Trying something new leading up to one of the biggest contests of the year! The Voodoo Jam in New Orleans, June 9th. The AM class is filling up nicely. Lets kick off this Voodoo jam Hype interview with one of the contenders in the AM class! Mark Kuhlmann!
Firstly congrats on 2nd place at Jomo, you rode awesome! How you feeling going into Voodoo?
Thanks, JomoPro was such a great time and an amazing event, well worth the drive to Joplin!
I’m feeling pretty good. Prior to Jomo it’s always been a battle against my nerves at contests. I tried toying with new techniques to prepare for Jomo and it worked so hopefully I can carry that momentum into Voodoo.
Photo by Krista Heinen.
How important are contests in keeping yourself motivated?
Contests play a large role in my motivation. I see so much passion and talent at a contest and it really sticks with me afterwards. When we get home there are so many ideas and motivation that I tend to learn a lot immediately after, especially with Alex Prasheel and I all pushing each other. I wish more riders would make the effort to go to a contest to experience the positives instead of focusing on the negatives afterwards. Contests aren’t all drama and there’s a lot you can learn from and take home with you.
You guys (Team Pralex) road trip pretty much more than anyone, are you guys driving again from Canada to New Orleans?
With Voodoo being an even further drive than JomoPro which was about 18 hours, we actually decided to fly (THANKFULLY!). Alex, Prasheel, and I have limited vacation days and we have to conserve them throughout the year. We may have needed to take more time off to drive to Voodoo and actually enjoy our trip. A lot of our road trips involve spending more time in the car then actually at the event.
Have you been to the Voodoo jam before?
This will be my first Voodoo jam. I had stopped riding probably around the time of the first Voodoo and got back into riding in late 2009 so I’m pretty pumped to finally go down there after hearing about it for so long. Scott and Terry are hyping it up daily on Twitter which is a constant reminder to stay excited.
Who are you looking to as the main competition for you?
Just like at every contest, Alex, Prasheel, and I mostly like to compete against each other. Sometimes we make the guy who places the worst do the first round of driving on the way home, luckily for that person we’re flying for this contest, maybe we’ll make him grab the first round at the bar?
Other than Alex and Prasheel, you’ve got guys like Todd Gully, Ron Monis, and Todd Carter all killing it at contests and making podium this year at Toronto and JomoPro.
Without going into any detail, are you planning to drop any new tricks?
I’m hoping too because I didn’t get to pull everything I wanted to at Jomo. I’ve tweaked some of my lines by adding in some more tricks that are difficult to me. I don’t plan to drop any bangers as that didn’t work out well for me last year. I would learn a hard link and never be able to pull it in a contest but always tried. I’ve taken a different approach to contests this year.
Photo by Jon Stettler.
Who are you really psyched to see ride in general in New Orleans?
I’m always really psyched seeing Dom ride, he’s a cross footed machine! Seeing Waldemar and Stephan riding in person will be a real treat, but I really can’t wait to see the top 4 pros in the final jam. I can only imagine what it will be like with all that talent feeding off that energy.
Are you ready for Scott O’Brien getting crazy on the mic?
HAHA I’m not really sure what to expect to be honest. I may have to watch some old edits to get ready for that, I hear he just goes nuts.
Any closing comments on the Voodoo jam?
I’m really interested to see how it’s going to work with the first place expert having a free pass in the pro class. With the top am guys all looking for circuit points to take the year end title, if a contender wins Voodoo, there’s been talk if that person will come back down to the am class at the remaining circuit events or stay in pro? So that could be an interesting turn of events.
Other than that, I really can’t wait to arrive in New Orleans and experience everything we can in that weekend. Prasheel, Alex and I always try to have the best time we can wherever we go and this is going to be a huge party!
Thanks for making the time to do this interview Mark! Good luck at Voodoo jam!