Oldskool: November 2004 - Profile: RENNY ROKER

2004/11/5 8:50:00 (12689 reads)
the man with whom International world wide BMX started
by Gerrit Does

Renny Roker, a unique promoter of among others, BMX.

Recently I received an e-mail from the USA by someone called BMX MOM. This mail made me aware of the fact, that Mr. RENNY ROKER, the promoter of the JAG BMX World Championships in the early days of BMX (1978 and on), has been instrumental in finally getting BMX recognized worldwide. Personally I did meet Renny in 1979 at the JAG BMX Worlds in Indianapolis - Indiana, USA for the first time, when together with Louis Vrijdag we went over there to compete with 9 Dutch BMX racers in these World Championships. The impact of what happened there and then has resulted in what International BMX is today.

Renny Roker has never been honoured for that (as far as I know anyway). With this article and a SPECIAL RECOGNITION note, I want to set the record straight and make you all aware of how important Renny's promotional activities were.

A short history on Renny Roker

Sometime 1982 an article was written by Bob Hadley on Renny Roker in BMX PLUS. Here part of that interview with my own personal notes added.

"Renny Roker is a promoter. He was, arguably, the most successful promoter in BMX from 1978 till about 1986 and maybe even till today (we don't know all promoters world wide, but those we know don't have the record Renny has). Every year since 1978 his JAG BMX World Championship of BMX has broken all previous attendance records. Unlike most top promoters Renny has a golden tongue. Unlike most BMX promoters, Renny has an extensive background in professional promotions and show business.

For record promotions he has earned two gold singles (sales of over 500,000 copies): four gold albums (again sale of over 500,000 copies): and one platinum album (sales of over one million copies). The platinum album was for his work in the KISS album "Destroyer"."

The fact is that when I (GD) visited Renny Roker at his office (Roker Enterprises, Westlake Village, CA.) together with my brother in law Pierre Karsmakers, I did see al these golden and platinum records hanging on the wall.

In concert promotions Renny has been very successful working with groups like Donna Summer, The Commodores and George Benson. Highlights in his promotion career include having produced sell-out concerts at The Los Angeles Coliseum and Soldiers Field in Detroit.

At the time Renny also was a professional actor, having had a major role in movies HONKY TONK FREEWAY. In addition to doing parts in many television shows (like CHIPS, Gomer Pyle, Sanford and Son, Six Million Dollar Man, Good Times and Nobody is Perfect, just to name a few).

Last thing I know about Renny in this field of acting was, that he was considering accepting a part in the sequel to "THE STING".

Renny Roker and BMX

Renny got involved in BMX accidentally. Started a business called "Roker Enterprises" of which he was one of the owners. There was a second owner and business partners, his wife Carmen Roker. Renny Roker is a person that really would like to see the world united in bicycle motocross.

Renny got interested in organizing a World Championship after looking through some letters from kids from Australia and Japan. Renny stated: "We ought to have kids from all over the world racing in BMX", was his reaction. We (Renny and company) got with SKIP HESS (at the time owner of Mongoose - note GD) and he gave us names of people from all over the world and we wrote to all of them and invited them to come over.

People like Gerrit Does were involved. We invited him and his riders to come. To help them out with expenses, we did sent a couple of JAG BMX bikes to raffle GD: this is indeed what happened. Check out the pictures showing the JAG bikes, ready to raffle. Picture taken at the first ever BMX track in Holland in Eindhoven (1979).

If I am right, Renny did organize 5 JAG BMX World Championships from 1978 till 1982 (for details, check out the History of BMX on that) and one UN World Championship by Roker Enterprises in 1983. For the first time ever, Renny also got cable TV interested in BMX, ESPN (all sports) and broadcasted the 1981 W.C. event sponsored by Coca-Cola.

Most important initiative for International world wide BMX during the 1979 event was the gathering of main players in BMX from several countries, like Japan, Holland and USA. The follow up of this first meeting was a second meeting during the 1980 JAG BMX World Championship in Indianapolis, were the final decision was taken to start a world wide BMX organization, later to be called the I.BMX.F or International BMX Federation.

The JAG BMX World Championships of Renny Roker became the step stone of what international world wide BMX is today. For that reason the University of BMX and specially I (GD) want to express their appreciation and respect for what RENNY ROKER did for BMX in general.

Not many people will realize that because of Renny Roker's JAG BMX Worlds, international BMX on a world level is what it is today. It all started there and then.


Gerrit Does
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