I got to go on a trip to India when I was at Ride, and we were doing a bunch of skate and bike demos at schools. I think it was around Easter weekend but I got the chance to share at one school in front of like 500 kids. I was definitely still scared but was stoked to get to share how Jesus had come to die for them but then how He rose again! That was an awesome experience.
That trip to India was pretty rad, uh?
I mean, two and a half weeks of non stop traveling, riding, doing demos–it was insane but it was all time. We basically laughed nonstop for two weeks! It was a great trip. We took like five domestic flights within two weeks–Mumbai, New Delhi, Manipur, Bangalore, Chennai–not to mention our flights to and from India. Every day it was completely different. Sometimes we were riding on some type of stage, other days we would be using plywood we found as ramps for little pop-up shows. We got to go to Manipur which is in Northern India, practically on the border of Burman and do like five events in one day. It was rad to use something as simple as my bike to draw together some pretty big crowds with the goal of sharing the Gospel.
How about your first night at Ride Nature? You remember that day?
How could I forget it! We decided to go to a WWE event in Fort Myers because John Cena happened to be fighting that night. We got all dressed up to go watch it! That night was hilarious. Garrett was rocking that epic American Flag jean jacket and I’m pretty sure you wore a wig that night right?!
So what’s in the pipeline for you? Any new opportunities or goals for the future?
I’m not completely sure to be honest. I’m in this season of just waiting to see what God wants me to do or where He wants me to go. I’m definitely excited to continue being a part of Ride Nature and you never know, maybe that will be helping to lead here in Nicaragua! I’m just along for the ride.