Mat Hoffman during Q&A at a screening for of ESPN 30 for 30.

BMX Legend Mat Hoffman Stops by San Marcos for Lost River Film Fest

By Daniel Richter
Web Content Contributor

On Saturday Oct. 19, the Lost River Film Fest brought in the most recognized name in BMX history, Mat Hoffman, for a screening of his 2010 ESPN 30 for 30 film, “The Birth of Big Air.”

The event took place at the San Marcos Library at noon. When Hoffman arrived, he was greeted by BMX fans of all ages and backgrounds. Parents who grew up admiring Hoffman brought their kids to meet the legend.

Steve Ornelas, known as Steve-O, is a board member for the San Marcos Cinema Club (the organization that puts on the Lost River Film Fest) and is a lifelong friend of Hoffman. Their friendship dates back to 1985 when they met in San Antonio in their early teens at a BMX competition. When asked how he was able to get Hoffman to show up he simply said, “I made a quick phone call.” 

After a quick introduction from Steve-O and Hoffman, the film began. The film had older fans reminiscing about all of the BMX barriers Hoffman broke, and had new fans watching in amazement of what Hoffman was able to do with the limited resources he had at the time.

Often the audience would break out in applause, like when Hoffman broke a world record. The audience would gasp as well, like when Hoffman had an accident and entered a three-day coma.

The film was directed and produced by Oscar winner Spike Jonze as well as Jeff Tremaine and Johnny Knoxville, who are known for their creation of Jackass. The film included interviews with daredevil Evel Knievel, Motorsports icon Travis Pastrana and many more notable names.

After the screening, Hoffman took center stage for a memorable Q&A. Questions ranged from his drive to keep going after falling down to how he recovered from major injuries.

I asked him how he is able to relive all of those hard hits he took over the years, and he let me know that he didn’t, “I would look down at my phone during the falls. Knowing the damage they’ve done, I don’t watch.” Here are a few more quotes that Hoffman left the crowd with:

“You don’t really need collarbones, that and a spleen.”

Mat Hoffman

“People ask me how I deal with so much pain, I’ve never not had pain [in my life].”

Mat Hoffman

“I’m known for bad ideas.”

Mat Hoffman

“Nothing’s impossible.”

Mat Hoffman

Throughout the Q&A, many of his old friends that he met back in the 80’s spoke up and shared stories about Hoffman, including one of his old bus drivers. It was awesome to see how BMX brought all these people together and how they have stayed together all these years.

“I met so many people in the room when I was 12 or 13, and that’s the beauty of this community, you make lifelong friends,” Hoffman said.

After the event was over, everybody walked across the library parking lot to the San Marcos skate park to take part in Wheelz and Reelz, an event put on by Steve-O to showcase professional BMX riders, including Hoffman himself. The San Marcos roller derby team, Unicycle football players as well as artists and vendors showed up for the fun. Hoffman even had some of his own artwork for sale. 

A BMX rider hitting a jump at the San Marcos Skate Park.
After the screening of Hoffman’s ESPN 30 for 30, everyone headed to the skate park across the parking lot to watch some professional BMX riders tear it up. Image by Daniel Richter.

The event was a huge success and brought joy to all attendants. It left everyone eagerly anticipating what the Cinema Club has in store for the film fest next year.  

Featured image by Daniel Richter.

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