Once you graduate from high school the thought of having to go back might be dreadful at best. Just recently Marcus Tooker was asked to go back to Barnstable High School, but in his case he was going back to be a keynote speaker at Career Day with alumni celebrity status as a pro BMX rider. Heck, he even got to ride his bike in the halls without being sent to the principal's office. We caught up with him after the trip and here's what he had to say.
Do you feel odd talking to students about your career? Do you feel like a role model?
It's a little weird for sure. And I've never really thought of myself as a role model, I just try and be a good dude. I like talking to kids though. There's so much pressure in high school from parents, teachers, other students, etc. I just try and get across that they shouldn't be worried about it, and just have a good time doing what they're doing.
Marcus with Barnstable High students
Marcus finally allowed to have his bike in school
You just got back from an Australia/New Zealand trip, but it was not a typical BMX trip. Can you explain some of the more interesting points?
Yeah, my sister is doing a semester abroad over there so I went down there and kind of helped her move in. I love traveling and seeing new places and of course I had to bring my bike so I ended up riding a bunch. It was a pretty amazing trip. The riding was awesome, and there was just so much other stuff going on too, I was never bored. I did everything from bungee jumping to spear fishing. This was probably the best trip I've ever been on.
You’ve been able to travel pretty extensively. What are a couple of your favorite BMX scenes? And for just travel in general?
This is a tough one. For BMX scenes, I loved the scene down in Melbourne, Australia. They have an awesome shop, and just a ton of good chill riders. I went on a trip with Haro to West Virginia, and they had quite a scene too. It was seriously awesome. They didn't have much to ride but there were so many dudes who just loved riding their bikes and made the most out of what they had. As for travel in general, New Zealand has been my favorite with Sicily, Italy being a close second. Both places are beautiful and filled with nice people. I wouldn't mind going back one bit.
Marcus hooking up his favorite teacher with a Haro Tshirt
You actually moved to Greenville, NC for college. How hard was it to juggle college and a pro career?
It got tough for a while, but I was pretty determined to finish school and I had a love for bikes so I always wanted to ride. It took me just staying focused on what I wanted in the long run. I've since finished school, and I'm just riding bikes all the time. I kinda feel like there's a little void in my life at the moment, but I'm certainly not complaining. I'm loving it.
You were roommates with Ryan Nyquist for a while. What’s he like as a landlord?
It was a lot of fun. I just had to make sure I loaded the dishwasher right or he'd get on me about it. All kidding aside, it was awesome. There were always people stopping by, and he had a dog I loved to wrestle around with. It was definitely a fun place to live.
Nothing like having a flamingo as a landlord
Now that school is over, what’s next?
I have no idea. I have all these options, but I have no idea what I want to do. Sometimes I want to go to pilot school and become a pilot. Other times I really want to start a business of my own. But then I have to figure out if I want to stay in Greenville forever or just for another couple years. It gets confusing quick, but then I just push it out of my mind and enjoy where I'm at right now. There's no point in stressing it. Stuff has a way of working itself out.
What are you expecting from the 2010 season? Who do you think is going to make an impact?
I have no idea what to expect. Every year is crazier than the last, so I'm sure 2010 will be out of hand. It's so hard to say who is going to be making an impact. The whole level of riding is just insane. Sometimes I feel like prelims are crazier than the finals because people have to send it so hard just to make it into finals. If I had to pick some names that will stand out in 2010, I'd have to go with Garrett Reynolds. He's just way ahead of everyone right now and is staying there. Josh Perry has been on it pretty good the last few months. If he can stay on his bike he'll be turning some heads for sure. There's a whole crew of hungry Australians coming over this year. Those guys aren't afraid to send it. It'll be a good year for sure.