Shortly after moving into his house in 2001, Matt Beringer started off with a mini ramp in the yard, a few ramps in the garage, and then slowly progressed from there with the help of donations, found objects, and whatever else he could get his hands on. Today, it’s hard to think of a house that is more consumed by BMX than Beringer’s—from his rider roommates, machine shop in the basement, trophy room and BMX memorabilia scattered throughout, the bowled-in garage, and of course, the backyard. Matt’s house has become legendary for the ramps, ever changing and expanding backyard setup, and just the aura of wackiness, weirdness, and fun that is Matt Beringer. People from all around the world have made the trek to his small Utah town just to experience the house for themselves—it’s become almost like a pilgrimage. With over a decade of hard work and dedication trying to turn his visions into reality, the backyard has become a testament to Matt’s love and passion for BMX. With so much history and stories to tell, we let Matt take the reigns and caption all the photos and answer some questions as well. There’s a lot to read here, so prepare yourself! —Jeff Z.
How long after moving in did you begin to build ramps? And what came first? It was in the first year that we got the mini ramp from some friends in Salt Lake City. I remember going down there, taking it apart, and moving it up here on a trailer. It was crazy because one time we had two giant 12 foot wide transition pieces on a trailer like big spoilers. We where driving on the freeway just waiting for the Highway Patrol to roll up next to us and say, “Hey guys, I’ve been behind you for a while with my lights on.” We wouldn’t have known because it was impossible to see behind us.
Was it the plan all along to make the whole yard rideable? Yeah, the thing is, there used to be a little wood fence between the immediate back yard and the far back yard. Once we got the mini ramp here we just built on stuff in the immediate backyard that linked into the mini ramp. It was a long time before we got a tractor here, then the little fence came down and we started building further back. There’s a slide turn back in the back left corner now that’s as far back as it goes. Walking back to the back fence kind of makes this place seem less than half full still.
When did you start bowling in the garage? In the first year for sure. I remember Mike Aitken and Tim Thompson trying to figure out who was going to be parking in the garage after it got cleaned out from moving in and I said “Nobody’s parking in there, I’m building a ramp in there.” We just got the mini ramp out back and had leftover wood so I went in there one night and started cutting four foot trannies because I could get four out of each 4’ x 8’ sheet. Nobody has ever parked a car in the garage since the last people that had this house. Funny thing is, the first thing I ever worked on with this house was putting a new garage door opener in. Now the garage door tracks and garage door opener are under the mini ramp. They have been for years. I wonder if the opener even works still.
It seems like the building in the garage kinda reached its limit… Yeah. It’s bowled all the way around and built up to the ceiling almost everywhere. I always wanted to make a crazy cradle with the first vert corner, but I think it would be too tight and someone would get destroyed. The thing about all the rest of it being filled in so much is that there’s not that much room for more than two or three people to session in there at once.
How have your neighbors reacted to your evolving yard over the years? The people that used to live to the east of us at first, they wouldn’t ever look over. I know that it was over a year that we lived here and I had never even met them. One day I just finally walked over and introduced myself and just said, “I hope you guys just don’t completely hate us.” They were nice and said that they didn’t hate us. They just kept to themselves almost all the time. The neighbors on both sides have always been cool. There’s been a couple times when new people moved in both of those houses and I was always worried about somebody moving in and shutting us down. Actually, I think I’ve probably had the coolest neighbors ever for not calling the cops on some of the wild times that we’ve had here. A lot of the times I’ve thought to myself, I would have called the cops if I were them.
How many different roommates have you had? Wow, let me think. At first it was me, Tim Thompson, Mike Aitken, Justin Miljour, and Pat Kendall. Over the years there have been a lot of roommates that have come and gone. Some of them I don’t even know what ever happened to them and where they are now. Bowling Ball, Zon, Josh Laurio, Brandy, Clint Peters, Brian Miller, Jeff Brown, Dave Thompson, and Ethan Spaulding. So I guess there’s been 13 other people that have lived here besides me.
Are there any specific ones worth mentioning, because they were crazy, weird, or just awesome? Damn, that makes me think of so many stories of good and bad things that have happened here. I’m just going to say that I’m better friends with some of them now than when they lived here, I miss some of them being a roommate here, some of them I’d rather never see again, a couple of them owe me money, and one of them has a car buried in my back yard. You can be really good friends with some people, but when it comes to living with them, that’s another story.
Who have been some of your favorite people to watch ride your yard? Mike Aitken, Brian Foster, Drew Bezanson, Hucker, Garrett Reynolds, Taj, Rob Wise, A.J. Anaya, Clint Reynolds, Def Paul, Josh Hult, Chris Doyle, Corey Bohan, Heath Pinter, Chase Hawk, Tony Cardona, Randy Brown, Ryan Nyquist, Cam Wood, Elf, Pinko, Rooftop, Aaron Ross, Bas Keep, Corey Martinez, Jamie Bestwick, Van Homan, Kevin Porter, Big Daddy, Fuzzy, Jonesey Fedderson, Ethan, Cody Gessel, Pantyboy, Greg Ingersol… I guess that’s a short list of people that I can think of off the top of my head. The amount of people that have shredded here makes it hard to think of ’em all.
What are some of the sickest things you’ve witnessed back there? Brian Foster jumping off the roof and then hipping from the old extension to the hip landing out of the mini doing one hand tables, BF going off the roof, then up onto the roof on the other side, Hucker front flipping off the shed, Aitken, off the roof and then hipping over the deck into the roller ramp during a Halloween party at night with a bunch of dumb asses on the deck, Drew Bezanson jamming down the waterslide and then tailwhipping over the dish (even jumping it), Josh Hult tailwhipping over the shed and then trying to double whip it, A.J., off the roof-to-triple whipping the hips on both sides, Rob Wise icepicking the window ledge from the mini over the part that I side wallrode, Garrett Reynolds double trucking off the shed, Cam Wood caveman off the roof into the mini, Rob Wise dropping off the roof into the mini before the extensions where there, Taj downside whip transfer onto the shed-to-360 off, Taj 540 tailtapping the tight tranny steep bank thing on coping the whole time.
I know some summers would get really crazy with riders from out of town wanting to come visit and ride at your house. Can you describe what it was like during the craziest, most hectic time? Yeah, there has been some crazy times when people would come into town and stay here and then I’d get a day before I left town and then when I got back there’d be more people here. Sometimes it’s been team after team. I guess it was 2010 when I cracked my skull at FDR. I came back here and couldn’t do anything for a couple months. Then Road Fools 18 came here, and then another team or crew, then the DC guys, then another crew, and then some of the S&M team came here. It’s really cool to see what people do when they come ride here and I’m glad people are psyched to come ride, but sometimes it’s like a rerun session to me. Everybody’s cool, but there’s been times when it just seems like this place is a free skatepark/motel. I won’t get anything done in my machine shop or really have time to think about anything besides being a host around here. This place is kind of off and on, it’s either really busy and crazy with people or it’s just empty and dead. That’s how it is lately with it being winter. It’s sad. As for people coming from crazy places, there have been people from Australia, South Africa, Japan, England, and even Idaho. I know there have been people from a lot more places around the world, but it’s just hard to keep track because there’s been so many people that have come through town.