So leading up to the Voodoo jam we featured a few interviews with a whole different bunch of characters in the AM class. Mark Kuhlmann was one of those guys, part of the infamous Team Pralex crew. Mark as you know won the AM contest making it count on the big day, it made sense to catch up with him and see how he was feeling not only about the AM class win, but turning Pro and only just missing the cut for the final!
So Mark, you won the Expert class Voodoo jam 2012! Firstly, congrats to you big man! Secondly how you feeling about that win?
I’m pretty speechless and really excited. Voodoo is the biggest contest in North America, and with all the hype that happened it just made it that much more intense. It was such an amazing weekend and I now understand why everyone was ecstatic when they announced it would return for this year. I really can’t wait to go back!
Turning pro often doesn’t seem a big deal anymore, but the Voodoo jam made that feeling come back that it means something to turn pro, so how did it feel to compete in the pro class and only just miss the cut?
Riding in Pro for the first time at Voodoo jam is something I will never forget. I rode in the same heat as Alex J, JF, and Dom, this is something I hadn’t ever imagined me doing before to be honest. These 3 guys are ridiculously good and it was pretty intimidating at first. After a few minutes it just felt like I was sharing the floor with friends, as it should be. I surprised myself and rode pretty good in Pro, I was super stoked to hit my links and will ever forget that feeling.
I don’t think people would normally get to experience riding in Pro in this way and I’m glad Scott and Terry did it. Most people make a decision and enter Pro at the next contest, but being nudged in from a win and having guys tell you to stay in that class is unbelievably cool. I have a lot of work to put in now!
Obviously as you won, you had good runs, what were you especially stoked on to hit?
I always used to struggle with landing the backpacker to xfoot hiker link and it feels good to be able to pull that off more consistently now. Even though it’s small, I only learned the brakeless steam whip to halfpacker recently and I get pumped when I get that one.
How crazy did Scott go on the mic?
Scott had to hold back a little in expert I think to be able to give 100% in Pro Finals where we went nuts. He definitely kept a good vibe going and was a great MC.
Any good Bourbon St party stories you would like to share?
We were there 3 nights in a row, but I’ll keep it PG ha. There were a ton of riders on Bourbon St on the Saturday after the contest. At one point most of them gathered in the middle of the street. Lots of photos were being taken, everyone smiling and having a good time, frozen drinks in everyone’s hand, and random breakdancing going on? The #pralex post-jam at Razzoo’s on Sunday was hilarious too. We were all running on very little sleep all weekend and we were extremely giddy from exhaustion.
Besides you winning the contest, what were the highlights of the weekend for you?
This was the first contest I’ve ever flown to which as neat. Having an impromptu photo shoot near the water with Alex and Prasheel on the pre-jam day with Fat Tony was super fun. Fat was extremely generous with his time, driving us around for dinner, showing Alex, Prasheel, Waldemar, Stephan, and myself the sites on Sunday, he’s a really rad guy who puts a lot of energy in Flatland and it shows. The pre-jam was a lot of fun. It was hard to get riding in, so Alex, Prasheel and myself made the most of the rain when that happened and sessioned since most people were under the tents.
Any final shoutouts Mark?
I have to thank my wife Stef. She’s beyond supportive and pushes me to do better all the time.
Next up on the list are the two best dudes I know, Alex and Prasheel. They are the two guys who got me back into flatland a few years ago after watching them in a livestream of Jomo I think. They were having so much fun in the sport and it showed me what I was missing. In 2010 when I was staying with them at the DK stop for the circuit, they asked Fat Tony to announce I was added to the team, and then I had the worst run ever and got last place in the expert class haha (back when they were in master class). We have the BEST time everywhere we go while all the while motivating and pushing each other to ride harder and not slack. People don’t really understand us all the time, but it just makes it that much more fun.
Finally I want to give a HUGE thanks to Scott and Terry and all their family/helpers. They worked so hard to make this event an absolute success and it showed in every aspect. All their hard work definitely paid off. I’d also like to thank the sponsors they got, they showed us a lot of support this past weekend: Red Bull, Dan’s Comp, Flatland Fuel, Freegun Underwear, Raising Cane’s, Deco, 430 Clothing, Diversion TV, Odyssey, Flatware, Fiksd Apparel, Neue Creative, Purple Monkey, and dannysirkinsuperfan.blogspot.com.