Red Bull Rampage 2014: Parenting With Ronnie Renner

Oct 15, 2014
by Danielle Baker  




bigquotesI'm at that point where I'm realizing that my kids are my legacy. -Ronnie Renner

Ronnie Renner

Words like ‘veteran’ and ‘superstar’ are often thrown around when describing Ronnie Renner, and they should be; he set the world record for a step-up on a moto in 2007 when he hit the 35 feet 6 inch mark. And the following year he set another world record when he sent it 59 feet 2 inches off a quarterpipe. So when I sat down to interview him at Rampage this year I wasn’t expecting the topic of conversation to focus on parenting rather than his motocross career. But as Ronnie explained, “I’m at that point where I’m realizing my kids are my legacy.”

bigquotesIt feels natural to be [at Red Bull Rampage], I have a lot of respect for these riders and what they are about. -Ronnie Renner

Ronnie Renner of the United States performs during a show jump at the Calicio Ghost Town in Yermo California USA on May 8 2013 to announce the third stage of the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour which will take place in Glen Helen Calofornia USA on Saturday 11th of May. Joerg Mitter Red Bull Content Pool P-20130509-00059 Usage for editorial use only Please go to for further information.
  Ronnie Renner performs during a show jump at the Calicio Ghost Town in Yermo, California, USA on May 8, 2013. Photos: Joerg Mitter / Red Bull Content Pool

Nate, at 14, is Ronnie’s oldest of four kids. He took up mountain biking four years ago and his freeride goals are what brought the family to Red Bull Rampage this year. “He likes moto too and says that it is his number two, but it messes him up on his mountain bike so he just parks it.” As a proud father, Ronnie isn’t too bothered that Nate isn’t following exactly in his footstep, “it all comes back to being a dad; I just want to help him reach his goals.”

bigquotes[Mountain biking] gave me a true sense of freedom. Now I feel I'm at the point where it is pure fun to me as I constantly try and progress. And it, honestly, has become what everyone calls 'a lifestyle' for me. -Nate Renner

Ronnie and Nate Renner
  Ronnie Renner and his son, Nate, preparing to enjoy the rain day at Rampage this year.

When you have access to a lot of extras, like passes to Red Bull Rampage, that someone like Ronnie does, parenting can really become a balancing act when it comes to doling out the ‘extra love’. Ronnie keeps things even by focusing on building a strong work ethic with his kids, and teaching them that “you’ve got to fight for your right to party.” In other words you have to work hard for success. “Nate has the skills, heart, and passion for [mountain biking],” and nothing has come to him for free. Nate has worked hard to lined up his own sponsors, including a spot riding for Fox Head. He also earned his attendance at Red Bull Rampage last year by working on Tyler McCaul’s line. Ronnie feels that the value of the experience was two-fold; it is important for Nate to understand that “jumps don’t build themselves” and also the importance of being on a team and getting along with your peers. You won’t get anywhere in an industry without making friends and contacts.

bigquotesYou have to find your own identity and not blend in with everyone or be a sheep, but also you have to be able to send it on your bike too. -Ronnie Renner

You also won’t get anywhere without perseverance, “I’m not very good at dirt jumping, the hard tail thing, kind of bites me every time I do it, but I’m getting there. I use that as an example for my kids, I’m not good at it, but I’m not going to quit it. Making it through a little rhythm section is almost as cool to me as winning the X-Games.”

Settling for one sport just isn’t his thing, “people are so die-hard for their sport and they get stuck in a rut.” He says that athletes can get too tied to the expectations of themselves and others and it can cause them to lose passion for what they are doing, “even if you aren’t the best in the world at something, it can still be fun.” His transition to other sports, of which there are many, was natural, “I’m not burned out on moto, but it’s at the point in my career where I don’t want to take the big gambles.” He adds, “part of my soul feels like I should have been [mountain biking] a long time ago.”

bigquotesI want to inspire poeple to get off their butt and not sit on the the couch, to not make excuses or say that they're old. -Ronnie Renner

As the father of a freerider, he says, “the risk versus reward is so far out of balance for all these sports, but it’s understandable.” Mountain biking, like moto, is a passion sport and riders need to carefully pick their battles when it comes to preserving the longevity of their careers. “Sometimes it’s better to be in them all than win them all.” His advice to Nate when it comes to risk is that “[freeriding] may never be worth it financially, but it is definitely not going to be worth if you are injured and can’t ride.” This is strong advice from a man who has only broken one bone throughout his career.

bigquotesIn contests you're only as good as your last contest and you can't live your life like that. -Ronnie Renner

While Nate has his eyes set on Freeriding, Ronnie believes that the best riders are well rounded, the ones who can do it all. “Moto has been around long enough now that you can start with freeride, but as soon as you get to a big course or a big stage it is the racers who shine.” He encourages Nate to “just do it all, the cream rises to the top, and you’ll figure out what you are the best at.” And within that you need to find your own identity. “Freeriding is my main love because you are being creative and finding your own line. I don’t like the cookie cutter ‘do the same things as everyone else, I like to be original.”

Ronnie and Nate Renner

While the priorities in Ronnie’s life may have shifted to focus more on fatherhood, he is still utilizing years’ worth of knowledge that has come from a competitive and illustrious moto career. As his legacy, his kids will benefit from the example that he continues to set.

bigquotesRampage this year was on another level. It opened my eyes up a lot and inspired me to hopefully compete in the next couple of years. -Nate Renner


  • 119 1
 Crazy to think that Ronnie has only broken 1 bone throughout his career, especially compared to his co-fmx riders like Deegan and Pastrana. And he seems to be an awesome parent, it's good to make your kid work for what he wants instead of handing it to him on a silver platter
  • 7 66
flag tjet (Oct 15, 2014 at 8:49) (Below Threshold)
 His kid looks like his at that age where nothing his father does is cool anymore. His too cool for that shit now...
  • 68 0
 When your dad is Ronnie Renner, I don't think you'll ever reach "that age".
  • 8 12
flag action789 (Oct 15, 2014 at 13:32) (Below Threshold)
 ya and "he is" and "his" is too different things you know.
  • 3 26
flag tjet (Oct 15, 2014 at 20:42) (Below Threshold)
 Wow, getting English classes and all(i must be a lucky one) how long did it take you to figure that out..(hours)? I feel lucky (still my english tops your spanish)... Not like I have to explain my self to lil rich brats, (but looking at the photos) my commentary was 100% based on body language.. action789 still made my night with the english lessons...Lol!
  • 16 5
 Dude, get out. No one cares if your English is better than his Spanish. Seriously??
  • 2 0
 Did a few laps with both Mr.Renner and Nate at Crankworx 2014. Such awesome down to earth people. Ronnie took a huge spill on dirt merchant and walked away in one piece, so I can totally believe he's only broken one bone. Anyways best of luck to both of you, ridding with you guys was the highlight of my bike season.
  • 54 2
  • 11 0
 Oh yerrreaahh. All this crossover is so sick. My first action sports videos were Crusty Demons followed closely by NWD/Cranked so this is like a dream come true having moto guys being into this. His son is gonna destroy it.
  • 3 0
 glad to see some crossover between the two sports. ive been riding dirtbikes since i was 4 years old, and took up mtn biking a few years ago. since then ive only ridden my moto a handful of times, this makes me want to ride both!
  • 1 0
 Man Crusty was the best when it came out. Totally different to what was going on in MX at the time. Was it Boozy the clown or something like that. Just remember Deegan going into a supermarket on his bike. Then NWD did the same. Stoked in Renner and his son.
  • 47 3
 And my dad rides a road bike
  • 152 0
 You should be stoked.... My dad sings in a barbershop quartet.
  • 19 19
 My dad has diabeetus...
  • 31 0
 Quartets get all the chicks though....
  • 7 1
 THATdjGuy, that's gold.

I sometimes ride a road bike too, but I'd never let my daughter see me doing it (or zee spandex speed zoot costume I put on before heading out).
  • 18 1
 Not sure if your reading this Ronnie, but I grew up down the road from you on Arrowhead Circle. I rode with your dad out at cypress track with my dad and older brothers. Your dad was fast and knew how to handle a bike. Great to see you doing well and the legacy being passed down.
  • 12 2
 I feel like even though it says he works for his sponsors and things, " you've got to fight for your right to party," he gets them a whole lot easier cuz the sponsors were already watching his dad and his dad probably knows a whole bunch of people in the bushiness and can get experience like building Tyler's line for Rampage and things like that, when a normal mountain biker couldn't easily go and call Tyler and ask if help build his trail and barely keep up with the costs of mountain biking and traveling
  • 8 0
 That may be, but he still has to put the work in.
  • 7 0
 stating the obvious is lame. Of course he has more eyes on him because of his father. But because of his father and his own work I bet he will become a competitor of some sort.
  • 2 1
 at the end of the day though......................
  • 2 0
 You can't really judge the kid because his dad is famous. Some people In life are going to have more of an advantage, it doesn't mean he shouldn't be able to use that advantage. If he sucked then he wouldn't be getting the sponsors he has.
  • 3 0
 Nate is a personal friend of mine and i can tell you that his sponsors didn't just look at his dad and say "wow his dad is Ronnie Renner lets sponsor him!" He puts in the time and effect. He is always looking for new lines and ways to make trials better and faster. He also knows how to throw down. He is going to try and make a video soon but he is mainly thinking about his career as a rider and where he is going to ride next so next time know the story behind the cover. This kid is amazing!!!
  • 2 0
 That's awesome to hear man, he's a big inspiration for me and a lot of other kids I'm sure! Insane that he's so good at that age!
  • 9 0
 Great article, really interesting to see such a huge star focus on instilling a decent work ethic first and foremost rather than giving him the golden ticket at every turn.

PS> Typo - "In contests you're only as good as your last contest and you can't live your lift like that. -Ronnie Renner" - Think its supposed to be 'life'.
  • 5 0
 Thanks for the catch on the typo!
  • 2 0
 Pretty cool to camp right across from them this year at Rampage. Very approachable, down to earth superstar w/ a cool family. And his Hot Wheels setup was dreamy to say the least (custom van pulling a RZR, his motos,,,,,,).
  • 1 0
 Renner is amazing. He's never been a trick monkey and didn't get involved in the new age of evolving straight backflips into a dead sailor moto trick, but he still played a key role in FMX development with his quarter hits and high jump. The dude perfected the flat whip too. Shame it doesnt get called a Renner whip anymore.
  • 3 0
 Renner is an animal in the sand dunes thats where my respect to him comes from.
  • 4 0
 Bikes bring families closer... I dig that!
  • 1 0
 Crusty Demons 1 and 2 were and still are some of my favorite riding videos of any kind. Even on my bmx that was always the riding I dreamed of and that is what finally led me to the mtb thing.
  • 1 0
 Great article and Renner is a true legend! But after reading that, I can't help but wonder if there are any pics of that sweet orange buggy behind them in the pictures.
  • 3 1
 Dilf, just kidding he is cool tho
  • 2 0
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